Social Theories Of Social Class

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Social class is a group of people with similar levels of wealth, influence, and status. The influence of class has a great relationship with deviant labelling. There are five common social classes recognized in many societies which are the upper class, the upper-middle class, the middle class, the working class, and the lower class. The upper class represent institutional leadership, heads of multinational corporations and capitalist elite such as Bill Gates of Microsoft and Michael Eisner of Disney. Besides, the upper-middle class people are highly educated and has professional careers with sky-high incomes such as doctors, lawyers and midsized business owners. While the middle class is often made up of less educated people and they work…show more content…
According to Merton’s strain theory, people are not equally provided with the legitimate means for achieving success such as lower class people lack of good jobs. This produces a strain among people in the lower class, pressuring them to achieve success through what Merton calls innovation by using illegitimate means of achieving success such as committing a robbery or selling drugs. These effects combine to lead poor people to be more likely than wealthier people to commit street crime. As an evidence, a Bureau of Justice Statistics report in 2008 concluded that street crimes decrease as income rises. In 2008, individuals with annual family incomes of less than $15,000 were at least three times more likely to be victims of personal crimes such as robbery and theft when compared with individuals with annual family incomes of $75,000 or…show more content…
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 eight promising young men of white upper-middle class families and pre-college students at Hanibal High School. They were constantly occupied with truancy, drinking, wild driving, petty theft and vandalism. The Roughnecks are a group of six lower class boys who engage in lots of fighting and stealing and were constantly in trouble with police and community. In Chambliss's view, the rate of delinquency of the Roughnecks was about equal with that of the Saints. However the Saints never got labelled and they went on to college immediately after high school and pursued respectable careers after graduated from college. On the other hand, two of the Roughnecks received unsolicited athletic scholarships to college and were successful, while the other Roughnecks continued their juvenile involvement and were arrested. This is because the Saints has higher class background, their behaviour is defined as socially normative, enabling the police, teachers and parents to look the other way, but the Roughnecks are perceived to be troublemakers, rabble-rousers, and
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