Social class (from Latin classis) is a sociological concept used in sociology and political science. A social class is a group in a society that has similar socio-economic conditions. In traditional societies legal rights may also differ between groups.
In the Western tradition the concept of class was aimed originally at the six departments in which the Roman people were divided on the basis of certain political and social differences.
Students writing their research papers on the topic have to know that the class identification in sociology is a subjective category based on the individual’s own perception of what social class he perceives to belong. Within social science researchers makes sometimes a distinction between objective and subjective class.
The notion of the objective class refers to the classification of people made based on parameters such as education, income and background. Subjective class depends however on the basis of a person’s perception of social class. According to this division, a person can therefore objectively belong to a upper-middle class, but subjectively consider himself to belong to the working class.
The idea of the class occurs mainly in the Marxist world views, where the objective is to abolish the classes to create a classless society (communism). The German philosopher Karl Marx argued that class membership is not determined by the standard of living, but by the role the individual has in the economic system, that is, either you are an employer (capitalist) who owns the means of production or a worker who does not have the same means. The former group in society was regarded as the bourgeoisie and the latter as working class. The approaches to achieve the target differs between groups. The two main methods are revolutionary and reformist socialism. After the workers’ movements parties in Europe was split into a reformist and revolutionary branch, the old social democratic parties came to approach the reformist socialism. Today, the left reformism parties are focusing instead on protecting the lower classes welfare and try to iron out differences within the framework of the capitalist economic system. In Sweden this has been called for functional socialism, which does not intend to change the power or class structures of society. The revolutionary branch came to consist mainly of communist parties but social democratic parties, such as the Norwegian Labor Party and the Finnish Social Democrats, were represented as well.
Most other ideologies, such as conservatism and liberalism, do not such analysis because they are not doing their analysis of society by the same material conditions. Christian Democrats, for example, believe that all people have an equal and inviolable human dignity. According to these, one can not divide people into classes, but there are vulnerable people who need support and help, and those who strive to create the common good.
Use free example research papers on social class to learn more on the topic.
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