Essay on Measuring Social Class On A Hierarchy Of Unequal Social Groups

Essay on Measuring Social Class On A Hierarchy Of Unequal Social Groups

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Amy Barnard

Measuring Social class

Social stratification refers to the division of society into a hierarchy of unequal social groups. (Ken Brown, An introductory of sociology, p393)
All societies have social stratification to some degree, stratification is split into three different types of system. Class is the system that is most common in most modern societies. Social class is individuals grouped in terms of their occupation, income and wealth. This type of system is based on economic factors only and tends to be ‘open’, meaning social mobility is possible and people are free to move between classes with no legal barriers. This could be because the individual has achieved this, for example, Lord Sugar has achieved his social class through his business operations and accumulated wealth. Alternatively, it could be through marriage or person who is ascribed class like the Queen is born into a class position which remains stable. The class system often has equal rights despite class differences, this system is present in Britain.
Another type or stratification is the caste system which can be seen in Hindu societies, such as India. The caste system is a closed system meaning that a person is born into a caste, and individuals cannot freely move from one caste to another or marry into another caste they must marry into the same caste. This is called endogamy. The caste system is based on religious beliefs and individuals in a caste system believe in reincarnation and that their behaviour in their previous life will determine the caste they are born into.
The feudal system comes from medieval Europe and was based on a hierarchy of estates and ownership of land. Individuals with higher estates had more rights and privileges than th...

... middle of paper ...

...ale or the NSSEC.
As society has changed over time there has become different aspects to an individual that need to be taken into account, this is shown in the differences between the scales, for example the Registrar Generals scale used in 1911 ignored female workers but the NSSEC which is more recent does take into account females who work. Another example of this is that the Hope Goldthorpe Scale ignores the unemployed but the later model NSSEC provides a category for the unemployed as it has become more common and acceptable in society.


(Ken Brown, An introductory of sociology, p393)

Northampton College, official measurements of class, slideshow, 2014
Northampton College, Social Stratification, slideshow, 2014
Haralambos and Holborn, sociology themes and perspectives, 2004
Ken Browne, An introduction to sociology, 2011

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