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Social Class and Life Expectations: an Analysis of the Ways in which My Class has Affected My Life - Essay Example

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Your Name Prof’s Name Date Social Class and Life Expectations: an Analysis of the ways in which My Class Has Affected my Life Social class has long been an aspect of sociological analysis, and even before that it has been an important part of group understandings in society…
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Social Class and Life Expectations: an Analysis of the Ways in which My Class has Affected My Life

Download file to see previous pages... I would define myself and my upbringing as middle class, which has had a massive impact on the way I perceive the world, and the way that the world perceives me. This essay will attempt to enumerate the ways my class has functioned in my life, and shaped the path of it through my society. To start with, it is important to recognize that a middle class lifestyle can, by its very nature, be perceived as both privileged and unprivileged – it is the middle stratification of society, and thus earns more, garners more respect and so on than the lower classes, while having somewhat less luxury than the super-rich. It is also important to note that it includes a system of values, which I believe stem from a middle class life, but may also be present in upper or lower classes. That is to say that, if, in this essay I argue that my class has produced some type of effect in my life, that is not to say that that effect might not have been had by a person of another class, or if I say that I possess a value associated with my class, that is not to say that it is not present in other classes. In the Middle Ages, for instance, one could say that piety was a characteristic of the religious class of priests, monks and bishops, but this does not mean that all priests were pious, nor that there was no such thing as a pious peasant. Thus, everything I say about my class experience will be with the strong caveat that it is my lived experience, informed by an understanding of sociology from academic sources. The ways that class has impacted my life fall into a couple of general categories: perception, expectation, and values. Firstly I must describe why I have considered my upbringing and class middle class. The most fundamental reason I feel that I am middle class is, in very illogical fashion, the fact that I feel that I am middle class. This class definition is so broad that it has a wide array of people ascribing to it – people who make a massive divergence of income from the low to middle five digits to the solid six, people who had to make their own way in life and people who had a lot of things handed to them, and people from a variety of work situations, from the bluest of blue collar to the whitest of white collar. With all this, it is almost impossible to distinguish exactly what it means to be middle class, though many sociologists have tried. For me, one of the primary components, as I mentioned before, is simply identifying with the group – being middle class is an incredibly mental existence (as will be discussed below when talking about life expectations), if one thinks they are middle class, then they almost certainly are. But in thinking of my own upbringing there are some mentalities and realities that I associate with being middle class. Firstly, there is the understanding that one will have to work in order to live, rather than work to uphold a standard of life or meet other kinds of obligations. This separates the middle class from classes that are richer than it: upper class people have the funds to survive even without work, while middle class people work. The second defining attribute, economically, is a lack of reliance on many forms of social safety nets. Certainly, middle class people will sometimes rely on them temporarily, or on only a few of them, but generally a middle class identity means forgoing social safety nets to a significant degree. I believe that my ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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