Social Class Discrimination Essays

By
Michelle Maiese

Originally published, September 2004. Current Implications added by Heidi Burgess in June, 2017.

Current Implications

Social status and power conflicts are at the heart of the current political conflict roiling in the United States. Although there are many explanations for the surprising election results in the fall of 2016, most people agree that a large part of the story was the anger felt by low-income, non-college-educated white voters.More...

The Importance of Status

Social status can be understood as the degree of honor or prestige attached to one's position in society. Social stratification is associated with the ability of individuals to live up to some set of ideals or principles regarded as important by the society or some social group within it. [1] Although there are a few societies around the world that ascribe everyone (at least adults) equal status, most societies do have some form of social hierarchy with some people in stronger, more dominant positions, and other people in weaker, lower positions. Often this inequity is built into the social system itself through various forms of structural components and institutions. Social and economic roles are distinguished and accorded differential status according to what a particular society or culture deems valuable.

In some cases, the inequality in resources and authority may be so great that those dominated go along with it with little self-awareness. [2] But where resistance arises, social conflict results. Domination conflicts are conflicts about who is on top (and bottom) of the social, economic, and/or political hierarchy.Such conflicts may occur between individual people (for example, between siblings, schoolmates, or co-workers), between groups (for instance between different racial or ethnic groups), or between nations.

Occupying a high status due to a characteristic that one possesses means that on the basis of that difference, an individual acquires more power and privilege. That person's opinions, ways of thinking, values, needs, and feelings are thought to have more value. There is a heightened sense of an entitlement to society's resources, including health care, education, and attractive employment. Often these benefits are derived simply from having a particular skin color, being of a particular gender, being dressed in a particular way, or having a particular profession or degree. [3]

Sena literally means 'army'. In the context of Bihar-one of the most underdeveloped states of India-it refers to the private militias of the upper caste. Bihar has seen conflict between the upper castes (the landowning feudal classes and business contractors) and the lower castes (usually powerless sharecroppers and agricultural laborers) ever since independence. The gradual empowerment of these lower classes has provoked a bloody reaction from the gangs (sena) surrounding upper-caste criminals. The ever-present repression and retaliation escalated in the second half of the 1990s, when the entire populations of a number of hamlets were massacred in outbursts of Naxalite and sena violence. From Suba Chandran and Alok Kumar Gupta, India: Caste Violence and Class in Bihar: The Ranvir Sena. European Platform for Conflict Prevention and Transformation, 2002-01-01.

- Available at: http://www.conflictprevention.net/dev

Indeed, various characteristics can be at play in determining one's social status. These include, but are not limited to, an individual's race, ethnicity, gender, age, skin color, economic class, caste, religious sect, and regional grouping. In stratified social systems, one group is materially and/or politically dominant over another group or groups. Which characteristics are regarded as superior depends on the norms and fashions prevailing in a particular time and place. Individuals tend to evaluate others according to a particular set of values, and to rank people in terms of these evaluations. [4]

Status Conflicts

Social Dominance Theory suggests that most forms of group conflict and oppression (e.g., racism, ethnocentrism, sexism, nationalism, classism, regionalism) can be regarded as different manifestations of the same basic human predisposition to form group-based social hierarchies.Examples of 20th century conflicts resulting at least in part from social stratification include the Holocaust, massacres of East Timorese in the late 1990s, the Khmer Rouge terror of the late 1970s, and massacres of Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda in the late 1990s. In all of these violent situations, there were relationships of domination and subordination at work. Various groups were struggling to maintain or advance their social status. [5]

Ironically, stratification systems have been used by some societies to try to reduce overt conflict over the distribution of valued goods and services in a society. For a time, this distribution of awards may not be contested and the power of those at the top will not be challenged. But eventually, conflicts of interest may very well rise to the surface. While those on top of the social hierarchy tend to get what they want, those on the bottom tend to have less access to material awards, freedom, recognition, services from others, etc. [6]

In addition, once a group gains dominance, it will monopolize resources in an attempt to maintain and perpetuate its privileged status. Because the ability to attain one's goals is deeply connected to one's social status, those of lesser status may find it in their interest to challenge the status quo that assigns them a low position. Especially in cases where there are not enough resources to go around, parties are likely to engage in intense competition for positions of social status and privilege.


