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Essay on The Sociological Explanations for Class Inequality

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The Sociological Explanations for Class Inequality

There is much debate in sociology about whether class is still
important. Many argue that class is no longer important as an
individual's identity and life chances are based more status and
cultural factors such as lifestyle, values, intelligence, education
and the like, the post-modernists state that class has ceased to be
the prime determinant of identity and suggest that societies are now
organised around consumption rather than production, consequently
people now identify themselves in terms of what they consume rather
than in terms of social-class position. Class identity has therefore
fragmented into numerous separate and individualised identities.
Others argue that class is still a central influence on people's
lives, that it affects their life chances (health, education, voting,
social mobility etc.), they argue that class inequality exists and
that such inequalities are widening rather than narrowing.

Early theories such as Functionalist theory argue that inequality is
functional for society since it makes sure that those who show the
most potential talent are encouraged to develop this talent through
higher education and training, with the promise of higher incomes when
they qualify (deferred gratification). They state that in order for
society to function properly, society must make sure that people fully
use their talents. Inequalities stem from the fact that society values
different roles in different ways, based on the shared norms and
values of a society. Davis and Moore argue that inequality is
inevitable in modern society because people need to be put into
diffe...


... middle of paper ...


... however it is interesting to note that there are still less
working class children entering university than those from a middle
class background. The Weberian theory argues that class and status are
interlinked, that it is possible to have wealth without status which
seems to apply to the society in which we live in today. The Marxist
view of class inequality does not seem to apply to today's society,
with many people today being part of the middle class, there is no
explanation for this in Marx's theory, and he does not account for the
growth of the service sector, an industry which is expanding in the
contemporary UK. There are many explanations for class inequality
which show that although class is not as important as it has been in
previous times, it still plays an important part in the lives of
individuals today.


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