Social Divisions and Change Week Two

Last week….
Social divisions are:  Society wide distinctions between two or more groups of people.  Hierarchy - unequal levels of power  Long-lasting and sustained  Leading to inequality in access to resources  Multiple and intersecting  Includes class but also other social divisions (e.g. gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality, disability)

This week
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Aims: How do we define class? Has this changed and how? How does class affect people’s life-chances? What are the current debates about class in Britain?

 Learning outcomes:  Develop knowledge of classical sociological approaches

to understanding class  Think critically about some of the challenges in defining class  Develop an understanding of key current debates on class in Britain

narrow focus on labour force and measurement). Industrial Revolution  Talking about ‘class’ became rather unfashionable in sociology by the 1990s (culture.Class in sociology  Class traditionally been seen as one of THE central pillars of sociological research  Class and social inequalities central theme in work of classical sociology – The Enlightenment. identity. . Now seeing a resurgence of interest in class.

Was it easy or hard to decide what social class you are part of? .Questions  What factors do you use to work out what social class people are in?  Think about your own class position.

Defining ‘class’  Income and wealth?  Occupation?  Where you live?  Education?  Life-style?  Culture?  Identity?  Material. but also cultural basis to class .

between generations’ (Duncan 1968: 681) .A note on ‘stratification’  Usually used when talking about class. more particularly. although you will find some use it when talking more generally about social divisions. either over the life time of a birth cohort of individuals or.  Social strata exist when people’s economic and social relations tie them into larger and more permanent structures of ‘social stratification’ (Scott 2006)  ‘social stratification refers to the persistence of positions in a hierarchy of inequality.


 ‘Class-in-itself’ to ‘class-for-itself’ . political activist  Communist Manifesto’ and ‘Das Kapital’  Capitalism as the ‘dictatorship of the bourgeoisie’  ‘Class struggle’ . Exploitation of the Proletariat (working-class) by the Bourgeoisie (owners of industry).Karl Marx  (1818-1883)  German philosopher.Conflict between classes based on economic interests.  Change can take place through the development of ‘class consciousness’ leading to ‘class action’ by the Proletariat.

Weber thought capitalist society is a class society.  Not just divided by property ownership but also labour market (identifies 4 classes)  ‘class situations’ within a ‘social class’  ‘Social class’ – ‘clumps of occupations with similar life-chances. but more layers.Max Weber  (1864-1920)  Like Marx. linked to common mobility patterns’ (Bottero 2005) (my underlining) .

command.economic  ‘Status’ – distribution of prestige and social honour in a community  ‘Party’ – power. authority .Weber continued…  Marxism and economic determinism  Weber pointed out that non-economic factors are also important in determining life-chances and social stratification  Three aspects to Weber’s theory of stratification and sources of inequality:  ‘Class’ .

Emile Durkheim  (1858-1917) French sociologist  Third tradition in stratification – ‘normative functionalism’ (Bottero 2005)  Highly differentiated societies are integrated because they have a common value system of shared beliefs and norms  Stratification is a ‘moral classification. a status ordering reflecting shared values about the worth of different positions’ (Bottero 2005: 44) .

.  Status – not because of power but because valued. They are socialised to conform.  This means what appear to be their own selfinterests are also those of the wider society.Talcott Parsons  (1902-1979) American  Built on Durkheim’s work  Behaviour regulated by shared norms and values  ‘Introjection’ – people internalise the values of the wider society.

Replaced measure .docx  Combining sociological (Goldthorpe classifications) and ‘official’ government scheme.Mapping classes  Gap between stratification theory and empirical research on social stratification.‘Social Class based on Occupation’  Class\NS-SEC. What measure of ‘class’ to use? (Scott in Payne. . G.based on ‘employment relations’. 2006)  Since 2001 NS-SEC (National Statistics Socioeconomic Classification).

The ‘death of class’ ‘we’re all middle class now’ (Tony Blair) Meritocracy social exclusion Post-modern and cultural turn – focus on ‘identity’ and ignoring class. (2001).  decline in traditional occupational groups and industries  Class seen as affecting life-chances but class identification is low – Savage et al. Bradley (1999)     .

png  http://www.Impact of class  Income  http://www.png  Employment  Rates of unemployment are 5 times higher for unskilled manual workers compared to professionals and managers  Housing  Rates of home ownership lower for semi-skilled and unskilled workers compared to professionals

34 (ONS 2004)  Infant mortality and life-expectancy linked to class too  Politics  18 of the 23 Coalition cabinet ministers are millionaires (The Times 23rd May 2010). Education  Attainment of 5 GCSEs A-C more than twice as likely among children of ‘professionals’ compared to ‘routine’ workers. 35% of MPs attended private school.  Health  Obesity 16% among higher managerial and professional workers compared to between 25-33% among ‘routine’ workers(Social Trends. .

the relationship between the socio-economic status of parents and the status their children will attain as adults  Intra-generational mobility – the changes in socioeconomic status across a person’s life course.Social mobility: what is it?  Intergenerational mobility . Norway. USA. Canada. France etc) (Going for Growth OECD 2010) . Spain.  The strength of the link between individual and parental earnings is higher in the UK than any other OECD country (Italy.