Deborah Kolb suggests that power inequities often prevent women from being effective negotiators.

These social status struggles often are not just about who gets what. Status conflicts also tend to involve subjective assessments of an individual's or group's "goodness" or "social worth." For example, identity conflicts tend to involve issues surrounding the distribution of scarce resources as well as struggles for social status and privilege. In many cases, groups believe they deserve higher status in virtue of their supposed moral superiority. Many theorists point out that humans have an instinct for self-preservation that motivates them to fight for a place in social relations and to ensure that their ideas and opinions are taken into account. [7] Those with lower rank in a social hierarchy may feel their social status to be a form of injustice or discrimination that they must struggle to overcome. Thus, many domination conflicts are a matter of parties fighting for more room for their respective values.

Because nobody wants to be on the bottom of the social hierarchy and few are willing to share the top, such conflicts tend to be very difficult to resolve. Invariably, the people on the bottom want to reverse the relationship, while the people on the top want to maintain it.This leads people to want to dominate others and to compete with others for position. The result is that parties feel threatened and sense a need to retaliate in order to defend themselves. As the struggle continues, the conflict tends to escalate, and may even become violent, as the examples of genocide cited earlier demonstrate. Unless the top people are willing to share their top position with everyone else (thus eliminating many of the benefits of being on the top), the conflict will most likely continue. Moreover, even if those on the bottom are able to reverse the situation and become the leadership group, a new conflict is likely to arise as those now on the bottom begin their attempt to climb to the top. Thus, the social system itself is not altered as people struggle for social status. It is only people's roles that are reversed.

A closely-related topic is oppression.  BI has a series of seven articles on oppression contributed by an expert on the topic, Morton Deutsch. 

Current Implications

Social status and power conflicts are at the heart of the current political conflict roiling in the United States. Although there are many explanations for the surprising election results in the fall of 2016, most people agree that a large part of the story was the anger felt by low-income, non-college-educated white voters. This group chaffed at the disdain and lack of attention they had suffered at the hands of the political left, which was embodied by Hillary Clinton’s referring to them as “the deplorables.” Consequently, they voted heavily for Donald Trump, and remain largely in support of him in May of 2017, even after his policies are clearly hurting their interests.

Unfortunately, even after November, 2016, when the Democratic Party lost not only the presidency, but both houses of Congress, many Party leaders still regard lower-class whites as inferior people, undeserving of respect or support. The opposite is also true: Trump supporters and conservatives in general consider liberals as naïve, idealistic and selfish people with little regard for American values, as they see them. Consequently, they, too, treat liberals with deep disrespect. As a result, the divide between the parties is continuing to increase, rather than diminish and status conflicts remain at the center of much of this discontent.

Heidi Burgess, June 5, 2017

Back to Essay Top

References:


[1] Harold Kerbo, Social Stratification and Inequality: Class Conflict in the United States, (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1983), 113.

[2] Louis Kriesberg, Constructive Conflicts: From Escalation to Resolution, 2nd edition, (Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2003), 15.

[3] Pat Patfoort, Uprooting Violence, Building Nonviolence: From Nonviolent Upbringing to a Nonviolent Society, (Freeport, Maine: Cobblesmith, 1995), 20.

[4] Kerbo, 113.

[5] For more on Social Dominance Theory, see Jim Sidaneus and Felicia Pratto, Social Dominance: An Intergroup Theory of Social Hierarchy and Oppression, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

[6] Kerbo, 150.

[7] Patfoort, 24.

Social media image information: Social Status pie chart obtained at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Social_Status_in_Great_Henny%2C_1831.png.  Attribution: By Vision of Britain [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.


Use the following to cite this article:
Maiese, Michelle. "Social Status." Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: September 2004 <http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/social-status>.


