How Do Classes Differ in Their Identities and Cultures?

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Tittle: How do classes differ in their identities and cultures?

Class is a large-scale grouping of people who share common economic resources, which strongly influences the lifestyles they are able to lead (Gidden, 2009, p.437). Differences in lifestyles are based on two factors. First is identity which means how we define ourselves and how other people see us (Sociology Review, 2003, p.2) while the second is culture which is the collection of ideas and habits that people learn, share and transmit from generation to generation (Haralambos and Holborn, 2004, p.818). Class identify is actively created through cultural processes and they interact with each other to shape the features of class. This essay will discuss how classes differ in their identities and cultures. After first claiming the changes of categories of class, it will then discuss the differences of identities and cultures in four hierarchical classes respectively. Finally it will summarise these diversities and predict the trend of these characteristics in the future.

The discussion about social class can be traced back to 100 years ago when Marx put forward the idea that class could be divided into bourgeoisie and proletariat according to the relationships to the means of production. With the rise of middle class after the Industrial Revolution, Marx’s view could not be applied to the society any more. There appear different perspectives about how to categorise class such as Weberian theory and post-modernism. In modern society, class is usually divided into 4 hierarchies: upper class, middle class, working class and under class.

First of all, although upper class only forms a minority of the population, they have a strongly exclusive culture. It is common for families to link through a commercial partnership or marriage since they hold a desire to maintain historical traditions and customs. Bourdieu regards this traditional culture as ‘legitimate culture’,which involves an appreciation...
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