Social class is the status of the society in which individuals are classified on basis of political, economic and cultural perspectives. Wealth, income and occupation are the major aspects of economic social classification.
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Political social class is characterized by Status and power, while the cultural group is determined by peoples’ lifestyle, education, values and beliefs (Bernstein 126). The economic, political and social classes can further be categorized in to subcategories of upper, middle, working and lower classes depending on one’s position in society.
It is quite essential for each individual in the society to understand the social position in which one belongs to (Bronfenbrenner 412). This will not only help in addressing the different issues that arise in life but also help in building a strong understanding of the societal needs.
Proper understanding of one’s class helps individuals to get fully prepared in facing challenges that come along in tackling daily activities. People who discern their social environment at an early stage in life constantly keep rising from one class to another.
It’s quite clear that social classes bring about inequalities in resources and life expectations. For instance, individuals with power have direct access to material resources compared to their followers.
Such differences cause economic gap between the different groups and may lead to the low group engaging in unethical means such as theft and corruption in order to bridge the gap (Bernstein 127). On the other hand, individuals endorsed with power may also look for alternatives of fighting in order to remain in power as a means of maintaining their status quo.
In understanding the social classes’ one should be keen in noting that; people in the lower social classes are involved in risky, lowly paid jobs which do not have any form of security unlike their counterparts in upper classes who enjoy better paid, secured jobs with access to medical cover (Bronfenbrenne 411).
In most instances, people in the lower class categories provide labor to the upper class; they do so by working as gardeners’ cleaners or any other odd jobs.
Low class individuals in the society lack adequate opportunities to exploit their talents. However, highly motivated individuals can rise to the other classes although they do so with a lot of difficulties (Davis 60).
Education is one way of shifting from one social class to another; children from upper classes have access to good schools and education and as result are able to maintain their class later in life. An educated individual is able to secure a well paying job, accumulate wealth and use the resources he has to gain political power.
The social class also determines the society’s demographics. Many low income earners are likely to stay in proximity to industries (Marshal 30). They reside in poorly constructed houses within noisy environment since they cannot afford better lifestyles (Bronfenbrenne 412).
On the other hand, upper social class individuals prefer to live in private, cool and sparsely populated areas. In addition, people from the low class are more prone to high crime related risks as a result of lack of opportunities and over population. This happens because many of them are unemployed hence hopelessly engage into alcohol and drugs.
Social class also has a very big impact on health status of an individual. Good medical care is only accessed by those who are willing to spend big. The lower class people suffer most because of their inability to access good medical care because of inadequate funds (Krieger 79).
Poor health contributes to low productivity of workers hence poor employment. However, the wealthy and rich are likely to suffer from conditions like obesity and cancer because of the kind of lifestyles they lead. Stress due to low pays, divorce and or conflicts may lead to death.
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Differences in cultures, education levels, wealth, income and other aspects of social class in most instances cause discrimination (Marshall 30). For instance, one may be denied an opportunity as a result of being associated to a certain social class. This has given rise to massive corruption in the society and consequent moral degradation.
In social classes, informal and formal groups arise. The groups are mostly created to cultivate value in their groups and work in cooperation to maintain their status (Dahrendorf 12).
The groups also educate members on the opportunities and threats in the environment in addition to providing financial support to each other. Examples of these groups include Sacco’s which arise in the economic class, political parties and cultural groups.
In conclusion, social class differences create competition among different members in the society. Individuals within the lowest social class always work hard to maneuver their way to the next level. Individuals within the highest social classes have a feeling of having made it in life.
It would be crucial for anyone teaching on social classes to keenly study the economic, political and cultural backgrounds of the learners (Bronfenbrenner 420). This is a very sensitive area which needs serious research in order to avoid creating differences among the learners.
Bernstein, Benim. “A sociolinguistic approach to socialization: With some reference to educability.” Directions in sociolinguistics: The ethnography of communication. 12.6(1972):125-126.
Bronfenbrenner, Uenice. “Socialization and social class through time and space.” Readings in 12.5(1958):400-425.print
Dahrendorf, Real. Class and class conflict in industrial society.Stanford: Stanford University Press Stanford,1959.print.
Davis, Alvis. “Social-class influences upon learning.” social psychology 15.8(1948):56 89.print.
Krieger, Rowley. “Racism, sexism, and social class: implications for studies of health, disease, and well-being.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine78.7(1993):67-90.print.
Marshall, Timao. “Citizenship and social class.” Cambridge 12.2(1950):28-29.print.