Social describe class as “dead”, this came from a

Social identity and
class are both very complex things, and are known as the view in which society
and economics is structured. Social class is much wider than the
possessions and money that one has, when we think of class we also have to
consider social and cultural features. Each social class have their own set of values,
there own special identities, habits and lifestyles.

A numerous amount of
sociologist argues the fact that class, has lost its touch when it comes to the
meaning of identity, some even describe class as “dead”, this came from a
reference in the book ‘the death of class’ which was written by Jan Pakulski (Pakulski and Waters 1996). Throughout the post war era the working class
documentation were redirected in organisations such as the Labour Party and
trade unions. Loads of these organizations were mainly dominated by men. Voting
favourites is a key indicator, when assessing the occurrence of class
identification. During the 1990’s the Labour Party tried to remove any association
with the fact that they were working class and instead they were looking for a
more middle class social background. This still applies in the contemporary
society today- under the sovereignty of the New Labour.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now


With social class identify
we are socialised into our individual classes and lifestyles through our
parents from an early stage in our lives. We also learn to identify members of
our own social class and become conscious of the transformations that separate
us from other social classes (prezi 2016). Social identity, is ways in
which certain individual describes themselves, the resemblances
an individual has with another, the standards in which one
distinguishes or undertakes everyday behaviour, the ways in
which an individual has knowledge to behave within a
stereotypical social setting. All these ethics severely affect the way in
which individuals respond and behave to the world around
them. Whereas most sociologist use one’s profession
to determine where individuals shall sit on the hierarchy
of social class. By people
having different social classes and by them following different social identities,
as well as the different social identities that they are
around, they are then able to set their own values and choose how and where
they would like to live. 


All individuals have
their own personal identity, as it is determined by the individual’s
perception of themselves, this is then related to gender, ethnicity
and class. It is argued that class has an influential
impact on one’s identity. According to sociologist John Scott “upper class people maintain their class position, and gain a sense
of collective upper class identity through such things as education,
inter-marriage, and social / leisure activities”. (Capitalist Property and Financial Power, John Scott, Brighton, Wheatsheaf, 1986) Children that are born into
upper class families tend to be more privileged when it comes to aspects such
as education; they usually end up at the top school with many of them attending
top prestigious universities, and with most of them ending up with positions of
power and inspiration.  The exclusive
lifestyle that those within the upper class live means that the younger
generation base their experiences and socialisation with member of the same
class as them. Those from an upper class background are more inclined into
marrying someone from the same class as them, and as time goes on they are more
likely to develop connections between other upper class families. Throughout their socialisation the younger generation that belongs
to the upper class status, are more familiarized to the high-class social
events such as golf, hunting or going to watch tennis at the Wimbledon etc. These
social circumstances provide a unique upper class lifestyle; they also specify
a circuit where further connections can be made. 


Unlike the upper class, those
who belong to the middle class status are more open to people who are not from
the same class as them. This is because they may have come from a lower
background such as the working class and have done a lot to achieve the middle
class status. This means that the social background of an individual who comes
from the middle class background are disintegrated so they may have far more
little in common which in turn means that have a shared culture and identity
may not be immediately visibly  .


French Marxist, Pierre Bourdieu suggested that
public schools are merely based on a middle class establishment, meaning that
is run by middle class educators, as it has a benefit on middle class
students.  Bourdieu argued that
knowledge, language and behaviour is all something that is defined through
middle class professional, as what goes on in school there was only a few
things that the considered to be acceptable. He also stated that the home
experiences of middle class status children specify them with the right and
wrong values, the right and wrong way to speak and the right and wrong
knowledge. These are all factors that have to be considered while interacting
with children that are from a middle class family. (Haralambos, M., & Holborn, M. (2004). Sociology – Themes and Perspectives (sixth
ed.). London: HarperCollins Publishers Limited).


It is also argued by some sociologist that the middle
class place a very high value on the ideas of careers. Meaning that they have
more of a drive on achieving a secure job, within the job they will mostly have
opportuneness of promotions and they have a reasonable pay. In order for this
to happen individual try an achieve the highest and most qualifications as they
can, this is done through self-motivation and encouragement from one’s parents.
Once the individual has a job they are most likely to work to their full
potential and become very work-orientated. It has also been stated that the
middle class are more involved in leisure activities and are generally more
active than those in the working class status. Those who belong to the middle
class are more likely to go on holiday, play sports, visit places like the
theatre, the museum and the country side etc.(Staff, S. T. (2009). Sunday Times Rich List 2009.
Retrieved 24 02, 2010, from Times online:


Furthermore, the commercial basis for class identity and
harmony have weakened for the working class, this is because the heavy manual
jobs are decreasing, making room for the new and more modern forms of work that
are now around. Now despite all of this, there are still a few things that
branch the class together in order to create a form of identity.  Despite a decline in numbers of routine and
semi-routine workers within the UK, a majority of people are still identified
under the working class. 60% of people identify themselves as working class,
whereas 40% comprehend themselves to be middle class. This proportion has not
changed since 1983(when 60% of people considered themselves to be working
class). 47% of those individual’s
jobs classified as managerial and professional consider themselves working
class. ( (2018). British Social Attitudes | NatCen Social Research. online
Available at:


Many sociologists have forbidden the idea that class is one of the
main causes of individual identities are being shaped in certain ways. Their statement
is that the only significant factors are what actually defines contemporary
society today, has actually no longer got nothing to do with occupation and
class, but more about identities increasingly being founded upon routine and
consumption.  Pakulski and waters say that the major sources of social and
personal identity are people’s individual lifestyles, which are less likely to
be based on social class. In current time today lifestyles and individual
identities are a lot more adaptable and diverse then they used to be. They are
established based of individual’s preferences rather than their class.
Postmodern sociologist support this as they state that identities are much more
adjustable as people tend to pick and mix with their identities either way. They
also state that consumer culture has taken over the class culture as the main
influencer of identity today. (Jan Pakulski,
Malcolm Waters (1996). The
death of class. SAGE Publications Ltd )


postmodernist sociologist Jan Pakulski and Malcom waters had an idea that
social class was no longer important within modern Britain. They stated that “It
is simply, for us, an obvious truth that class can no longer give us purchase
on the big social, political and cultural issues of the age” (Jan Pakulski, Malcolm
Waters (1996). The death of
class. SAGE Publications Ltd page 7). There main argument was that within
the late 20th century Britain had changed into a more status
conventional society, and they were starting to migrate away from the normal
tradition economic class society that has been defining industrial Britain in
previous history. The United Kingdoms status society was based of cultural
factors rather than economic differences. This was based of four main features:


which was a lamination based upon lifestyle.

Which showed that different people have diverse statuses based upon their
membership of different groups.

Individuals are independent on their morals and performances, and estimates
cannot be made on one’s class background or any other characteristics.

is where one’s identity is smooth and they regularly alter what they view as
important. (Michael Haralambos
(2008). Sociology Themes and


within this present time, are becoming more and more defined by their lifestyle
decision, an example of this football fans, they are a united ground as they
all share the same common interest and identity, but they also may all come
from a variety of different backgrounds. Within pakulski and water book ‘death
of class’;
the contract of governments and unions had abridged the influence of class
relationships as well as the development of welfare states that: “educational and professional
skills have become more important than social class regarding job
opportunities; property ownership has become more shared out, making it less of
a source of power; a broader scattering of wealth means more people are
consuming beyond necessity”(Jan Pakulski, Malcolm
Waters (1996). The death of
class. SAGE Publications Ltd)



I'm Josephine!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out