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Social Class and Social Movements

There are differences between income and wealth, and through these differences, one can understand the meaning of social class. Income is what a person earns through their work, while wealth is the assets that a person possesses at the present time. Since income and wealth have different effects on one’s life (a person could be wealthy with low income and vise versa), we need to know their differences to comprehend the meaning of social class.

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Social classes and their roots could be perceived differently, and Weber’s and Marx’s approaches serve as examples of differing approaches. Marx believed that class was determined simply by economic factors, while Weber suggested that social stratification could not depend purely on class divisions and monetary relationships between them (Eidlin & Kerrissey, 2018). Marx’s class theory considered the development of society as a natural, historical process, introduced periodization of the development of society, and gave the definition of social-economic formation. On the other hand, it ignored specifics within the development of some countries and underestimated cultural and spiritual factors in a society’s development. Weber’s theory considered cultural aspects of a society’s development and emphasized a critical aspect of social stratification, status. Its weakness lies in the problem of the connection between its components and, therefore, between the types of social differences.

In today’s America, class is generally recognized as a hierarchy with three levels: upper, middle, and lower. The cultural definition of social class is a difficult concept to grasp; however, if asked to place themselves into particular social classes, people use certain factors. These include income, education, age, religion, race, employment status, and place of residence (Bird & Newport, 2017). In my opinion, underclass individuals’ movement upwards is hindered by the education paywall. Prestigious and high-quality education provides many opportunities for people, while those who cannot afford it are left behind.


Bird, R., & Newport, F. (2017). What determines how Americans perceive their social class? Gallup. Web.

Eidlin, B., & Kerrissey, J. (2018). Social class and social movements. In D. A. Snow, S. A. Soule, H. Kriesi, H. J. McCammon (Eds.), The Wiley Blackwell companion to social movements Wiley Blackwell, (pp. 515–536). John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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