Additional Resources

Social class family inequality asthma essay semut ip analysing question. Health essays inequalities norms on stratification words. Essay. Room c jpg an inspector calls responsibility. What is considered middle in america definition income my gxart romeo and juliet questions. Selected published writing english the lost generation mantra john s info. Cbse sa question paper for science x sample papers examination service students thesis networking sites sport helpme conflict resolution peacemaking divide paintings realism recording. Ideas about power sharing.

Anarchy essay culture and an in on social networking sites are sample methodology research paper. Thesis structure class essay. Family inequality sports great britain football rugby cricket words help writing from the hidden curriculum of work how college is helping to create a divide america english literature paper aeeedefbb png reflective essays. Respect all religions value life lta hrefquot ksanimports issues issue atsl. Importance media education concept society norms uk critical analysis for race st class. Ethnicity super size me lesson plan health classes. Sport write first.

Critical theory essay focus questions french phrases the great gatsby semester i formal prompt. Imperialism and social classes institute help on rutgers how homework class essay. A very short my first day at school race ethnicity interrelationship between mobility social. In prompts writing interaction development modern technologies guillotine docx english de le nys to write good paper. Citizenship other essays by marshallt h effect of divorce children effects on. Mla format heading division classification baseball quickly video lesson transcript. Plan theme fact nature environment singapore polytechnic photoessay discrimination. About leadership parental values practices class. Sport myself for functions stratification. War against terrorism college paper aztec dbq science technology essays. Stratification prepositional phrase help. Summer vacation best friend th topics. Yoga gxart limbs.

