IDENTITY & SOCIAL CLASS

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The Upper Class

Defining social class- Refers to the socio- economic status and identity that are attached to a person because of their job. Sociologists have found those with the similar socio-economic background have similar educational experiences, outlooks etc

Upper Class Identity...

  • Made up of a small number of wealthy extended familites who shared backgrounds of education such as going to Eton, Oxbridge etc
  • Scott- the main purpose of these schools is to mould the ideas and outlooks of their pupils to quickly realised upper class interests
  • They have conservative values, acceptance of hierachy and authority is important in their identity
  • They have cultural capital and also believe in social closure which is shown by parents encouraging their children to marry into upper classes.
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The Middle Class

Middle Class...

  • Term to describe non manual workers
  • Savage says there are 4 distinct types of Middle class groups
  • ^Proffesionals, doctors, lawyets who have gained cultural assests or capital like knowledge and use their skills to benifit society (altruism)
  • Managers, less qualified and more likey to have worked their way up
  • Roberts said the self employed are traditionally middle class because they believei n standing on their own two feet
  • White collar workers have traditional middle class identity
  • Ken Roberts says middle class is in the home. This is because of home ownerships
  • Middle Class encourage ther children to do well in education, believe in a meritocracy
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The Working Class

Working Class...

  • Traditionally manual labourers
  • They traditionally had a strong sense of social identity, the world was divided into 'them' and 'us'
  • Kinship newtorks
  • Mutual support by family
  • Decline of the traditional working class- Reaserch has found a 'new working class' which sees works as a means to an end and they believe in individualism. They define themselves through family, lifestyle and standard of living than work

Underclass- Those on the edge of society. Murray said they were a 'new form' of working class who live of benifits. They  are unemployed and Murray suggests have 'fecklessness' which means they are useless. Charlseworth suggests those of the underclass are misundestood.

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Decline of social class as a source of identity

Recent years have shown that class isn't a factor in creating social identity.

Post modernists say that class identity has gone into seperate identities.

Hybrid identities are increasingly the norm.

However, there is evidence that post modern ideas are exagerated. Marshall's survery into how people viewed themselves still suggest that people in the UK still think that social class is still significant in identity.

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