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Sociology Topic Four

Sociology Topic Four - 1 Sociology Topic Four Social Class...

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1 Sociology Topic Four: Social Class and Families Defining Social Class: four social classes Alternative view: Karl Marx saw differences in social class, looked at classes through various, earliest times; wrote about class structure In capitalist societies Said one’s class position in free-market economy is determined by one’s relationship to the means of production: anything we use to produce goods and services (money, capital, factories, labor) things that create profit Came up with two social class: proletariat – working class; bouswage – employer Simplistic notion of describing society today, not just reduced to those that own the businesses and those that work for them or the employer and employee Sociologists view class in another sense – draws from Marx but further developed by Max Faber Faber said – one’s life chances affects the social class, money certainly influences one’s life chances but also added to concept of class a subjective dimension called a status group Status group: people who belong to a particular class have a lot in common, people share a common lifestyle sometimes which can be distinguished with prestige or by privilege (not just money) – doctor, banker, professor (order of prestige) Views of class are more multidimensional with broad status groups – an ordering or ranking of persons in society according to their degrees of economic resources, of prestige, and of privilege Based a lot also on education and profession – socioeconomic status: composite of education, income, and occupation Some women consider their social class by husband’s class and his socioeconomic status Many classes can change through marriage – marry into new class or with divorce have a downward movement of class Four Major Classes: Upper, Middle, Working, and Lower Class Upper Class – very little research, not entirely sure how many there are or where they are; are the smallest, do not like to participate in studies (don’t want wealth exposed to the public); Jamie Johnson observed through participant observation; those born into it (inherited) do not discuss, however, those who acquire their own wealth are more likely to flaunt it;
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2 think about them as those that have vast amounts of wealth – inherited or earned; amassed vast amounts of privilege and prestige, to be a member of this class old names and blue blood counts; part of social and cultural elite of their own Husbands tend to be inherited wealth and don’t work at all or if are working tend to work in very high-status, high-paying jobs: banking, CEOs, wealthy law firms Wives usually do not work outside of home – more than any other class; very involved in charity and volunteer work Middle Class – have a very comfortable relationship with the economy, earn enough, have enough education, secure comfortable income that allows them to live well above subsistence; can afford many of the things that are part of the American dream: afford
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