TESTS OF CLASS RANK, Sociology Help

TESTS OF CLASS RANK,

Although a wealthy family background is' a necessity for secure upper-class status, education may substitute for family background at the intermediate class levels. The middle classes are so .large and move around so much that it is impossible to know the family background of each individual. Newcomers to a locality are likely to be accepted into which of the middle or 100~er classes their behavior fits them. Education, occupation, and expended income are three fairly visible clues, and most of the other behavior characteristics which make one "belong" are associated with these indicators. Social scientists make great use of these three indicators-education, occupation, and income-in dividing people into social-class levels for research purposes. As we have already explained, these are useful clues to the total way of life of different social classes . Furthermore, these are easy to objectify. It would be difficult to use "crude or cultivated speech," for example as a test of class rank in a research study. While speech patterns do reveal one's social class [Labov, 1972], it would be difficult to develop an objective measure of speech usage and diction for a ' research study. Finally, data on education, occupation, and income are available from the census reports, broken' down by "census -. tracts," or areas of a few blocks each. Suppose a sociologist wishes to compare death rates, or polio rates, or average family size, or practically anything as it varies among social classes. Using census data on occupation, education, and average income of the different census tracts within the community, it is easy to locate an upper-class tract, a middleclass tract, arid a lower class tract for comparison. While social class involves more than these three criteria, they are adequate to identify social classes for most research purposes.

Posted on September 4, 2014 in Social Class

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