Class Consciousness essay
Social inequality is a structural aspect of modern life. In order to understand the necessity of being (or not) class conscious, I’d like to explain modern social structure. Social classes are distinguished by wealth, power and prestige. Nowadays sociologists offer different criteria of class discerning. Although there may be numerous variants, it’s important to understand that there are only 3 main classes: rich, prosperous and poor. Minor classes appear on the basis of major ones. Personally I think that class inequality will always take place as a characteristic feature of any society. According to personal values, one may strive to improve his welfare standards, social status, political power, etc. Today creative people, working in the sphere of culture, education, science and business, form a new social class, which defines prosperity and power of urban areas (R. Florida, 2004). Places with greater concentration of talented professionals are likely to become more prosperous and developed.
Class conscious people want to gain higher position in society. I keep to the point that ambitions make us move further. The highest social class includes generations of born aristocrats, who saved up a glut of wealth. Class struggle is a driving force of history. People striving for better life are able to accomplish success some time. People manage to occupy higher positions in industry, business and politics, not being aristocrats by birth. Typical representatives of this class are professional sportsmen and musicians. High-middle class consists of petty bourgeoisie and high-paid lawyers, famous doctors, actors and TV commentators. Middle class includes people of intelligent professions, like teachers, managers, etc. They define the basis of informative society and consumers’ service. I should admit that middle class guarantees economic, political and social stability. It is the main support of existing power. Lower class is accordingly wage laborers, low-paid non-professionals. Sociologists also define the lowest class, consisting of slum inhabitants, unemployed, beggars and other representatives of underworld.
The importance of each social class differs in conformity with historic epoch. I am not a class conscious person. Even though I try to accomplish success in life, I don’t care much about social class. Ambitious ideas are not appropriate for everybody. If all of us move forward to a higher social class, than who would do physical labor. Despite hard living conditions, working-class people always occupied relevant position in society. Economic structure undoubtedly controls and defines people’s outlook and activity. The system of important life values is also based on money to some extent. In this way I used to think that social class absolutely depends on financial position. “If I become rich and gain steady income, I’ll overcome the gap between lower and higher classes” - some people think like this. In reality not only wealth and professional status define social class. It is influenced by many factors. For example, bankers would never be related with lower class, but at the same time they not always represent higher class. Welfare often fails to guarantee social position. There is something more important.
Each class may seem proper and equitable, if a person is satisfied with life. Lower and higher classes have different rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities. The system of values allows people to move up and down the social ladder. Nowadays social mobility is a usual thing. Rich people may become poor and vice versa. But it doesn’t mean that they would be able to behave according to their new social status. A person should possess certain characteristic features and be able to socialize with “proper people” in order to be accepted in a new social class. A profession, welfare, income, family, close friends, clubs, manners, speech - all these factors distinguish social status. That’s why I think that even if someone doesn’t accept his social class and tries to move forward, they should consider numerous things to change. In order to merge with a new social class, one has to care about appropriate behavior.