Sociology, Social Closure Essay (Higher)

1585 Words Mar 9th, 2013 7 Pages
Analyse the extent to which social closure exists in UK society. Use two contrasting theories and relevant studies in your answer.

Social stratification is the way in which society is stratified or "made up of layers" of social groups in a hierarchical way. Class stratification is a form of social stratification, which tends to split separate classes, whose members have contrasting access to resources and power. In Britain, society is structured in terms of inequality. Different classes tend to contain the same kinds of people with the same "hidden barriers" stopping them from being able to climb the social ladder. Social closure is when people simply cannot escape the social class they belong to. They have no way of being socially
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The class someone is born into should not reduce their chances in later life if they work hard enough. This highlights social mobility in that anyone, no matter what their "social barriers" may be, that they can easily climb the social ladder due to hard work and meritocracy. The class divisions in society are reflected as important, as different occupations define where a person "belongs" to in society. Different jobs can be expressed as a gradient, and there will then be several positions and classes in the hierarchy. People who are socially mobile are awarded from their hard-work with a good place within society. Though today, can Parson's theory really be true? "Hidden barriers" are what keep people from climbing the social hierarchy, and functionalism only really "accepts" the capitalist system.

A strength of functionalism is that it suggests that individuals can climb up the social ladder and can become successful. The whole ideology of meritocracy is that anyone, no matter what their background, language, gender or race, can achieve anything if they work hard enough to get it. Functionalism provides an explanation for inequality simply because people are discriminated against in society for their accent, background etc. This means that people with inequalities automatically go down the hierarchy, or worse, they are born into the bottom end of the social ladder. So in