Social New Labour. With social class identify we

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
consideration towards social and cultural characters also have to be made. Each
social class have their own set of values, their own special characteristics,
habits and lifestyles.

A numerous amount of sociologist
argue that class has lost its touch, this is 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.

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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 factors 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:


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 )


Furthermore, 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:

-Culturalism which was a
lamination based upon lifestyle.

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

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

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


Individuals 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)


On the contrary, Karl Marx
has a different belief, he believed that class was one of the highest
importance within modern society. During the 19th century Marx
constructed his theory of class while Britain’s society was working through the
industrial revolution, his theory he was only exploring a new type of society,
called the industrial capitalism (Woodward 2004 page 105). Karl Marx, stated that were only two types
of groups within society- bourgeoisie (the ruling class) and proletariat (the
subject class). These two groups were constantly battle with each other,
therefore making Marx’s theory known as the conflict theory (Anthony Giddens (2006), sociology
Themes and Perspectives. 5th ed.). These
categories of society were purely founded of ownership and power, in order for
the bourgeoisie to rise their income and to defend their welfare they would
exploit the proletariats. Karl Marx set forward an idea of shared class
identity, this is where social relations were controlled by economic
arrangements, meaning that there was a division among the working class and the
upper class. The barriers that were put up, prevented communication amongst the
class which lead to reduced understanding between the two classes which then
lead to disagreements, this then created a great difference between the social
groups as they were no longer seeing eye to eye. Furthermore, Karl Marx then
stated that there would be three possible major changes within society: this
were class difference, deskilling of the workforce and maintenance of low wages
and high levels of unemployment. He believed the differences between classes
would develop into something more intense, an example of this, national
corporations would continue to grown and thus making the working class
impoverished. This would then create more jobs where skills are not required
“the deskilling of the workforce”, the rapid growth with technology will then
push more jobs onto unskilled workers, making the growth of the working class
increase. Due to all of these jobs being made, a economic crisis will rise-
which is deemed unavoidable. This is purely all linked to the fact that
capitalism is unpredictable and the system itself is also unpredictable.


In conclusion, social class is
still an element which is still dominant within modern Britain today. It can be
argued by individuals that being born into a privileged family gives individual
enhanced chances in life due to being positioned within a high economic power,
but others believe other factors are more important while gaining chances in
life. Those individuals that are wealthier, tend to live in environments with
enhanced health care services, better schooling and improved leisure services.

All these factors associate with enhanced life possibilities. Those who suffer
from different genders, ages, ethnicities, religions or those who suffer from
disabilities-class will always play a significant part within their day to day
lives. Individuals don’t all have the same privileges, and some are not so
lucky to have wealth served to them on a silver plate, which then goes on to
decide their class, I believe it quite unfair how an individuals background
determines their class. Money does not go on trees, but it does make the money
go around, so if working to pay your bills, get by in life, and just feel
comfortable buts you in a category where “upper class “looks down upon the
“working class “then is the world really equal, especially in modern Britain?
Or are we just being programmed to believe that?