SADIA FAYYAZ ABBASI
CLASS CONFLICTS AND INEQUALITIES
SIR ABDUL RASHEED
CLASS CONFLICTS AND INEQUALITIES
WHAT IS CLASS?
Social class refers to a group of people with similar levels of wealth, influence, and status.
WHAT IS MEANT BY A CLASS ACCORDING TO SOCIOLOGY?
A social class is a group of people of similar status, commonly sharing comparable levels of power and wealth. In sociology, social classes describe one form of social stratification.
TYPES OF SOCIAL CLASSES OF PEOPLE:
Sociologists typically use three methods to determine social class:
The objective method measures and analyzes “hard” facts.
The subjective method asks people what they think of themselves.
The reputational method asks what people think of others.
Results from these three research methods suggest that in the United States today approximately
15 to 20 percent are in the poor, lower class.
30 to 40 percent are in the working class.
40 to 50 percent are in the middle class.
1 to 3 percent is in the rich, upper class.
THE LOWER CLASS:
The lower class is typified by poverty, homelessness, and unemployment. People of this class, few of whom have finished high school, suffer from lack of medical care, adequate housing and food, decent clothing, safety, and vocational training. The media often stigmatize the lower class as “the underclass,” inaccurately characterizing poor people as welfare mothers who abuse the system by having more and more babies, welfare fathers who are able to work but do not, drug abusers, criminals, and societal “trash.”
THE WOKING CLASS:
The working class are those minimally educated people who engage in “manual labor” with little or no prestige. Unskilled workers in the class—dishwashers, cashiers, maids, and waitresses—usually are underpaid and have no opportunity for career advancement. They are often called the working poor. Skilled workers in this class—carpenters, plumbers, and electricians—are often called blue collar workers. They may make more money than workers in the middle class—secretaries, teachers, and computer technicians; however, their jobs are usually more physically taxing, and in some cases quite dangerous.
THE MIDDLE CLASS:
The middle class are the “sandwich” class. These white collar workershave more money than those below them on the “social ladder,” but less than those above them. They divide into two levels according to wealth, education, and prestige. The lower middle class is often made up of less educated people with lower incomes, such as managers, small business owners, teachers, and secretaries. The upper middle class is often made up of highly educated business and professional people with high incomes, such as doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, and CEOs.
THE UPPER CLASS:
Comprising only 1 to 3 percent of the United States population, the upper class holds more than 25 percent of the nation’s wealth. This class divides into two groups: lower?upper and upper?upper.
The lower?upper class includes those with “new money,” or money made from investments, business ventures, and so forth.
The upper?upper class includes those aristocratic and “high?society” families with “old money” who have been rich for generations. These extremely wealthy people live off the income from their inherited riches. The upper?upper class is more prestigious than the lower?upper class.
Wherever their money comes from, both segments of the upper class are exceptionally rich. Both groups have more money than they could possibly spend, which leaves them with much leisure time for cultivating a variety of interests. They live in exclusive neighborhoods, gather at expensive social clubs, and send their children to the finest schools. As might be expected, they also exercise a great deal of influence and power both nationally and globally.
WHAT IS CONFLICT?
Meaning of conflict:
a struggle or clash between opposing forces; battle.
a state of opposition between ideas, interests, etc; disagreement or controversy.
a clash, as between two appointments made for the same time.
WHAT IS CLASS CONFLICT?
CONFLICT between different CLASSES in a community resulting from different social or economic positions and reflecting opposed interests.
Also called class war, class warfare. (In Marxist thought) the struggle for political and economic power carried on between capitalists and workers.
Class conflict, frequently referred to as class struggle, is the tension which exists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests and desires between people of different classes. The view that the class struggle provides the lever for radical social change for the majority is central to the work of Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin.
Class conflict can take many different forms:
Direct violence, such as wars fought for resources and cheap labor;
Indirect violence, such as deaths from poverty, starvation, illness or unsafe working conditions;
Coercion, such as the threat of losing a job or the pulling of an important investment; or ideologically, such as with books and articles.
