Exploring social inequality and difference -1- Social Class

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The Class System
Topic 1
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Scott (1991)
The upper class operate on a system of social closure. They aim to protect their privileged status. They favour giving jobs of their 'own kind'. This is achieved through the 'Old Boys' Network' and 'elite self-recruitment'.
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Bell (1973) - American sociologist
Argues that the shift to a post - industrial society, with more emphasis on IT and knowledge, has challenged the traditional class structure. This has led to the 'knowledge class'.
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Goldthorpe - British sociologist
A 10-tier system that gave specific descriptions of how the person's job determined their class.
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NS-SEC Scheme
Scheme in which general descriptions are given, again based on occupation, and people allied to that class based on their job.
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Goldthorpe et al. (1980) - Weberian
'Old rich' who gain their wealth and status from property are so insignificant that they should not be considered to have their own category in their own right. The power and prestige in the upper class has been diluted.
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Devine (2005)
Interviewed 50 doctors and teachers and found they were uneasy using the label of class because of being perceived to be identifying themselves as superior.
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Wright (1997) - Neo-Marxist
The middle class occupy a contradictory class. They are able to exersise some control, but are also controled and are not involved in key decisions. They are controlled and the controllers at the same time.
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Roberts et al. (1977) - Weberian
Uses the term fragmentation. Some clearly define themselves as white-collar workers and some believe that they are more working class, despite what schemes such as the NS-SEC suggest.
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Savage (1992) - Weberian
Different types of middle class identities and lifestyles exist. The middle class is split between public sector professionals and private sector entrepreneurs.
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Willis (1977) - Neo-Marxist
Traditional working class communities have led to strong communities based on unity, solidarity and togetherness. There was a 'them and us' attitude, with workers distrusting employers' intentions. Surridge (2007) supports 'them and us' attitude.
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Goldthorpe (1968) - Weberian
Embourgeoisement Theory: If the class position of manual workers compared favourably to non-manual workers, it could be belived that Britian was growing a middle class.
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Embourgeoisement Theory CRITICISMS
Are the working class becoming more middle class, or are the middle class becoming more working class? Marxists argue that manual and non-manual work is part of the same working class. Can generalisations be made of similar socio-economic areas?
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The Future Foundation (2006)
Boundaries between middle and working class are becoming blurred.
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Braverman (1974)
Proletarianisation Theory: Many routine white-collar jobs are under the process of 'deskilling'.Specialist knowledge was being replaced by machines and automation e.g. Computer software.Marxists argue this creates alienated and dissatisfied workers.
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Braverman (1974) Continued
Marxists would argue that proletarianisation was a step closer to class consciousness and this would ultimately lead to a worker's revolution.
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Proletarianisation Theory CRITICISM
Ignores the growing number in the middle class.
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Gallie (1994)
Workers are undergoing a process of 'upskilling'. As machines and automation are being put in place, workers have to be trained how to use them.
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Roberts (1997)
The underclass are characterised by: 1) Long term unemployment 2) Being economically excluded 3) Particular social and cultural outlooks.
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Murray (1994) - New Right (American Study)
Single parenthood is a major feature of the underclass, the 'new rabble'. Also the state creating this problem. Economic rationality (it makes financial sense to use the benefits system if you can't earn more money by working) is also seen as key.
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Murray (1994) - New Right (American Study) Continued
He believes that Britain will follow America and their underclass will grow, due to factors such as: rising unemployment; increasing crime rates; increasing rates of illegitimacy; a growing number of people with low intelligence.
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Marsland (1996)
Blamed the individual and wellfare state provisions for the underclass. These provisions create a 'culturally dependent' class.
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Westergaard and Resler (1974+1992)
1974: The lumpen proletariat were positioned at the base of the working class as a sub-stratum. 1992: He now believes that this may have formed an underclass but cannot assume this without carrying out well-planned research.
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Field (1989) - Weberian
Argued that the underclass exists due to structural forces (economic position and lowly status) beyond their control. It is made-up of: Long-term unemployed, single parent, reliant on state pension.
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Jones (1997)
Used questionnaires and qualitative interviews to research into the structure of the underclass. She focused on young homeless people in the UK. She found that both individual choice and structural inequalities both contributed.
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Jones (1997) Continued
Family cricumstances were crucial in explaining vulnerability of most individuals to the underclass.
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Mount (2004)
The British society has failed the poor. He wrote the book 'Mind the Gap' and this focuses on the divide between the 'Uppers' and 'Downers'.
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Pakulski and Waters (1996) - Postmodernism
Inequalities exist in society but the concept of social class is no longer useful for understanding them. Class is dead.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

The upper class operate on a system of social closure. They aim to protect their privileged status. They favour giving jobs of their 'own kind'. This is achieved through the 'Old Boys' Network' and 'elite self-recruitment'.

Back

Scott (1991)

Card 3

Front

Argues that the shift to a post - industrial society, with more emphasis on IT and knowledge, has challenged the traditional class structure. This has led to the 'knowledge class'.

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

A 10-tier system that gave specific descriptions of how the person's job determined their class.

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Scheme in which general descriptions are given, again based on occupation, and people allied to that class based on their job.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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