When studying the nature and dynamics of the social movement, it is essential to investigate the division of society into classes more in-depth. Doing so provides the researchers with a clear understanding of how exactly social movements and revolutions occur and what triggers their advancement. The American economic class system differentiates between four social classes: upper, middle, working, and lower. However, certain variations within the upper and middle classes are also possible (Grusky, 287-289). This paper aims to analyze the working-middle and the lower classes, estimate their differences, and determine my own affiliation to either of them based on the results of the analysis.
First of all, it is essential to establish the role of the class-based social division in the process of changing the fundamental structures of society. The major social transformations take place only when the existing social classes attempt to overthrow one another, mainly on the basis of exploitation and oppression of the lower classes by the dominant one (Berberoglu 65-68). Thus, the class-based social division plays an important role in transforming the existing social order, making it crucial to look at the struggling classes in more detail, as it is them who usually bring about political and social change. The social class that is put under constant oppression and discrimination is the lower or poor class. Its representatives generally lack a high school education; they tend to be unemployed or employed part-time. The poor class people typically do not have sufficient housing conditions, food supplies, or medical services (Blacksher 3-14). The life of the poor class is challenging and constitutes a constant battle for surviving in a capitalistic country, with the political domination of the upper class.
The social class that lies between the lower and the upper classes is the middle class. The statistics show that the middle class constitutes the majority of the American population; therefore, it includes people of different statuses with different incomes and education levels (Grusky 379). However, an average middle-class citizen usually falls under the working middle-class category. Its representatives occupy such job positions as, for example, teachers, managers, or small business owners. These people usually have a higher education, medical insurance, their own real estate, vehicles, and full-time jobs. Generally speaking, the working middle class can provide for a healthy, happy lifestyle and pay taxes regularly. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is quite far from being the upper class who do not usually struggle from the financial burdens of everyday lives. Regarding my own place in the social hierarchy, I am a full-time college student who lives with my parents at home. Thus, as a member of the working middle-class family with a stable income, sufficient housing conditions, and education level, I may classify myself as the working-middle class.
To conclude, the class-based social division is powerful not only in America but throughout the world as well. Structuring society, according to people’s incomes and social position, has a strong potential for social and political change and transformation, as the class disparities are a powerful determinant for people’s urge for action. The lower class needs support and recognition for their poor conditions of living to improve. However, being a part of the working middle-class, I am convinced that its representatives also need to claim their needs in order to obtain more financial stability and be sure of what tomorrow will bring.
Berberoglu, Berch, editor. The Palgrave Handbook of Social Movements, Revolution, and Social Transformation. Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.
Blacksher, Erika. Shrinking poor white life spans: Class, race, and health justice. The American Journal of Bioethics, 2018.
Grusky, David. Social Stratification, Class, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective. Routledge, 2019.