The Sociological Explanations for Class Inequality Essay example

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The Sociological Explanations for Class Inequality There is much debate in sociology about whether class is still important. Many argue that class is no longer important as an individual's identity and life chances are based more status and cultural factors such as lifestyle, values, intelligence, education and the like, the post-modernists state that class has ceased to be the prime determinant of identity and suggest that societies are now organised around consumption rather than production, consequently people now identify themselves in terms of what they consume rather than in terms of social-class position. Class identity has therefore fragmented into numerous separate and individualised…show more content…
Davis and More state that this is fair as everyone finds their place in a society which offers different levels of rewards, thus inequality is legitimate. They state that since there is value consensus on the relative merit of certain occupations and the salaries they command, inequality does not cause conflict, but is seen as legitimate by all and is an accepted part of society. Talcott Parsons agreed with this and stated that inequality is inevitable, legitimate and functional for everyone. The strength of this theory is that it allows inequality to be linked to talent which is unequally distributed. However, this theory has many weaknesses; it assumes we all agree about the relative merit of certain occupations, when in reality this is not true. It also assumes that there are no structural barriers in society to those who have talent, for example, race or gender. Although this meritocratic approach has been developed more recently by the "new right", with sociologists such as Saunders arguing that inequality is a necessary push for economic growth which in turn increases living standards, it has also been criticised by those such as Will Hutton who argued that inequality has led to poorer economic performance and not
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