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It is like living a nightmare. There is nothing here. No opportunities. No optimism. Drugs are everywhere and they are destroying us. We have lost a whole.

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Presentation on theme: "It is like living a nightmare. There is nothing here. No opportunities. No optimism. Drugs are everywhere and they are destroying us. We have lost a whole."— Presentation transcript:

1 It is like living a nightmare. There is nothing here. No opportunities. No optimism. Drugs are everywhere and they are destroying us. We have lost a whole generation, and unless we do something drastic we will lose another. Janis Dobbie of the Gallowgate Family Support Group told the Observer on 2006

2 Social Class – The Big Picture The major political parties rarely discuss social class. Since the demise of manufacturing and heavy industry, there is an assumption that we are all middle class now. But social differences exist. The political parties are highly aware of this and target their messages accordingly. Terms such as working-class or middle class are not used, these terms are subjective.

3 Traditional definitions of social class Karl Marx pioneered much of our thinking. He lived in the 19 th century and analysed the new capitalist society as it evolved after the industrial revolution. According to Marx, the working-class or the proletariat were those who worked for the ruling class. While Marx acknowledged the existence of a middle class (petty bourgeoisie) he essentially saw Britain divided into two conflicting classes. READ Animal Farm by George Orwell

4 Where did the working-class go ? The 1970s saw a massive decline in traditional blue collar jobs which were generally highly unionised. The 1960s saw a massive expansion of higher education and new opportunities for working class children to gain degrees. The new middle class had arrived. Thatcher encouraged people to buy their council houses. The Thatcher governments were highly ideological. They sought to change the mindset of the working class away from collectivist towards individualist values.

5 The Underclass Theory put forward by the American sociologist Charles Murray. Three aspects: illegitimacy, crime and absence of a work ethic. He contends that the underclass has little interest in paid employment because of the availability of state benefits which mean that such people have little incentive to work. As the second, perhaps third generation, of long-term unemployed, the underclass he argues has formed a new and growing class in Britain today.

6 The 30/30/40 Society The economist Will Hutton refers to the 30/30/40 society. Bottom 30% are not an underclass but are disadvantaged. Now dominated by men of working age and lone parents, the disadvantaged find it difficult to break out of part-time, casual, insecure employment. Hutton contends that instead of speaking of the middle class it is more accurate to define two further classes who make up the 70%: the Newly Insecure and the Advantaged

7 Newly Insecure and the Advantaged Newly Insecure – self-employed and many professional workers with short term contracts.. With the ending of pension schemes and long- term contracts, many workers who on the face of it enjoy good standards of living, have to work longer and longer hours. Advantaged – workers with high income jobs, but also have job security, paid holidays and pension schemes

8 A new reality? The Left and Right dispute whether the underclass reproduces itself or not. BUT inequality between the classes has grown. The top 10% of individuals in the UK now receive 40% of all personal income. The UK is becoming a more divided and fragmented society.

9 Social Mobility The ability of a child to move up the social class from the class he/she was born into. Researchers disclosed that children born in the 1950s had a greater chance of escaping the cycle of deprivation than those born in recent times. Why? Children from disadvantaged homes are more likely to fail at school and even those who gain the grades to get into university they are less likely to go.

10 Expectations Members of social classes pass on their advantages and disadvantages, through family life. Money and property can be passed on. Live in areas where there are less impediments to education such as gang culture. Social class D and E simply do not live beside, socialise with, city financiers who earn 55 times as much as them.

11 The Super Rich The past decade of Labour government under Tony Blair has proved a golden age for the rich, rarely seen in modern British history. There has been a 263% jump over the past 10 years of the wealth of Britains richest 1000 people.


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