Social Inequality Essay

Published: 2017-11-28 15:40:31
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George Washington University
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Interview Assignment on Social Inequality

Having gone through what social inequality is, I was assigned to carry out an interview with one of the victims of social inequality. This interview was meant to give me a deeper understanding on the form of social inequality under investigation. I decided to carry out an investigation on class inequality since this form of inequality cuts across gender and race. Generally, society can be stratified into different classes ranging from upper, middle and lower. On my side, am privileged to belong to the middle class, the most popular class in most societies. Taking this into consideration, I decided that my interviewee should either be from the upper or lower classes, so that I can get to understand this form of social inequality from another perspective. So I settled for someone from the lower class as this is the class which is viewed to have many challenges in society. My interviewee and I belonged to the same gender and age bracket, thus this made him very comfortable to share his experience with me. The interview was recorded. 

Social inequality can be defined as a condition where people are exposed to unequal opportunities depending on their social positions in a society. Society is normally stratified which implies that it is subdivided into smaller groupings arranged in hierarchical form (Butler & Watt, 2007). However, it should be clear that the stratification is a societal characteristic, not individual, and can be carried over generations. There are many systems of social stratification such as slavery, caste system and the class system. Of the three, class system is the most common and is based on the individuals’ access to things such as property, wealth, power and prestige. Sociologically, the class system is referred to as the socioeconomic status, because it combines both social and economic factors. As I asked my questions, my interviewee was easy and ready to share his experience with me. Since he belonged to the lower class, he told me he had to work extra harder to overcome many obstacles in order to change his socioeconomic status. Butler & Watt, 2007 assert that fortunately, for this form of social inequality, you can change your status unlike those other forms where you cannot change your race or gender. 

Social stratification essay

Social stratification in society can easily be explained by Karl Marx’s theory of the “haves” and the “have nots”. According to Marx, there are two main classes in society: the capitalists or bourgeoisie and the workers or proletariat. The capitalists owned the means of production while the workers sold their labor to earn a living. Marx used his theory to describe a capitalist society where individuals are only concerned about their own success. When incorporating this theory into society, the capitalists are found at the upper class with full possession of wealth, power and prestige. Butler & Watt (2007) explain that the other two classes (middle and lower) are classified as the workers who have to work for the capitalists for their survival. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the middle class have greater access to opportunities as compared to the lower class. Luckily, an individual is not condemned to stay in the socioeconomic status they are born in forever as they can move out of it through things such as education or marriage. 

Moving from one societal class to the other is termed as social mobility. Those who are born into the upper class in society tend to always have it easy in life because their access to opportunities is easy (Butler & Watt, 2007). They are taken to the best schools and hospitals in the world, and they will never sleep hungry. As such, they tend to stay comfortable and in most cases are nurtured in a way to maintain the status quo. On the contrary, those of the lower classes in society have to work extra harder so as to get access to such opportunities. For instance, a child of the lower class can only get access to the best schools if they perform exceptionally well in school and are awarded a scholarship. Critics though have come out to dispute claims that anyone can attain material success if they work hard simply because society does not expose us to equal opportunities. Therefore, it is only fare if those in governance can make grounds favorable for the less privileged in society to compete equally with the privileged. 

Essay about social inequality

In conclusion, I have really learnt a lot from the interview process, having had it with someone of a different social status from mine. First, it was made clear that being a member of a certain social class has weighty consequences for individuals in all aspects of life (Butler & Watt, 2007). I was really proud of my interviewee because he did not seem to be weighed down with his social status. He vividly stated that though he was born into the lowest ranking class in society, his aim was to change the status quo. From this I learnt that attitude plays a very important role when it comes to success or failure of individuals in society. There are those who pity themselves and accept to stay in their status quo though unpleasant, and there are those who fight against all odds to better themselves.  

References

Butler, T. & Watt, P. (2007). Understanding Social Inequality. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.                            

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