According to E.A Johns a Principal Lecturer in Behavioural Sciences Department of Management Slough College of Technology the concept of class provides a convenient method of classifying and differentiating various types of attitude and social action prevalent in society without necessarily implying evaluative notions of superiority or inferiority This essay will explain how social class can be both a source of identity but also inequality Firstly it will identify the meaning of social class and give examples of the existence of such phenomenon Secondly it will focus on social class as a primary source of identity in reference to up to date research Thirdly it will present arguments for social class being a primary pattern of inequality This essay will also refer to key sociological studies on institutional inequality and statistical data as well as to theoretical perspectives such as Marxism and Weber's Lastly it will expose causes of primary patterns of inequality and give conclusion In the sociology dictionary social class is identified as one of the concepts of stratification Social class or in other words social category is a result of unequal distribution of rewards and resources such as wealth power and prestige it is mostly primarily define by how these segmentations are identified In the capitalist system most of the goods are controlled by Upper class also called bourgeoisie whose members use the work performed by the working class or proletariat to gain wealth and control
A very good example of this is fashion Since hundreds of years fashion was one of the means of class distinction it was used to distinguish between classes the ones who belonged to Upper class such as members of monarchy would wear expensive decorative clothing and those who belonged to a lower social class peasants wore simple cheap clothes Although in present time the rules of fashion in addition to social class have changed and are no longer as strict as they used to be we can still notice that in certain job professions companies that are considered as middle class the fashion style is rather different to the one in factories and other places were the workers are considered working class By referring to research in at least one of the aspects mentioned above we can easily see how social class can be both a source of identity and inequality Social Class had been presented by many researchers and theorists as a primary source of identity one of the great thinkers who presented such an idea was Karl Marx who based his theory on a statement that social relations as well as activities that humans engage in transform the real world For him that was the main argument why humans should be perceived as social beings He indicates that it would not be possible for humans to survive in a world and have their needs met if it wasn't for the power of transformation generated by social activity especially social labour
The level of productive power required to change the natural world could never be generated individually for Marx it is only in Capitalistic society where individuals are separated from the means of production when these become owned as private property Capitalism is a society of the most advanced social relations and socially developed productive forces it is the type of relations that exist in the isolated individuals of capitalism who are still social beings their personalities developed within capitalist social relations Lucien Seve takes as the starting point for his psychology of personality this notion of humans as necessarily connected through relations that transform the real For Seve the development of the personal capacities of each social individuals takes place within productive activity organized by the division of labour Each person can only develop to the level of the productive forces created in society for these constitute the social heritage which individuals appropriate in their personal development It is not through the gene that people inherit the talents necessary to the continued existence of humanity instead these are handed down and transformed from generation to generation through social relations What is essential to humans then is not located in each separate individual but in the social and historical heritage through which individuals develop as personalities Seve then takes a decisive step in the direction we are following here by theorizing social relations as primary in the study of individuals He inverts the traditional view of the relationship between individuals and society it is not the individual but social relations which are the basis for the real life processes in which
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