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SOCIOLOGY – ASSIGNMENT 2
‘‘An individual’s social class identity is of major significance in influencing his/her cultural behaviour in today’s society’’. Explain and critically assess this view, illustrating your answers with reference to sociological theory, concepts and research.
Social classes are groups of people who share similar economic positions based on wealth, income and occupation. The traditional structure of social class can be divided into three categories; working class, middle class and upper class. Coming from a Marxist perspective, Bourdieu (1971) argued that each social class has its own cultural framework and set of ideas which he called a ‘habitus’ and therefore cultural behaviour will be influenced according to the social class habitus they have learned during socialisation (Browne, K. pg52. 2008). Individuals can be socialised into particular classes for reasons such as, what school they attend, their pier group, occupation and leisure activities, just to name a few. Social class, however is open to change and in the last two decades there has been an emergence of the ‘underclass’ and the ‘new working class’ and postmodernists would argue that social structures have become fragmented and have become much less important in influencing how people think and act (S, Taylor. Pg14. 1999).
The working class is one of the largest social classes and refers to those working in manual jobs like coal miners and factory workers. Being from a working class background can certainly be a major significance in influencing cultural behaviour as the workplace is an important factor in shaping people’s identity. Traditional working class tend to be part of a close knit community, possess a very strong sense of their economic and class position and have a very ‘them’ versus ‘us’ attitude which can be related to the Marxists viewpoint...