Social Analysis

Does our social background influence our life opportunities and chances? Or does it all depend on the individual? A large body of research evidence indicates that the circumstances in which a child grows up can have an enormous effect on later outcomes, in areas including education, income, employment and self-esteem. (Iacovou, 2003). What’s more, despite the opportunities presented by educational, economic and social change, family origins continue to exert a strong influence on adult outcomes. Concepts such as a persons class, gender and ethnicity can have a great influence on the decsions people make in life and the oppprotunities that are presented to them. In order to help argue the case the discussion will refer to a documentary series, it started in 1964 as Seven Up, a memorable edition of Granada’s World in Action, when a group of seven-year-olds were quizzed about their views on life and thoughts about the future. That original group was revisited every seven years, by director Michael Apted, to see how their lives and views had evolved.
A class exists when a number of people have in common a specific casual component of their life chances in the following sense: this component is represented exclusively by economic interests in the possession of goods and opportunities for income under conditions of the commodity or labor markets. (Marwick, 1980). To Max Weber, writing in the early 1900s, Marx’s view was too simple – he agreed that different classes exist, but he thought that “Status” or “Social Prestige” was the key factor in deciding which group each one of us belongs to. So, where we live, our manner of speech, our schooling, our leisure habits, these, and many other factors, decide our social class – he called these different aspects of the way we behave our “Life-Style”. Particularly important, he thought, was the way each person thinks about his/her “Life-Chances” – if we feel that we can become a respecte…

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