The Influence Of Social Class

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Social class is a group of people with similar levels of wealth, influence, and status. Four common social classes informally recognized in many societies are upper class, middle class, working class, and the lower class. The higher the social class, thus the higher income level. Whether class is related to deviant labeling depends on the type of deviance involved. Basically, lower class teenagers are just as likely as their upper class peers to engage in victimless deviant acts such as drug use, drunkenness and truancy. However the lower class adults whose lower income more likely than people from middle and upper class with higher incomes to commit street crimes such as robbery, assault, or theft. This is because the effects of…show more content…
For example, more likely for bank executives to cheat customers quietly than for jobless persons to rob banks violently. This is because higher-income people has greater motivation to be deviant. Much of this motivation stems from relative deprivation which is feeling unable to achieve relatively high aspirations. The more people experience relative deprivation, they are more likely to commit deviant labelling. Furthermore, they enjoy greater opportunities for deviance. Obviously, a successful banker enjoys more legitimate opportunities than a poor worker to make money. Other than that, the higher-income people are subjected to weaker social control. Generally, the middle and upper class have more influence in the making and enforcement of…show more content…
Conflict theorists believe that the broad division of people into these two categories is inherently unequal. They cite the criminal justice system to support their claim. The capitalist class passes laws designed to benefit themselves. These same laws are detrimental to the working class. For example, behaviour done by teenagers from upstanding, middle class families is tolerated while similar behaviour engaged in lower class youth is reinforced as deviant. William J. Chambliss’s description of the Saints and the Roughnecks shows how the different social classes to facilitate the definition of some groups as deviants and others as not. In this classic study, the saints are a group of 8 white upper middle class boys on the pre-college track in Hanibal High School, who engage in truancy, drinking, wild driving, petty theft and vandalism, but managed to maintain a good image. If these youths are apprehended, the influence of their parents and the social skills of boys contributes to the interpretation that they are just engaging in youthful high jinks. The roughnecks are a group of six lower-class boys who engage in lots of fighting and stealing, who are often arrested, and whose image in the community is terrible. In Chambliss 's view, the saints behavior had at least as much potential for community harm as the behavior of the roughnecks. But the saints never got labeled,
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