Social Class And Identity Essay

Confronting Social Identities in Society Essay

1580 Words7 Pages

There are a lot of social problems that exists in the world today, which includes but do not limited to self identity and racism. However, they somehow go unnoticed because at times people conform to what society thinks is the way to live. In my opinion, people believe they should act or feel a certain way because of what is broadcast on television, featured in magazines, and even brought into the limelight by celebrities. While Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” (1970) and Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” (1973) both target ongoing social problems, Morrison structures her story to reveal just how pervasive and destructive social racism is, whereas Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” focuses on the character’s conflicting ideas about their identities…show more content…

There are a lot of social problems that exists in the world today, which includes but do not limited to self identity and racism. However, they somehow go unnoticed because at times people conform to what society thinks is the way to live. In my opinion, people believe they should act or feel a certain way because of what is broadcast on television, featured in magazines, and even brought into the limelight by celebrities. While Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” (1970) and Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” (1973) both target ongoing social problems, Morrison structures her story to reveal just how pervasive and destructive social racism is, whereas Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” focuses on the character’s conflicting ideas about their identities and heritage. “The Bluest Eye” is focused on a little girl name Claudia who is confused on why white girls was glorified and not black girls like her. The story implies a message that being white makes you superior in the world today, for example, giving Claudia a white baby doll and the little girls idealizing Shirley Temple. Morrison uses Claudia as a strong character who is suffering from racist and material insecurities but does not worship whiteness as the other little girls. Claudia wants to get to the bottom of why white girls are being glorified; therefore, she dismembers the doll she states,
“To see of what it was made, to discover the dearness, to find the beauty, the desirability that had escaped me, but apparently only me.

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How Does Class Influence Identity In Contemporary Society?

Social class is a very important and highly contested concept within social science. The meaning and measurement of social class is a subject of continual arguments. However the concept of social class is dominated by two distinguishing traditions of thought - Marxism and Weberianism.

Karl Marx produced his theory of class in the nineteenth century when the European and the British society was going through the 'Industrial Revolution'. His theory was only a part in the exploration of a new type of society, the industrial capitalism. Marx and his associate Engels suggested that there were two main classes generated by the capitalist society; 'Bourgeoisie', the capital-owning or ruling class who owned the property and took advantage of labour for their own benefit, and the 'proletariat', the propertyless or working class who received only a wage for their labour. Marx suggested that a people's identities are mainly shaped by the class they belong to. Class consciousness is based on common situation and interest shared by mass of people which is typical of the working class.

Max Weber shared the view of Marx's but he saw class as a group of individuals with common interests, similar opportunities for earning income. It can be summarized as market position. (Woodward,2004, p.100) However these market positions can result distinct situations which can be either beneficial or disadvantageous for different class groupings. Weber recognized four main classes; upper, middle, working class and the poor. He argued that our status in social groups has a significant impact on how our identities are shaped but not the only factor.

In the middle of the 1990s surveys showed that significant number of the population thought that their opportunities were affected by the social class they belonged to and there was an inequality in the distribution of incomes. Social class can provide us with a sense of belonging; it can tell us who 'we' are and who 'they' are, and how to relate to the world around us. (Woodward,2004, p.96)It has been said by sociologists that class does not play an important role in shaping identity. Some sociologists have gone as far as to say that 'class is dead' (Pakulski and Waters, 1996) Manufacturing and mining of the immediate post-war era offered far more employment than the 1990s. Working-class identification was reflected in mass membership of organizations such as...

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