Social Class and Stratification

Social class refers to more or less distinct social grouping of individuals and groups within the society on the basis of wealth, material possession, power, authority and prestige. In most cases, such form of groupings is automatically assigned to individuals by the laws of demand and supply. For instance, marketable skills are always in high demand, but in short supply and are usually grouped into higher class. On the other hand, unmarketable skills are rarely on demand and thus grouped as lower class. Best (2005), cited that under normal circumstance, our societies are classified into 4 social classes; upper, middle, working, and lower class.       

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Social Stratification is a sociological term implying grouping or ranking of different people within the society into either higher or lower levels using certain characteristics such as resource distribution. It places people in some chain of command which in the long run persists, changes, and produces character as well as inequality. Overall, societal hierarchy depends on power, prestige, and property. Whereas social class is widely biased in generational persistence, social stratification offers room for social mobility and can easily change because of its variability.      

Components of social class according to Max Weber are; social class, status class, and party class. In Weber’s view, people are stratified in social classes based on the extent to which they control a society’s commerce. At the same time, status class aligns individuals to various privileges they are entitled to in the society. Party class focuses on the societal identification. My neighborhood education, occupation, and income could be classified as either middle or working class. 

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 Impact of Social Class on Various Aspects of Life

Social class determines the distribution of resources such as infrastructures. In an event of unequal distribution of resources, regions regarded to be poor/low class are usually left undeveloped thus slowing communication and transport. Secondly, lower class regions are usually neglected when it comes to construction of social amenities as opposed to regions of higher class. Such segregation has made the poor/low class regions to be prone to disease, catastrophes, and crime. Moreover, poor/lower class regions have stagnated in terms of development because of the absence of skilled human resource and economic resources. In addition, the presence of social classification in the human societies have propagated the notion of the rule and the ruled thereby making certain group of people to cling on power. Such cases have resulted into servants being misused by their masters while others have ended up being torched in the process of advocating for human rights.        

Advantages and Disadvantages of My Social Class Position

Disadvantage of Social Class: Social class encourages social stratification which in the end results into social inequality, racism, generational segregation and regional segregation. It also inculcates biased degree of socialization and identity formation among individuals. Such situation has been cited as the main cause of identity crisis and crime engagement among the lower class.

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Advantages of My Class Social Position: - being in the middle/working class offers people an opportunity to acquire and access the necessary resources such as better education, better health and better jobs required for success in life.

The pattern of unequal distribution of our stratification system is a social problem to both the upper class and the lower class. This is owed to the fact that, in either way, the upper class must interact with the lower class and vice versa. That is, human society is bound to under go social mobility in a system of social stratification thereby making it a social problem to the entire society.      

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