When sociologists talk of social class, they refer to a group of individuals who occupy a similar position in the economic system of production. Within that system occupation is very important because it provides financial rewards, stability and benefits like healthcare.Social classes are very complex, but “the relationship between power and wealth is undeniable.” (Marger 40) People can change the social class they are in, but it is not simply one factor that determines one’s social class. Occupation, income, wealth, education, and status are all major factors that can help determine which of the five social classes a person belongs. An individual can change his or her social class if they have the desire to do so
Many sociologists suggest five:
Upper Class – Elite
Represent institutional leadership, heads of multinational corporations, foundations, universities Capitalist elite – owners of lands, stocks and bonds and other assets – wealth derived from what they own Forbes magazine publishes a list of the 400 wealthiest families in America. In 1997, net worth had to be at least $475 million.Bill Gates, in that year, had net worth pf 39.8 billion. Of all the wealth represented on the Forbes list, more than half is inherited. Newly acquired wealth, nouveau riche, have vast amounts of money but not often accepted into “old money” circles.
Upper Middle Class
Represent scientific and technical knowledge – engineers, accountants, lawyers, architects, university faculty, managers and directors of public and private organizations. Have both high incomes and high social prestige. Well-educated. Difficult to define a “middle class” (i.e. upper middle, middle middle and lower middle) probably the largest class group in the United States – because being middle class is more that just income, about lifestyles and resources, etc.
Lower Middle Class
Provide support for professionals
Engage in data collection., record-keeping
Paralegals.\, bank tellers, sales
Blue-collar workers in skilled trades
Laborers in factories
Nursing home staff
Repair shops, garages
Working poor – work full-time at wages below poverty line
Social class is one of the most important concepts that sociologists discuss and yet its definition is often illusive. There are two classical sociologists who are most important in the discussions about class .Karl Marx and Max Weber have different views upon social class in contemporary societies. In Karl Marx's perspective, social class has a two-class system whereas Max Weber argued that social class has three dimensions of stratification: class, status and party And what is frustrating about both is that they did not produce a viable definition of the things that they wrote extensively about.
Karl Marx: 1818-1883
Karl Marx argued there are two major social classes, the ruling class who own the means of production and the subject class, who don't own the means of production and are a diverse group of people controlled by and working for the ruling class. These two groups are better known as the bourgeoisie and proletariat. In particular, the bourgeoisie use a mode of production, in the form of capitalism, to oppress the proletariat. Whereby the owners of production (bourgeoisie) use the (proletariat) workers labour to produce their surplus value. In turn they pay their workers the smallest amount possible to make a profit, thus exploiting the working class. The defining factor in what makes them a separate class is the bourgeoisie's ownership of the means of production, not their wealth, because they don't produce the surplus value, the proletariat do. The bourgeoisie only appropriate the surplus. In essence the bourgeoisie are a 'class for itself' whereas the proletariat are a 'class in itself'. Marx identifies that the reason...
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