(University of Newcastle) . University of Oxford) Devine et al. (University of York) Payne. London School of     Economics) Goldthorpe et al. (University of Manchester) Savage et al.I Social Mobility: Up. (Economists. (Nuffield College. down or staying the same? For who?  Measuring social mobility:  Income mobility versus class mobility  ‘Absolute’ or ‘relative’ mobility  Some key researchers writing about social mobility:  Blanden et al. G.

Trends in ‘absolute’ social mobility  Devine and Li (2011)  Men:  Upward mobility declined 1991-2005 (except in ‘long-range’ WC-Salariat)  Significant increase in downward mobility – meritocracy? .

9%) .3%) and vice versa for women (36.8% compared with 35. Women:  Upward mobility increased significantly 1991- 2005 within ‘short-range’ and ‘long-range’  Downward mobility declined by small amount  BUT in 2005 upward mobility still outweighed downward mobility for men (40.6% compared to 31.

‘Relative’ mobility  Women divided by class:  Chances of MC daughters securing MC jobs better than WC daughters securing MC jobs. .  Total (men and women):  Greater social fluidity as chances of MC children securing MC jobs has declined relative to chances of WC children securing MC jobs.

Debates on morality.0 per cent of households in 1997 and this had risen to 1. ‘white trash’. welfare dependency and the ‘underclass’  ‘Underclass’ debate 1980s (Charles Murray)  An increase in the number of households in the UK where no adult has ever worked in recent years: no adult had ever worked in 1. ethnicity – ‘white working class’  Morality and class-contempt – ‘chavs’.7 per cent in 2010 (Social trends 41 Labour Force [ONS 2011])  Links between class. ‘welfare queen’  ‘Deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor .

‘refers to a set of patterns of thought.cultural dimensions of stratification  ‘Habitus’ . . behaviour and taste that are acquired through the internalisation of culture and social structures.Pierre Bourdieu  French sociologist (1930-2002)  Class distinctions and class cultures. and through individuals’ experiences (Bourdieu and Waquant 1992: 54).

 Tastes and ambitions shaped by people and social conditions around us so our ‘choices’ reproduce our positions in the social order  ‘Cultural capital’ – some culture has higher social status than others and linked to attaining social advantage .Bourdieu cont.

The Great British Class Survey Economic capital Social capital Cultural capital .


State your reasons for picking each question.Defining and measuring class  Design a mini questionnaire for a survey measuring class  Think of 5 questions you could ask people to find out information that could tell you something about what social class they are. .

Thinking Allowed: Mobility to Higher Education  In what ways. do you think class affects people’s life-chances?  Is there a ‘class ceiling’ in the UK? . and to what extent. life chances and social mobility  Listen to this extract from Thinking Allowed (BBC Radio 4).Class identity. Think about class identity and social mobility  BBC iPlayer .

Class identification Evidence has shown that life-chances are still very much linked to social class. Savage (2001) found that people tend to be ambivalent about their class identities and there is little evidence that class is a strong source of collective identity.  Agree/disagree?  Why do you think this might be the case?  To what extent do you think class is a significant aspect of your own identity? . and that many people recognise this. some studies have shown that despite this. However.

traditional Asians‘: British Muslim young men’s constructions of race. Payne book  Blackboard:  Have a look at the Sex and Power (2011) report from Equality and Human Rights Commission  Is Female to Male as Nature Is to Culture? (Ortner 1974)  ‘Hegemonic Masculinity: rethinking the concept’ (Connell & Messerschmidt 2005)  'Muslim brothers..  Gender as a social division  Read: Ch. black lads. religion and masculinity (Archer 2001) ..Next week.. 3 in G.

and Li. and Wacquant. Y. Devine. (2001) ‘Ordinary.) Social Divisions. F. J. In Payne. L. Sociology. (2011) Is Social Mobility Really Declining? Intergenerational Class Mobility in Britain in the 1990s and the 2000s. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Sociological Research Online. Cambridge: Polity Press. Savage et al. Scott. Bottero. (2006) ‘Class and stratification’. (Ed. W. (1992) An invitation to     reflexive sociology. P. ambivalent and defensive: class identities in the North-West of England’. 35(4): 875-92.References  Bourdieu. (2005) Stratification: Social Division and Inequality. Abingdon: Routledge. . G. 16(3) 4.

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