Social Class

Social Class Sociology Definition


The term “social class” refers to a capitalist society’s classification of strata, with wealth, income, and occupation as the distinguishing factors between social classes.

Chester L. Hunt and Paul B. Horton state that “social class is a stratum of people of a similar position in the social status continuum.”


The traditional definition of social class in Western capitalist society is that there are three classes: upper, middle, and working class, with the working class having the highest population density. As a general rule of thumb, the division between manual and nonmanual employment might be seen as the periphery between the middle and working classes.

The concentration of money, power, and prestige is significant as a distinguishing attribute for the upper class. Social class may shift, however, and some sociologists have hypothesized that as civilization has progressed, the middle class has expanded to the point that some have said that “we are all middle-class today.” Others contend that the emergence of an underclass with few opportunities for full-time work has been the critical social class growth.

Some structured social inequity underpins all complex communities or stratification systems. The many components that make up social stratification will change in significance across different countries; for instance, some societies place more excellent value on old age than others.

The structured social disparity in modern nations is greatly influenced by class. However, it is a complex idea with many varying interpretations. Both the concept’s definition and its measurement cannot be considered valid. However, the definition and measurement issues have been vigorously debated throughout time.

In general, three class dimensions may be found. These three are political, cultural, and economical. The political component examines the role of classes and class activity in political, social, and economic development. The economic dimension concentrates on patterns and causes of material inequality; the cultural dimension concentrates on lifestyle, social conduct, and status hierarchies.

The claim that social and economic differences are not innate or divinely predetermined but result from human activities is a tenet of all sociological concepts of class.

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