Additionally, political forms of class conflict exist; legally or illegally lobbying or bribing government leaders for passage of desirable partisan legislation including labor laws, tax codes, consumer laws, acts of congress or other sanction, injunction or tariff. The conflict can be direct, as with a lockout aimed at destroying a labor union, or indirect, as with an informal slowdown in production protesting low wages by workers or unfair labor practices by capital.
WHAT IS INEQUALITY?
Meaning of inequality:
The unfair situation in the society when some people have more opportunities, money, etc than other people
A lack of equality or fair treatment in the sharing of wealth or opportunities
A situation in which money and other opportunities are not equally shared between different groups of people in the society
INEQUALITIES BETWEEN COUNTRIES:
Looking at inequality between countries essentially means looking at poverty. Research by internationally renowned experts has shown a strong link between the wealth of a country and the probability of it suffering from civil war.
The risk of civil war is much higher in poor than in rich countries. A country with a GDP per capita of $250 has a 15 percent chance of descending into conflict at some point in the coming five years while, in a country with a GDP of $1250 per person, the chances are less than 4%. It is much cheaper to recruit rebels in a poor country, where wages are low and unemployment high, than in a rich country, where costs are much higher and the state is likely to have more resources to deter a possible rebellion.
There are also inequalities within the country and within the groups in a society.
INEQUALITIES WITHIN THE COUNTRIES:
There are many inequalities within the countries on the basis of different opportunities, money etc.
INEQUALITIES BETWEEN GROUPS:
Horizontal inequalities occur between different ethnic, religious or regional groups.
“When cultural differences coincide with economic and political differences between groups, this can cause deep resentment that may lead to violent struggles.”
Social inequality is a situation in which there can be found differences between individual groups in a society from the point of view of their social groups, social circles or social status. In some parts of the world there are different social groups that do not have the same rights to propriety, vote, freedom of speech, health care or education.
WAYS TO MEASURE SOCIAL INEQUALITIES:
Researches show that inequalities are still present now as well as in the past, but with some minor changes depending on the countries.
The easiest way to measure the differences in social classes is to grade people by their occupation. These differences are:
Differences in earning
Standard of education
Differences in style of dressing
In sociology, the term ‘social class’ is most often used to refer to the primary system of social stratification found in modern capitalist societies. Social stratification refers to ‘the presence in society of distinct social groups which are ranked one above the other in terms of factors such as prestige and wealth’.
The defining feature of a stratified society, then, is that of inequality in terms of the ‘arrangement of individuals in a hierarchy of advantaged and disadvantaged life chances’.
CLASS CONLICTS AND INEQUALITIES:
Social class, which can define one’s position in society, sometimes contributes to a form of conflict for people with socially low status who try to gain rights and equality in society.
This can often been seen in the twentieth century history, such as the movement towards African and Indian independence, where people rebelled in order to create their own government and have better living conditions.
The rise of conflicts due to social inequality happened in all over the world, and consequently, social class difference is integral to the conflict in many examples of Non-Western literature in the twentieth century.
DIFFERENT WAYS OF SOCIAL CONFLICTS:
Sociologists believe that there are four different ways of social conflict. Most sociologists will use the theoretical or perspective approach to help research. There are a multitude of approaches that are used by sociologist but, the mainly stick to three types of theories. The first would be the structural – functional theory, then the social conflict theory, and finally the symbolic interaction theory. Within these three approaches are several more ways to gain research.
INEQUALITY; CAUSE OF SOCIAL COFLICTS:
The social conflict theory tries to show that society creates conflict due to the inequalities that are present in everyday life.
Most sociologists will use the macro level orientation theory simply because it takes society as a whole and shows how it shapes our lives. It uses terms like inequality, power, authority, competition, and exploitation.
ROLE OF AUTHORITY IN SOCIAL CONFLICT:
Some of the examples that would be used in the social conflict theory are authority. Authority takes into account the family, patriarchy, race and ethnicity hierarchies of authority. In inequality there is family, health, and property. Inequality looks at how people are treated and how are perceived by others. Then there is competition which; can be anything from education, religion, to who will move over when you pass someone on the street. Competition is ingrained in all of us from the time we are born until the time we die.
The power and exploitation can go hand in hand. The people that are in power or come to power got that way by exploiting citizens along the way. Power, if not kept in check, will make the honest of men corrupt. Once the corruption sets in they will use that power to exploit people along the way to gain more power.
