L12: Social Class
I will be able to identify what is mean by a classless society
I will be able to describe reasons for and against class existing today
I will be able to explain using sociological terminology this debate and offer my own
Why: because it is important to understand the contrasting ideas about
Look at the following two images – what sort of
people do you think would watch these types of
TV talk shows?
What do the images above show? Is Britain a classless society? Write what you
think classless means.
In recent years, there have been hot debates within society about whether ‘class’ is
a useful concept. One view is that social class has become less relevant in
contemporary Britain. Some argue that class divisions are less relevant in peoples’
lives. Others suggest that now we live in a classless society or class is dead.
Them and us!
One view is that social class divisions are less clear cut compared with the 1950s.
Class was a staple part of the British way of life. Each class had unique characteristics.
The upper class had stately homes, aristocratic backgrounds and posh accents; the
middle class, semi-detached houses, suits and bowler hats; the working class, common
accents, fish and chips and council flats. This produced a society divided between ‘Us’ (
the workers) and ‘Then’ (the rich and the bosses). Pubs always had a public bar and a
lounge. Even railway carriages divided into first, second and third class compartments.
Discuss how far social class divisions have changed. Are there still differences between
activities and lifestyles of so called ‘posh’ people and ‘poor’ people in your opinion
People no longer identify
themselves with a social
A process of
embourgeoisement – more
working class people becoming
Increased social mobility have
made it easier for people to
move up and down the class
Other social factors just as
important today such as
ethnicity or gender.
The working class has shrunk
due to changes in the
occupational structure –
decline in working class jobs.
Evidence suggest life
chances are still affected by
your class position.
A large majority of the top
jobs in society are taken by
the privileged sector .
According to Curtis and
Heath people still identify
their job as middle class or
It is possible for class to
affect other inequalities such
as gender and ethnicity
There are still a number of
institutions such as
education and politics which
are attended by the elite
Below, are five arguments for the disappearance of class today and arguments against it. In
a table like the one next write the correct point in the correct heading. A*-B students need
to state whether you agree of disagree with each point and why.
Class disappeared Class exists still Your view
How might a
view class today?
Discuss how far sociologists would agree that Britain is now a classless society
0 – no relevant points made
1-3 – a basic statement about social class.
4-6 – some relevant understanding of sociological evidence (related to why Britain might
be classless society). There will be no response to ‘how far’
7-9 - there will be evidence of answering ‘how far’. Good range of specialist terms such
as social mobility, meritocracy, embourgeoisement, life chances etc.
10-12 – excellent range of specialist terms, and a well focused answer on both sides and
a distinct conclusion which addresses the ‘how far’ part of the statement.
Remember to follow the answer structure and use three arguments in support and
three arguments against this statement.
On completion, swap your answer with the person next to you and give them a mark and a
comment using the mark scheme below….
• When you receive your essay answer back
answer the two following statements at the
end of it …
• Two things I have done well at have been…
• One area for improvement is …..