Social Classes in Britain

Topics: Social class, Working class, Middle class Pages: 7 (2571 words) Published: February 18, 2013

In this essay on social classes in Britain I will mostly concentrate on structure of various classes in Britain and relations between them. I will also describe some changes and movements which this classes went through over the years. Furthermore, I will put emphasis on today's important issue in Britain, the problem of class struggle i.e. disparity between the rich and the poor. Although there are various definitions of social class, we may say that social class is connected with factors such as wealth, level of education and occupation. To be more precise in defining it, a social class is "a status hierarchy in which individuals and groups are classified on the basis of esteem and prestige acquired mainly through economic success and accumulation of wealth. Social class may also refer to any particular level in such a hierarchy."[1] Social classes represent an important part in people's lives because they are essential to proper understanding of British history and because class is a major British preoccupation, especially in political life. Therefore, it concerned British Prime Minister John Major twenty years ago in such a way that he tried to achieve his aim to bring about "classless society". He didn't accomplish that and Britain continued to be class-bound nation.[2] Class is very much present in Britain. Besides him, according to Margater Thatcher: "Class," she insisted, "is a Communist concept. It groups people as bundles, and sets them against one another."[3] We may conclude that to her, class has been depravity of human behaviour.

Today there are six social classes in Britain established in the 1950s and used ever since.[4] Following classification based on the occupation of the head of the household according to National Readership Survey[5] is for 2008. The upper middle class (category A - high managerial, administrative or professional, 4%) in Britain is very small and consists mostly of peerage, gentry and hereditary landowners. This class is more defined by family background than by job or income because these people were born into families that possessed higher incomes. In other words, it represents the wealthiest class with people having inherited money and position. The middle class (category B - intermediate managerial, administrative or professional, 23%) in Britain consists of people who are educated in either private or state schools. Typical jobs include lawyers, doctors, architects, teachers, managers, as well as civil servants and other skilled jobs. The lower middle class (category C1 - supervisory, clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional, 29%) in Britain consists of people in white-collar jobs (do not involve manual labor) living in less prosperous suburbs. For example, they are employed as retail salesmen, railway guards, airline stewardesses, travel agents, low level civil servants etc. Members of this class often did not have an university education until 1970s expansion in higher education. The skilled working class (category C2 - skilled manual workers, 21%) consists of people who work in skilled blue-collar jobs (often involve manual labor), chiefly in the construction and manufacturing industry or as self employed contractors. The semi-skilled and unskilled working class (category D - semi and unskilled manual workers, 15%) in Britain consists of people who work in blue-collar jobs with low incomes. What is typical for this class is that people do not have opportunity to take part in higher education. Many would go on to work semi-skilled and unskilled jobs on the assembly lines and machine shops of Britain's major car factories, steel mills, foundries and textile mills in the highly industrialised cities. Category E (state pensioners, casual or lowest grade workers, unemployed with state benefits only, 8%), known as the "underclass" consists of the long-term unemployed, occasional part-time, economic immigrants, elderly...

Bibliography: [1] Business Dictionary.Social Class: Definition.2010
[2] McDowall D., 2000., p.93.
[3] Cannadine D. The Rise and Fall of Class in Britain.2010
[4] McDowall D., 2000., p.93.
[7] McDowall D., 2000., p.93.
[8] McDowall D., 2000., p.93.
[9] Social Class: United Kingdom. 20 June 2011
[10] McDowall D., 2000., p.93.
[13] McDowall D., 2000., p.93.
[14] Social Class: United Kingdom. 20 June 2011
[15] McDowall D., 2000., p.93.
[16] McDowall D., 2000., p.93.
[23] McDowall D., 2000., p.95.
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