Karl Marx believed there two groups of people in society, the wealthy and the poor. He studied what would happen if one group decided to up rise against the other. He looks to see what would happen and what roles the people involved would take. Once the sides are chosen and the revolt has begun, Marx will study the inner workings of the dominate class to see how they retain their status after the conflict has ended.
Social conflict can be either used for good or bad. Take any uprising against the local government. In Somalia the people have been fighting their government for equality and fairness. The government themselves are fighting its own people to keep the control or power. All across time there is human uprising against those in power. The earlier battles were fought for land, the later battles are fought for greed, power, and wealth.
Some examples of bad social conflict are the recent increase in school shootings, bombings, and over all violence that is plaguing the country today. Unfortunately the innocent by stander is usually the one getting hurt or killed. This is not just limited to the United States; it is all across the globe. Those that are in power want more power and wealth to control those who are less fortunate.
So, the social conflict theory is about those in power wanting to stay in power and those not in powers wanting to gain power. Throughout time there have been many battles waged in the desire to gain power. It all began with Karl Marx and has evolved over time to incorporate many other theories about crime and what causes it.
There is also the realistic theory; this theory is about one’s group gain, due to another group’s loss. This can be brought on by limited resources, this can lead to conflict. This can lead to more friction within each group when they compete for resources. This theory is a social psychological theory thought to explain prejudice.
An example for this would be immigration. With all the bombings, terrorist attacks, and violence from one ethnic group or religious group. With the recent Boston bombings, this will lead to a negative reaction to all immigrants of Muslim decent. It doesn’t matter if they are of Middle Eastern decent, people will see just the color of their skin and automatically lump them into one category, terrorist.
This theory can be traced back through history. It can be seen with the British and Native Americans, Whites and blacks, Japanese and American, and recently middle eastern and Americans. Most of these conflicts have happened over one ethnicity doesn’t like what the other one believes, whether it is religion, politics, or moral standings.
Muzafer Sherif did the famous study called “Robbers Cave “in 1954. He basically took two groups of teenage boys, put them in a camp, and had them compete against each other. He had 22 boys in the study, all middle class white boys. These boys all came from similar backgrounds and upbringing. He randomly assigned them to a group.
In the first week of the experiment, the two groups bonded with each other. The boys chose group names and stenciled them on their clothing and a flag. They bonded over hiking, swimming, and hanging out. This created and attachment that bonded the boys together.
In the second week he challenged the boys to competitions against the other group. He used activities like, baseball, tug-of-war and other games. The winning group would receive a trophy at the end of the competition. He also included individual prizes to create competition against the other group and within the groups.
The boys became physically, verbally, and mentally abusive towards each other. They burned each other’s flags, tore up sleeping areas, and had to be physically restrained by the researchers. This study showed that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can turn to prejudice.
Then there is the Game Theory which states “investigates the strategic behavior of decision makers who are aware that their decisions affect one another”.
The gaming theory believed that people interacted with each other similar to a game. This was done by strategic moves, winners and losers, rewards and punishments, or profits and cost. It was the first model used to describe how the human population interacts.
So, with this theory you will have players, strategies, and consequences just like in a game. There are many types of games like zero-sum game, non-zero sum game, simultaneous move games, sequential move games, one-shot games, and repeated games. These games are used to study the gaming theory.
A popular gaming theory is the prisoner’s dilemma. The prisoner’s dilemma shows” why two individuals might not agree, even if it appears that it is best to agree”.
They use two people who have committed a crime and pit one against the other. The sentencing is done by how the criminals talk, or not talk. If one partner talks, they get sentenced and the other set free. If they both remain quiet they get a short sentence, if they both talk they both get a moderate sentence. They never reveal what the prisoners chose to do.
Promoting social equality is still a challenge that each nation still has to overcome. It is quite common to see inequality through race, ethnicity, gender, and social status. We are still segregated by social class, gender, and through political association. Greed and power also contribute greatly toward social inequality. The more exposed we are to different cultures, the more accepting we become. Once we accept the ideas of other cultures, we will be able to be more accepting of others, thus eliminating social inequality.
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