Sociology – Topic 7 Class Identity

Notes on Class identity, originally for A2 OCR unit on Social Inequality

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Emma Rudd
  • Created on: 25-03-08 16:30
Preview of Sociology – Topic 7 Class Identity

First 503 words of the document:

Sociology ­ Pete
Emma Rudd BMA
Sociology ­ Topic 7 Class Identity
What is Social Class?
Social Class is known as the position in the social and economic structure. Most sociologists
find it convenient to use occupation as a measure of a person's social class. Over the years
sociologists have used a variety of occupational classifications to identify social classes. The
latest version is the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Social Scheme.
Office of National Statistics (ONS) Social Scheme
Class 1 Higher managerial and professional (e.g. company directors,
lawyers, doctors.)
Class 2 Lower managerial / professionals (e.g. junior managers,
social workers, nurses, police sergeants.)
Class 3 Intermediate (e.g. clerical workers, secretaries, computer
Class 4 Small employers and selfemployed (e.g. taxi drivers,
window cleaners, shopkeepers)
Class 5 Supervisors, craft and related (e.g. painters, plumbers, train
Class 6 Semiroutine (e.g. shop assistants, hairdressers, cooks)
Class 7 Routine (waiters, cleaners, labourers)
Class 8 Never worked / long time unemployed.
Class Culture and Identity
Different social classes have their own identities, own set of values, and their own lifestyles
and habits.
It was sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1984) that argued that social classes have their own
cultural values, tastes and preferences. He said that they even develop their own way of
walking, talking and eating. This is known as Class Culture.
It is also said that people have their own Class Identities. It is from a very early age that
people are socialised into the lifestyles and values of the class of their parents. People learn
to identify with members of their own social class and become aware of the differences that
separate social classes. People become `class conscious'.
The Upper Class Their Socialisation and Values
The upper class is defined by their enormous wealth rather than their occupation. They share
a strong sense of identity this is because the upper class is `closed'. Its members are the
children of upper class parents, the closed group creates a web of links and contacts, and
these connections make it difficult for nonmembers to penetrate the upper class. Their
strong sense of identity can be seen through many things, i.e. education, the family, and
social activities.
The Family
The exclusive lifestyle and experiences of the upper class mean that its young members tend
to socialise with other members of the same class. This results in a tendency for the upper
class to intermarry. As time goes on more and more kinship connections develop between
upper class families.
The children of upper class families are usually educated in top public schools and many go
on to the most prestigious universities. Throughout their education valuable social contacts
are made with each other and with other young people likely to end up in positions of power

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

Sociology ­ Pete
Emma Rudd BMA
ad influence. Public schools also socialise their pupils into high levels of selfconfidence and
an acute sense of social superiority.
Social and Leisure Activities
During their socialisation young members of the upper class are introduced to the exclusive
social events such as hunting shooting, Wimbledon, Royal Ascot etc. these social events
provide a distinctive upper class life style, they also provide a circuit where further
connections can be made.…read more

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Here's a taster:

Sociology ­ Pete
Emma Rudd BMA
They believe in They also believe that
meritocracy and that success in life is a result of
positions should be effort and application not
achieved through ability just luck.
and effort.
Socialisation into Middle Class Identity
The Family
King and Raynor (1981) suggest that childcenteredness is a distinctive feature of the middle
class family. Especially in the terms of passing on educational opportunities and attitudes
required for educational success.…read more

Page 4

Preview of page 4

Here's a taster:

Sociology ­ Pete
Emma Rudd BMA
The traditional working class felt In the past working class identity was
marriage was for life and disapproved of based around work, but now they are
divorce. more likely to define themselves by their
The members of the extended family hobbies and recreational activities.
often lived close by and there was a lot
of visiting especially among the women.
The traditional working class formed a
closeknit community, where they had
large circles of friends and
acquaintances.…read more

Page 5

Preview of page 5

Here's a taster:

Sociology ­ Pete
Emma Rudd BMA
identity. These lifestyles are less and less Over 90% could place themselves in a
likely to be based on social class. class if prompted.
Nowadays lifestyles and identities are Marshall et al argued that class is the
much more diverse and flexible. They most common and powerful source of
are based on individual choice rather social identity.
than class background.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all resources »