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Relationships of Social Class and Happiness Research Paper


Social discrimination is one of the oldest vices that have spurned all ages of human civilization. The concept of social class has continuously evolved from the ancient feudal system of social discrimination to the modern day social class discriminations. People are victimized based on their social status in society. Parameters, such as education levels, economic status, and political status, are used to classify people into various groups. Persons are categorized into three groups, i.e., low, middle, and high classes (Savage, 2000).

The low class has people who occupy the least privileged positions in society, while the high class is typified by persons who occupy the most privileged positions in societal ladder. Within these stratifications, there are many inequalities because the upper-class people oppress the low and middle classes (Rothman, 1999).

The constant conflicts among the classes are responsible for the social unhappiness that is prevalent across the world. This research paper seeks to answer the following question: What is the relationship between one’s social class and his or her overall happiness?

Literature review

Injustices associated with social stratification are galore. Many authors have delved into this area of research, trying to understand what leads to social classes and the effect of such classes on the social well-being of society. Eitzen and Johnston (2007) argue in their book, Inequality: social class and its consequences, that low class people are always under oppression by the high class members.

The book authors contend that the oppression of the low class leads to limited access to basic human needs, such as healthcare and education. Upon analyzing the book, one gets the impression that social inequalities keep on rising exponentially, with the gap between the rich and the poor widening at an alarming rate.

Eitzen and Johnston (2007) claim that society seems to be blind to the social injustices faced by low class members of society. The high class has adopted attitudes that put the low class at the risks of total suffering, while putting the middle class on the verge of extinction.

The problem of social stratification is rampant in the developed nations, just as it is in the developing world. In the United States, for instance, the gap between the rich and the poor has been on the rise and the government seems to be doing very little to curb the sad realities of the situation.

In his book, Race, Gender, sexuality and Social Class: Dimensions of inequality, Ferguson (2012) takes a step to give a relatively wide perspective on the concept of social class and class inequalities. The book alludes to the other realities of social class, whereby people are subcategorized on the basis of their gender, race, and sexuality. Racial discrimination is a problem that people have been experiencing since the beginning of humankind. Sadly, the problem continues to negatively impact current societies.

In the United States, for example, race is a reality from which no one can hide. Racial discrimination forms the main basis for social stratification among people within the same economic class. The racial conflict between the African-Americans and the whites is a classic example of the social discrimination that exists between people of different racial descents.

The new gilded age: the critical inequality debates of our time by Grusky and Kricheli-Katz (2012) provides literature that highlights the worsening situation in the United States as far as the gap between the rich and the poor is concerned. The book provides possible solutions to the problems of economic inequality in the United States of America. Grisky and Kricheli (2012) identify other socio-economic concepts that are related to social inequalities, such as imbalances in wealth distribution and limited access to social amenities.

Many schools of thoughts have explained the causes of social class and social injustices. Rothman’s book, Inequality & Stratification: Race, Class, and Gender, gives a clear view of the causes of class systems and inequalities. It clearly outlines that race and gender differences are not only some of the causes of class stratifications, but the main causes of the many problems that typify citizens. The book also highlights some of the implications of social inequalities, especially in the context of economic growth of nations.

According to Butler (2007), inequality can be associated with politics and poverty. The author argues that politics bring about inequality. In his book, Understanding social inequality, the author contends that inequality culminates in poverty. Without access to factors of production, people in low class are further marginalized, and this sustains a vicious cycle. Butler (2007) has summed up the ideas of influential people on this topic, bringing out the issues more vividly.

Data and Methods

Sample Size

The proposed study should have a sample size of two thousand (2,000) participants, who will be selected randomly from a cosmopolitan city, such as New York. The city of New York is a perfect place in which to carry out the research because it can act as a sample to the entire US population dynamics.

Methods of data collection

The most appropriate methods of collecting data in this type of study would be interviews and questionnaires. Questionnaires are particularly useful because they are easy and cheap to administer. However, questionnaires cannot be applied when respondents are illiterate. Interviews can be very expensive because they require traveling to collect data.

Theories of social injustices

Sociologists have devised different approaches in an attempt to understand various social phenomena. The analysis of social problems can be viewed from a micro-perspective or a macro-perspective, depending on the approach taken by sociologists. Today, three main theoretical perspectives have been identified as the tools for analyzing social phenomena.

These are the “symbolic interactionist perspective, the functionalists’ perspective, and the conflict perspective” (Bottero, 2004, p. 123). In relation to the question of social class and inequalities, the conflict perspective becomes the most appropriate paradigm to be used in the analysis of the phenomenon (Bottero, 2004).

Conflict perspective

The paradigm gained popularity after the introduction of the Carl Max’s theory of class struggles. Unlike the other three perspectives, the conflict perspective challenges the status quo by advocating for social change by whatever means possible, even if it takes a social revolution to achieve the goals.

The theory states that rich people impose social order on low class people. Hence, conflict will always erupt between the two social classes. The current version of the conflict perspective has been expanded to include other sources of social discrimination, such as gender, race, religion, political affiliation, and sexuality (Savage, 2000).


In conclusion, with an in-depth analysis of class systems and social classes, it is clear that human beings are social beings that behave the way they have been oriented. It is also apparent from the discussion that high levels of poverty that are experienced today are due to social stratifications. Finally, it is worth to note that gender and race are core causes of inequality and class systems.


Bottero W. (2004). Stratification: Social division and inequality. London, United Kingdom: Routledge.

Butler, T. (2007). Understanding social inequality. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Eitzen, D. S., & Johnston, J. E. (2007). Inequality: Social class and its consequences. London, United Kingdom: Paradigm Pub.

Ferguson, S. J. (Ed.). (2012). Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Social Class: Dimensions of Inequality. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Grusky, D., & Kricheli-Katz, T. (Eds.). (2012). the new gilded age: the critical inequality debates of our time. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.

Rothman, R. A. (1999). Inequality & Stratification: Race, Class, and Gender. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice.

Savage, M. (2000). Class analysis and social transformation. New York, NY: Open University Press.

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1. IvyPanda. "Relationships of Social Class and Happiness." March 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/relationships-of-social-class-and-happiness/.


IvyPanda. "Relationships of Social Class and Happiness." March 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/relationships-of-social-class-and-happiness/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Relationships of Social Class and Happiness." March 28, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/relationships-of-social-class-and-happiness/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Relationships of Social Class and Happiness'. 28 March.

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