SO110 Formative Essay 1
Both the experience and the analysis of class are deeply racialised. Discuss.
Class is a systematic order of people according to their capital. As explored in the BBC Great British Class survey in 2013, there are social, economic and cultural capitals as indicators to class. Race refers to a group of people with the same ancestors who have biologically and physically similar characteristics. It is important to highlight that while both race and class are a way of classifying people, race is a difference that is horizontal while class is a difference that is vertical involving rankings. Concept of class is similar to that of inequality; they are both avoidable “hierarchical differences” (Therborn, 2009). Race, like difference, is something we cannot change, something we are born into that is impossible to change unlike our first name. In the following essay I will explore how race influences the formation of class divisions however is not the only factor.
First paragraph – about our experience of class and how they are racialised
· Subjective experiences of class forms identity and identification around class. History: black people in America and “memories of working class past” and possible habitus. Race has acted as the staring point for class in a less racist society and race still acts as a main determinant for class in a more racist society
· How our experience of class is racialised now:
Black person would have less social capital in terms of contacts of people they know. This “affects the class stratification and reproduction”
White person would have different cultural capitals too – education, dress, accent. This racial difference can bring about denial of of “recognition and acceptance” which is a form of existential inequality, here “skin colour acts as a form of embodied capital that disrupts and lessens the worth of the cultural capital”. The impact of this works its way through education as cultural capital and class is reproduced.
· Class categories intersect with other vectors of socials stratification and other modes of social identity such as gender and race. Skin colour is not the only factor, experience of class is gendered as well: being a female restricts social mobility between and within class.
· We know for a fact that race cannot be the only factor influencing class. Since race is a difference and is relational it only matters in a society where there is more than one race. In heavily isolated areas like North Korea where the entire population consists of one race but there are still extremely polarised class divisions. We can learn here that race cannot be the sole of cause class though it shapes class divisions. It seems like any difference whether financial, gendered, racialised shapes the class rankings. It becomes a matter of our collective societal views determining whether something is good or bad, which the position on the social rank is decided upon. For example, in patriarchal cultu...