Sociologists tend to agree that social class is still important in today’s society. It gives us the ability to obtain an education and a good job. However there is much less consent on how much social class affects our life chances or choices. It can be said that we have all become middle class now since we all share similar norms and values and many “working” class jobs have become middle class since they require a high amount of skill and now receive at least the average middle class wage.
This has left the majority of people with a lot of disposable income which has led to the requirement of us spending a lot of money on consumption products. This disposable income is what helps give people better life chances for them and their children. We no longer realise that someone from the working class background can be far brighter and talented than an upper class member. This gives people an inspiration to reach and overcome the fact that they are from a lower class. If they have extraordinary talent and ability they can be successful and be upgraded from their class.
Whereas it could be argued that we are not all middle class since sociologists still can’t agree on how to measure class and there are still a lot of low paid and low status jobs. Working class children do a lot worse in their exams than middle class because of it. Lack of parental interest and lack of support at home also leaves them with low aspirations. They are often influenced to labelling which often leads to the formation of pupil subcultures, reduced life chances after they leave school as early as possible. Also because we have a multi cultural society people are thought of as more inferior which can lead to racism.
There is also an imaginary division which both working and upper class have created. They have both created a stereotypical point of view for each other which is normally not true. The only reason that both classes act differently is because they have been brought up and have been socialised in a certain way. From this they are programmed to think differently of other classes without being educated. Children from poor income families also tend to end up at poor inner state schools where they are surrounded by other children who also have low aspirations leading to a lack of life chances compared to an upper class school child.
Even if we do accept to there being a larger group of middle class there is still a huge difference from the top to the bottom. We have also got another conspiracy that the gender or sex you are has a lot of importance. In our society it is now quite normal for women to work and get paid the same wages as men. But a few years back this idea was frowned upon and even if women did work there was a huge difference between the wages they got compared to men. People do not realise that women have qualities which can be very useful in certain jobs.
Such as the job of a secretary, this is mostly over dominated by women. This might be because of the fact that women have better organising skills. In another example the job of fire-fighters is over dominated by men as they are physically and emotionally stronger than women. Things have improved if compared to the situation of women’s rights in society many years ago but there is still prejudice and discrimination in some areas. In conclusion social class has ceased to be the primary shaper of identity and that people can choose who they want to be, especially in terms of consumption and lifestyle.
They neglect the fact that life choices and consumption depend on educational achievements, the jobs we have and the income we earn. But the working class are obviously less likely to qualify on all of this for this kind of lifestyle. Also the majority of the working class are well aware of the fact that it is their social class more than anything else that is holding them back from making choices that the middle class and upper usually take for granted.