Social and Criminological Studies

In: Social Issues

Submitted By aliguntie
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How does class influence identity in contemporary society?

Economic structures are related to social class. Our occupation and income (paid work) are related to our identity as an individual along with a collective identity through work colleagues and the organisation we work for. Employment and distribution of our income is important and they are some of the structures that shape our identity.

Class therefore can be demonstrated as groups that share an economic relationship; this relationship is influenced by how we see what others have and how they see what we have.

Identities however, can be constrained by income in terms of poverty or living below the bread line. This can be defined by a shared view about which goods and services are seen as necessary to people in any specific time and place (Kempson p83) For example 96% of households in the United Kingdom had television in 1994 this is now seen as a necessity and the lack of television constitutes relative deprivation. (Maureen Mcintosh ad Gerry Mooney p 84)

Wealth can bring security, self-determination and control over those less wealthy and this can be a source of class distinction. Wealth tends to be not as visible as poverty as there is little or no reliance on state funded benefits such as education, health and transport. As wealth is concentrated in ten percent of the United Kingdom population social networks tend not to be visible to those outside that arena.

Let us briefly look at two theories of class; both Karl Marx (1818 - 1883) and Max Weber (1864 – 1920) say that class is closely linked to economic structures. Marx defines class as rooted in the economic organization of production. Industrial capitalism ie the monetary wherewithal to own the means of production drew a line between those who had and hose who had not these means. Weber saw class as being rooted in market position, more…...

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