Sociological Theory Essay

1335 words - 5 pages

It is a theme in sociology to discover where and why there are social inequalities, either as a result of class stratification, gender, race, and/or a combination of these factors. Theorist cannot explore, or even attempt to, discuss all of the issues so they develop explanations that, at times, coincide with one another. In dealing with the relationship between two conceptualized ideas, oppression/inequality and individualist/liberal ideology, theorist seem to focus on the cause and effect association that structures these ideas. Focusing on four theorist and their ideas for the production of these relationships we will discover how they intertwine and build on each person’s understanding of one topic, and show how it can branch to cover others, or expose the deficiencies and provide a new perception of the societal structure. After the examinations and suggestions made on how to make the communities we live in more inclusive of those who feel, and in fact are, oppressed there are no remedies that can cure the plague of society’s inequalities/oppressions, and whether they are evidence of individualist/liberal ideology does not matter.
In T.H. Marshall’s “Citizenship and Social Class” he assesses the reasons for social inequality by examining the structure and definition of citizenship. He defends his argument by investigating the origin of citizenship in English history. In the beginning of his theory Marshall defines the individual pieces that produce citizenship; civil rights, political rights, and social rights. Civil rights are “the rights necessary for individual freedom-liberty of the person; freedom of speech, thought, and faith” (Marshall 1995 [1965]. p.94); political rights give permission to be a member of the political community, mayor, governor, etc., and/or exercising the individual vote; social rights is a person’s right to receive “economic welfare and security to the right to share…the social heritage” (Marshall 1995 [1965]. p.94). Marshall explains that in the past these rights were one “institution” and the fusion of these rights were exclusively based on the individual class status.
In chronological order, according to Marshall, the concept of civil rights was the first to be severed from the fused institution in the eighteenth century (Marshall 1995 [1965].p.96). Civil rights rose from the removal of assigned occupations based on “social classes” (Marshall 1995 [1965].p.97) and open up the economic playing field for persons that were held under oppression from “local and group monopolies” and the “ Elizabethan Statute of Artificers”, which is explained earlier as the assignment of occupations based on class (Marshall 1995 [1965].p.97). The attitudes towards these monopolies were perceived as an economical threat for individuals to improve their socioeconomic status, challenging the civil rights definition of liberty. That threat fueled a movement toward the explicit definition of civil rights and the annulment from the...

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