¤Virtual University Of Pakistan Network¤
SEMESTER SPRING 2012
Cultural Anthropology (SOC401)
No More Existence of Social Class
In recent years, there has been a vigorous debate about the usefulness of ‘class.’ Some theorists, such as Ray Pahl, have even questioned whether it is still a useful concept in attempting to understand contemporary societies. Australian academics Jan Pakulski and Malcolm Waters have been prominent amongst those who argue that class is no longer the key to understanding the contemporary societies. In their book, The Death of Class, they argue that contemporary societies have undergone profound social changes and are no longer to be accurately seen as ‘class societies.’
A time of social change
Pakulski and Waters argue that industrial societies are now undergoing a period of tremendous social change. We are witnessing a period when the political, social and economic importance of class is in decline. Industrial societies have exchanged from being organized class societies to a new stage which Pakulski and Waters call ‘status conventionalism’ in which they argue that inequalities although they remain, are the result of differences in status and in the lifestyle and consumption patterns favored by such status groups. Class is no longer an important factor in a person’s identity and class communities.
The changes have been accompanied by an increase in consumer power. In even more competitive and diverse markets, firms have to be much more sensitive in heeding the wishes of consumers. There has thus been a shift in the balance of power in advanced industrial societies. What makes out the unprivileged in contemporary society what Pakulski and Waters refer to as an ‘ascriptively dispreviliged underclass’ is their inability to engage in ‘status consumption’ which is to say, their inab ility to buy cars, cloths, houses, holidays and other consumer goods. For Pakulski and Waters, contemporary societies are stratified but this stratification is achieved through cultural consumption, not class position in the division of labor.
In the light of above theoretical explanation of social class given by Pakulski and Waters, answer the following questions:
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Question No. 1:
Is social class, as Pakulski and Waters argue, really dead?
Social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences centered on models of social stratification in which people are grouped into social categories. The term social class is usually synonymous with socio-economic class. It is a status hierarchy in which individuals and groups are classified on the basis of esteem and prestige acquired mainly through economic success and accumulation of wealth.
I personally do agree with Pakulski and Waters concept that social class is dead in the context of high, middle and low class. Because many years ago, share holders were considered as the only high class persons due to their high business and wealth but in this age middle class is also capable to buy shares and keep their business in progress.
The common stratum model of class divides society into a simple hierarchy of working class, middle class and upper class. On the basis of work and workplace changes produced in the society. The upper class have ownership and control over other lower and working class society. So, the concept given by the Pakulski and Water about the death of social class along with social change is held true.
According to Karl Marx in all stratified societies there are two major social groups: a ruling class and a subject class. The ruling class always derives its power from its ownership and control over the forces of production. The ruling class exploits the subject class by using their power. Conflict theories assume that it is the natural tendencies of all societies to move towards change and conflict. Conflict theorists believe that stratification exists because the upper classes strive to maintain their superior position at the expense of the lower classes. As a result conflict is produced between the two classes (upper class and middle class). We also know that if some group has not the capacity to consume and get something than disturbance will be created and it also creates violence. This is the conflict concept in class structure.
Karl Marx defines a class as a group of those individuals who share similar position in economy of the market and by virtue of that fact these individuals receive similar economic rewards. Thus we can say that a person's class situation is basically his market situation. Those individuals who share a similar class situation also share similar life chances.
is ko copy nhi krna just idea lena hai :P
3rd Question main apny comments likhny hain