It also means that importance of social class decreasing, but instead of class the role of status increased rapidly. For instance to show status people buy expensive cars and exclusive clothes. Differences in social classes could influence personal identity, because identity related to social groups to which the identity belongs, for example nationality, culture, ethnicity, sexuality, gender and class. First of all identity is “a sense of self that develops as the child differentiates from parents and family and take a place in society” (Jary and Jary, 1991:p665).
Identity also formed through some combinations of individual choice and structured group membership (for example in Arab countries Muslim women can`t drive the car). In additional, people could express their aspects of identity in a different way. For example clothing, which clothes choose to wear to show gender, post – modernism or class; language, which words to use when people speak with fiends to show class, educational background and gender. It is goes without saying that even though ‘class’ no longer exists, but we could easily identify person`s class, status and possessions from their clothing and way of behaving.
The principle of the identity is closely linked to the idea of culture. As I have already mentioned identities could also be formed through the cultures to which people belong to. “Culture is the language, beliefs, values and norms, customs, dress, diet, roles, knowledge and skills which make up ‘the way of life’ of an individual society “(Ralph Linton, 1945). For example norms and diet, in the UK at 17 o`clock most people have their couple of tea. Culture includes teaching and learning such process like socialization. We gain our identity through “socialisation”.
Socialisation is the process by which we, as individuals, become members of our society or culture. We are also active participants in this process – we decide what to accept or reject. Process of learning culture or socialization includes family, school, peer, media and religion. For example: family, your parents give you name, first beliefs and tastes; school, teaches person rules and gives knowledge; religion, teach people to appreciate some values; peers, teach person how to socialize; media, gives people ideas about gender, status and class.
Modern sociologists also think that being of a different class may involve differences in culture, economic circumstances, educational status, dietary preferences, housing conditions, property ownership and power. For example, differences in culture, people who are from middle and upper – middle class in free time visit museums and theatres, whereas working class visits pubs. One of the important factors in people’s culture and identity is social mobility, the ability to move from one class to another. For example, moving from the working to the middle class.
Nowadays class, gender, sex, race and kinship have less influence on human identity. It is becoming more important human`s talent, knowledge, ambition and hard – working abilities for achieving a good position in the class system. World sociology has changed greatly, beginning of the XXI centuries gave to the UK a lot of new. New national socio – economic classifying statistics (NS – SEC), which replaced Registrar Generals classification. New sociologists have another view on dividing society into social classes.
For instance class has been defined consisted of eight major classes. The first four is middle class, which include higher managerial and professional occupations, lower, intermediate occupations, small employers and own account workers. The other four is manual workers, including lower supervisory and technical, semi – routine occupations, routine occupations and never worked people. A big and new tendency had happened in modern Britain: the number of manual workers declines year by year.
If for example in 1911 a percentage of manual workers was about 81%, in the year 2000 this percentage twice declined and become about 40% of total workforce. This become possible first of all because of developing new technologies: technique makes most manual work. Secondly because of changing of economical situation such as increasing life standards and education system. Traditionally social classes have been the main concept for understanding society, its behaviour or social conflicts, and predict the main movements of social behavior.
Today`s sociologists in developed countries see classes like a historical phenomenon. The same view on social classes has Pakulski and Waters. They thought that class is no longer important factor in a human identity. According to Pakulski, we could pick out four main features such as cultuaralism, fragmentation, autonomization and resignification. For instance autonomization, which means that today`s people are not told what to do, they do what makes sense to them. For example, British working class is less likely to vote for the British Labour Party than it once was.
To sum up, in this essay we discussed the different aspects of inequalities; we have seen that the UK is one of the most unequal societies. Inequalities of wealth, which means that one tenth of the UK population owns more than seventy percent of total wealth. Inequalities of income are significant, but welfare policy of the government such as taxation does have a huge effect in reducing the incomes between rich and poor. Finally, because of the government policy and developing new technologies, class has lost its power in the collective sense, however class would still remain fundamental to culture and human.