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Social Structure And Its Effect On Our Lives

1982 words - 8 pages

Social Structure and Its Effect On Our Lives

Social structures are constraints that affect the lives of both the affluent and the indigent members of society.  Each society has its own set of social arrangements for example; class, gender and ethnicity are all constraints that each society has to deal with in one way or another.  One of the most fundamental of the social structures would be class.  Class structure is found in all societies and is the key source of economical inequality.  Members of different class groups start their lives with unequal opportunities.  This means that when someone is born into a poor household   they will undoubtedly remain in the same economical situation they began in.  Gender is another important issue when regarding structures.  For years women have struggled to be accepted into the workforce and although there have been many improvements on the treatment of female employees there is still a long way to go to reach equal opportunities.  Ethnicity has a strong bearing on what we can achieve in life by greatly affecting our place in the labour market.  Although Australia is a multicultural society life chances for Australia's own migrants are still less than adequate when it comes to being treated fairly in the workforce.

Social structure is created by the distribution of wealth, power and prestige.  The social structure consists of taken for granted beliefs about the world and both constrain and regulate human actions.  The social structure consists of substructures such as class, gender and ethnicity.  These groups are formed within society; each group shares common attitudes, values, social norms, lifestyle and material goods.  People within society stay within the guidelines of the social structures they are born into, be it rich or poor, male or female, young or old.  

Class structure determines our life chances and is arguably the most important of all social structures, providing the basic structure of all modern societies.  According to McGregor (1989) class is the main cause of inequality and social injustice in Australia.  The prime explanation for this is that members of different class groups begin their lives with unequal opportunities, this affects the education they will receive, the social connections they will make and even the way they speak and behave.  McGregor also argues that the class one belongs to is determined by many factors, these include; power, family background, wealth, lifestyle, mannerisms, social interactions, and employment. Class can be separated into three categories, upper class, middle class and lower class.

According to Abercrombie (2000) the upper class is distinguished from the rest by its wealth and power.  The upper class consists of very few people; McGregor argues that it may be as little 1% of society's population.  The people in this group are employers, they own large quantities of land, and some are self-employed or have a career as managers or...

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