Sociologists look at stratification to study the reasons for social divisions in society and their effect. Sociologists speak of stratification as an analytical tool that helps one to understand society and explain the inequalities that arise within it. Class is a social stratum whose members share certain economic, social or cultural characteristics. Sociologists typically use a system of social stratification in the UK based on class. Britain is said to be an open class system meaning that people are able to move up and down class groups the term social mobility is used to describe moving in either direction from your ascribed class, that is the class of your parents. In other societies such as India it can be based on the caste system. This is a closed system because the social mobility I have described is not possible. This is referred to as social closure. Class can be measured objectively by measuring a person’s occupation or subjectively by what class the person perceives themselves to be in. Over the last part of the 20th century there have been many changes in the UK. With the de-industrialisation of Britain and the government policy in the 1980’s to create a property owning democracy sociologists have had to reconsider how to measure class and social mobility. A sociologist who has always seen class as fundamental to the analysing of a society is Karl Marx. Marx believed that there are two classes of people in our capitalist society. The bourgeoisie, who own the means of production, have the main goal of maximising profit. The proletariat only own their labour which they sell to the bourgeoisie in exchange for wages. Marx believed that the bourgeoisie maximised their profit by keeping the wages of the proletariat in check and therefore oppressing them and affecting their chances in life creating a conflict of interest between the two classes. Marx put a lot of emphasis onto the economy which he referred to as the...
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