WHY ones belonging to the same class share.

WHY DOES CLASS MATTER?

 

 

Student ID: 4312902

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

“Class is something beneath
your clothes, under your skin, in your reflexes, in your psyche, at the very
core of your being” (Annette Kuhn, 1995). As rightly said by Annette Kuhn
class is something that is all around us and has been all around us since times
immemorial. Class refers to a group of people sharing a similar status, power
and amount of wealth. People belonging to the same class have a very similar
influence on the society and the people around them. Classes in the society are
mostly unequal and people are divided on the amount of economic wealth that
they possess. There have been occurrences of most exceptional inequalities,
that range from extreme wealth to life ending poverty. Where the people with
the most wealth mostly belong to the upper classes and the ones that are not
that high on the economic ladder stand very low on the social ladder as well. Class
has various stigmas attached to it. For example, people that belong to a certain
class are expected to do certain jobs that are just meant for them which the
other classes cannot do.

 

Class
matters because it helps everyone in knowing a lot about the society in
relation to the socio-economic status of the citizens and the kind of
historical background that the ones belonging to the same class share. Social
class is usually regarded as being conceived as sets of positions rather than
individuals who happen to fill them at any particular time. In order to study
or know something it is extremely important to have some basic knowledge about different
classes and how they function because it gives a glimpse of history and how everything
evolved, became how it is now and, how it will be in the future. The functioning
of the society is based on different classes and their economic status. “As people
reconstruct their days, it’s clear that in every single decision they make,
class is an essential feature.” (Piff, 2012) Social status and
power conflicts are at the heart of current societal conflicts present in the
world today. Social status is the degree of prestige linked to a persons’
societal position.

Different classes have been struggling and have struggled
since a very long time now, in order to achieve an equal status and equal
opportunities. There have been a lot of positive and negative changes in the
society because of class struggles. Some societies in the world can be
identified that ascribe all its citizens to be of equal status, however most
societies prevalent today function in the realms of some sort of social
hierarchy, where some individuals are stronger, whilst some remain weaker. This
inequality usually seeps into the norms of society through various institutions
and structural components, that allows this dominant and submissive behaviour
to exist. Often roles in other spheres of influence are also prescribed in
accordance to class differences and in reference to what different cultures and
different societies deem valuable. In
several instances, the inequality that is present in society is so grave, that
people go along with it without any awareness, however ever so often, instances
do arise where the society discovered the horror of class differences and
resists leading to social conflicts. A great example to explain this is “The
Manifesto of The Communist Party” by Karl Marx. Karl Marx hoped that the distinction
between various classes could be reduced and communism would prevail in the future,
where the bourgeois and the proletarians would have equal opportunities and
rights to citizenship. He wished that the proletarians would rise up against
and overthrow the bourgeois and put an end to the modern capitalism for which
he had even called for a workers’ revolution. However, to his despair the
revolution occurred in countries such as China and Russia but not
industrialised countries such as the Britain and Germany where the intensity
was much more. Ironically, the horrors of class struggle have been used over
the years to minimise and tapper conflict over the distribution of scarce goods
and services present in the society. Therefore, for a lot of goods and services
the only contestable strata remain the one that possess immense power, and their
power is usually not challenged. The proletarians according to Marx did
not have much to lose anyway and had a lot to gain over the years to come. Each
citizen and member of a society had different views on class and communism. For
instance, the Utopian communists and socialists wanted to abolish class
conflicts without abolishing the conditions for existence of different classes.
All of this has led to distinctions in the society which are there in this day
and age as well.

Class can never be ignored because the
mere existence of some countries and the grounds for citizenship is based on
this. It is extremely difficult to abolish a system which has been come into being
since ages. The intensity with which classes came into being and became a part
of the society is a major region behind why they still matter so much in the
different nations and across the world. In many places, class is not something which
is achieved by people, it is something you are born into. One needs to follow
the unwritten rules and beliefs set up by others. People kept believing what
they were told by the Priests, Kings, rich people and those that possessed a
lot of power in the society, who most of the times said things which would help
them remain in power. India being one of the biggest example, where common
sense knowledge and illiteracy created a major impact on all three classes, upper,
middle and lower (termed as Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras, ranked
from upper to lower class). The country can be best understood with regards to
caste and class. The lower classes were mostly illiterate and lacked the means
of basic livelihood. They were denied rights to citizenship and treated with
utmost disrespect and disregard. But their struggles led to many provisions and
changes which are now even recognised and support by the government of India. Everyone
at least on paper is treated equally, with a few special reservations for the
lower classes, so that they get the treatment that they deserve, especially
when it comes to jobs and rights to education. This shows how different
societies function just on the bases of class and caste till date.

The inequalities created by class have
had profound impacts on the day to day working of the rich and the poor. Some inequalities
are also based on gender and age. For instance, the women and children of lower
classes were not treated differently than the men of the same classes, for them
the treatment was even worse. Therefore, it is important to know about class
and its distinction, then and now. Class has led to many changes in the
society, which are both negative and positive. It is extremely important to
keep class in mind to study about any society because it holds relevance in
almost all societies and situations.

 

There are a lot of differences between
the different classes which have led to a wide gap between them, the gap has
become so wide that it is difficult to bridge it. It is possible with the rapid
growth of intellectuals and basic education which is now accessible to many
people. The process towards receiving an equal citizenship and status is
ongoing and requires a lot of patience. The thinking of the older and new
generations is quite different from each other, which will make it easier for
the lower classes to achieve what they deserve. H.R. Markus said that “As
the world continues to shrink, it is more important than ever that we
understand the subjective nature of such cultural dichotomies” (H.R.
Markus, 2014) Class allows us to understand and perceive
the dichotomies that exist in the society today. class surrounds the ideas
and the values that we stem and grow in thereby affecting the all spheres
of influence that we as human beings function such as interactions in the
social, economical, and political institutions. It makes us realise
differences in the society are not immutable however relevant and
essential in the way that we function.

 

Word Count: 1387

 

References:

·            
Anon. (2010). Education, Economics and Enterprise: ‘What’s Social
Class got to do with it?’ Bristol: University of Bristol.

·            
DeAngelis, T. (2015). Class Differences. New York: American
Psychological Association.

·            
Fiske, S. &
Markus, H. R. (2012). Facing social class:
How societal rank influences interaction. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

·            
Jackopovich, D. (2014). The Concept of Class. Cambridge: SSRG
Publications.

·            
Kuhn, A. (1995). Family secrets: Acts of memory and
imagination. London: Verso.

·            
Leathwood, C., & Archer, L. (2004). ‘Social Class and
Educational Inequalities: the local and the global’. Pedagogy, culture and
Society. United Kingdom: London Metropolitan University.

·            
Markus, H. R.,
& Conner, A. C. (2014). Clash! How to Thrive in a Multicultural World. New York: Plume. 

·            
Marx, K., Engels, F., Moore, S., & McLellan, D. (1992). The
Communist manifesto. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

·            
Sayer, A. (2002). What are You Worth: Why is Class an Embarrassing
Subject? United Kingdom: Social Research Online, Vol 7, No 3.

·            
Wilkinson,
Richard G. & Pickett, Kate. (2010) The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better
for Everyone, London: Penguin (pp. 31-45).