The Class Nature of Society
The essay investigates the class nature of society as pertaining to the American society. The focus is on how class is socially constructed, and how inequalities in the society are creating problems for people. The final part of the essay discusses the same issues in the broader idea of living the American dream.
1. Class is Socially Constructed
When class is defined as being socially constructed, the meaning of class extends beyond that of one dictated by just economy, although economic value of members of that class also plays a role in that social construction. Therefore, income alone was not a differentiation. Class has been explored as a process in itself in which different societal members included some members and excluded others. For instance, upper middle-class Americans tend to exclude people based on issues in moral superiority such as their honesty, their competency, their work ethics, etc. They also considered socio-economic superiority elements. The professional prestige of the upper class, the intelligence levels, the experience levels etc. contributed to the characteristics of the upper class.
There is a general belief that class distinctions in the US, socially constructed or otherwise is less. However, actual data states that there might have been a steady increase in class differences in the post-cold war era (Gabrenya, 2003). Those with a college degree might be stratified as a much higher class compared with one that just completed a high school degree, even if both were to earn the same. Such a class construction based on many factors also changes the opportunities available to people.