Social class refers to the system of stratification of the different groups of people in a society. These different forms of classification are, in most instances, based on gender ethnicity and age. Social class makes everyone’s lives extremely different. For example: How long one can expect to live. In a wide range of ways, from success, to one’s health class, social class influences people’s lives (Grusky,2003).
Among the life chances affected as result of social class involve factors such as: How long people live (life expectancy), how healthy people are, how much and what they eat, the kind of housing they live in, the level of education they reach and the qualifications they achieve, how likely they are to be unemployed or to be made redundant, their chances of being injured or even killed at work, the money they can spend on both necessities and luxuries, how often they can take a holiday, and, their chances of being victims of crimes.
The Upper Class
The kind of social class that a person will belong to is highly determined by the level of income one gets. The higher the income one has, the higher the social class one will belong to. In a normal society the highest social class is the upper class. This consists mainly of the landowning aristocracy, the pop aristocracy, the royal family, and the entrepreneurs. Some of these members of the upper class achieve their status by virtue of birth. For example, by belonging to the royal family one automatically belongs to the upper class. Other people in this social class achieve this status by virtue of social mobility. For example, by being an artist extraordinaire and making record sales, one can be propelled
from the working or middle classes to the upper class (Grusky,2003).
The Middle Class
The next class is the middle class. This is generally the largest class and in it are the upper middle class, the lower middle class and the petty bourgeoisie. The upper middle class consists of managers and professionals, while the lower middle class is made up of clerks, office workers, telephone sales and shop workers. These jobs are usually not very well paying and do not require very high qualifications. The petty bourgeoisie on the other hand are small business owners. This group may consist of people who may own a workshop or shop and may be employing a small number of people.
The Working Class
This class, like the middle class, consists of sub-groups of people. These include the skilled, the semi-skilled and unskilled workers. Social mobility has, however, affected the number of people in this class. Many people born in this class have been able to rise to the middle class, and as a result, there exists a case of embourgeoisement.
According to the Marxist view, this is the class of people who are detrimental to the fate of the entire class system. He stated that these people were supposed to unite and overthrow capitalism. However, this is not what has occurred.