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Social Class


The effects of social class can be felt anywhere. Almost every aspect of society is influenced in some manner by social class. The magazines one reads, the television shows one watches, and the clothes a person buys affect social class. School, work, religious, and home lives are also linked to the influence of social classes. Schools and the workplace are greatly influenced by social class. The look of employment is changing because workers can no longer expect to work their way up through a company. Many companies look outside of the company for people with the right educational background instead of hiring from within. This greatly limits the potential for advancement of workers who lack formal education. For people to move up in the social hierarchy, they must obtain higher education. Instead of spending years at a lower level position, people are spending more time in school and moving directly into management. Thus the change in the workplace influences the educational system.

Social class also plays a part in families, especially in the development of children. Youth are often taught to fit in with their social class, thus developing a personality that correlates with social status. Educational systems can help or hinder the prospect of social mobility. Although many teachers work hard to ensure against favoritism, this is not always possible, partly because of the stigma attached to social class. Teachers may give special opportunities to certain groups. They may also wrongly anticipate the knowledge or potential of specific classes of children. For example, children from high-class families are sometimes viewed as being more intelligent than those from lower social classes. Sometimes more attention will be invested in the children who have more knowledge attributed to them. The idea that upper-class children are smarter has been passed down throughout the ages, but there is no conclusive evidence to back it up. In fact, lower-class children do not have lower IQ scores than upper-class children as previously suspected. This means there must be a glitch in the system somewhere because a greater number more of high social class children are going on to college and getting jobs with advancement potential while lower-class children are in positions without hope of advancement. The lack of money in lower social classes may contribute to the problem, but the presence of social class in the educational system may be contributory as well. Thus it is vital to study how the effects of social class are entering into classrooms and helping to determine the future of children.

Social class is often used when researching children. Despite its frequent use, it is difficult to use social class as a reliable variable. The lack of a consistent definition is one of the reasons. Each researcher uses a different definition of social class, thus making it difficult to study it as a variable across research. Not only does the definition of social class cause a problem, so does measuring it. Once again there is not a specific assessment process used universally. The reporting of social class contributes to the lack of reliability as well. Since social class is often self-reported, it is difficult to assure the accuracy of the information collected. Even if the data is accurate, social classes are not the same in each region or city. What constitutes upper class in one location may be middle class in another. The lack of consistency involved in researching social class accounts for the difficulty in using it as a reliable variable.

Additional topics

Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 7Social Class - Categories, Measurement, Effects - Conclusion