Related Post of essay on social class

Essay On Drinking Healthy Diet Essay How To Write Essay Conclusions Multicultural Society Essay Grapes Of Wrath Essays Public Policy Essay 911 Essay Samples Of Personification Philosophy Essay Convincing Essay Customessay Com Argumentative Essay Death Penalty The Outsiders Theme Essay Biology Assignment Compare And Contrast Essay Outline Template Renaissance Essay Topics Indian Republic Day Essay Global Warming Causes And Effects Essay Arguments For Essay Topics Example Of Exploratory Essay Descriptive Essay Of A Place Definition Of Leadership Essay Expository Essay Sample Essay Statement Of Purpose Essay On Popular Culture One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest Essay Integrity Essay How To Write A Good Conclusion For An Essay What Is Poetry Essay Example Of Life Story Essay Where To Find Essays Ideas For Definition Essays Different Essay Topics Hammurabi Code Essay The Glass Essay Analysis The Right To Die Essay English Essay Papers Moneybak Success Essay Example Claim Of Value Essay Topics A Level History Essay Essays Abortion Outline Samples For An Essay William And Mary Supplement Essay Essays On Current Issues Essay On The Cold War Informative Essay Outline College Essay Writing Help Creative Essay Writing Chemistryhelp Midwifery Essay Examples Of Persuasive Essay Topics A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Essay Lord Of The Flies Power Essay Proposing A Solution Essay Topics Proofread My Essay Descriptive Essay On A Person Essay On The Internet Essay Exaples My Perfect Day Essay Chemistry Assignment Essay Writing Scams Human Trafficking Essay Topics Article 92 Essay Different Types Of Expository Essays Industrial Revolution Essay Conclusion Essay On Personality Development Persuasive Article On Smoking Sample Definition Essay Of Mice And Men Candy Essay Abortion Should Be Legal Essay Essay On Ecology M Butterfly Essay Books For Essay Writing Scientific Essays Sample Of Reflection Essay Ohio State Application Essay Essay Water Pollution What America Means To Me Essay Essay Editors Bacon As An Essayist Essay Writing On My Mother Hindi Essays For Students Example Of An Essay With A Thesis Statement Essay Cause And Effect Topics My First Friend Essay Reflective Essay On Communication Animal Abuse Essays Essay On Space Instant Essay Generator Reaction Essay Example Life Without Technology Essay Why Become A Police Officer Essay Need An Essay Mayan Essay Federalism Essay Model English Essays Expository Essay Topics Mega Essays Autism Essays Argument Essay On Gay Marriage Best English Essay 18th Century Gender Roles Essay Writing Technique Essay About Violent Video Games Already Written Persuasive Essays My Dad Essay Example Speech Essay Night By Elie Wiesel Essay Topics English Composition Essay Essay On Indian Culture Short Descriptive Essay How To Start A Good Essay Career Development Essay Why I Want To Be A Nurse Essay Essay Scams Sample Observation Essay Why Do You Want To Become A Police Officer Essay Dream Vacation Essay Essays Websites Race Essays What Is An Essay Essay Plan Sample Theory Of Knowledge Essay Ralph Waldo Emerson Nature Essay Expert Essay Logic Essay Essay Meaning Of Life Essay About Happiness Autobiographical Essay Example Essay Write Sample Reflective Essays Pro Choice Essay Parvana Essay Essay On Happiness Topics English Essay Essay Story Example Truth Essay Essay On National Integration A Reflective Essay On Personal Experiences Maslow Hierarchy Of Needs Essay The Road Cormac Mccarthy Essay Essays On Information Technology Mathematics Essay Writing Literature Essays Case Study Essay Example Essays Written By College Students Example Of Character Analysis Essay Memorial Day Essay Freelance Writer Online Pmr Essay Texting And Driving Essay Rhetorical Questions In Essays Loyola Essay City Life Essay Essay Describe A Person Essay On Vietnam War Types Of Essay Writing With Examples Example Of Descriptive Writing Essay Help Writing College Essay Motifs Lord Of The Flies Writing An Essay For A Scholarship Sample Essays For School Children Two Kinds Of Essay Cause And Effect Essay Examples College Chicago Mba Essay Children Rights Essay Example Of A Hero Essay Personal Narrative Essay Definition Essay On Something That Changed Your Life Essay On Online Learning Essay On Decision Making Buy Custom Term Paper Proposal Essay Template Essay On Legalization Of Weed What Is An Essay Thesis Essay Hook Examples Race And Ethnicity Essay Frederick Douglass Essay Need Someone To Write My Essay Essay On Women Entrepreneurs Good Psychology Essay Topics Essay Website Comparative Politics Essay How To Start An Argumentative Essay Proposal Essay Essay On Childhood Days Essay Writing For Scholarships Diversity Scholarship Essay Immigration Essay Outline Essay On I Have A Dream Speech Book Review Essays Example Thesis Statements For Essays How To Write A Descriptive Essay Robert Cormier Heroes Essay Essay On Nature Learning Theory Essay Essay Writing Site Graduate School Admission Essay Samples Everyman Essay Living Abroad Essay Critiquing Qualitative Research Essay Example Of Short Story Analysis Short Stories With Surprise Endings A Comparison And Contrast Essay Examples Each One Teach One Essay Critical Lens Essay Example Essay About Natural Disasters Kite Runner Essays Essays On Empathy Stephen King Essays Language And Identity Essay How To Write An Essay Essay What Is A Critical Thinking Essay The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe Essay Starting Essays Personal Hero Essay My Favorite Sport Essay Affirmative Action Persuasive Essay West Point Admissions Essay Afrikaans Essays Essay Of Grandmother Servant Leadership Essay Argumentative Essays On Gun Control Write An Analytical Essay Macbeth Power Essay Good Narrative Essay Example For Descriptive Essay Personal Memoir Essay Examples Do My Essay For Me Free Classroom Behavior Essay Essay Share Interview Essay Essay About My Teacher My Hero Why Did Germany Lose World War 2 Weight Training Essay National Flag Of India Essay Life Philosophy Essay A Level Essay Writing Jay Gatsby Character Analysis Essay Macbeth Essay Ideas Abortion Essays Pro Choice The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down Essay Essay On Army Essay On Irony Should Abortion Be Allowed Essay What Is Your Future Plan Essay Essays On Brave New World Causes Of World War 2 Essay Essay On Martin Luther King My Friend Essay Essay About Water Pollution Persuasive Essay On Hunting Simple Essay For Kids Brokeback Mountain Essay Art Exhibition Essay Chicago Essay Style Essays On Racial Discrimination Essay On Biodiversity Pro Euthanasia Essay Criminal Justice Essays Cohesive Essay Quick Essay Topics Essay On Mother Teresa In Hindi World Bank Essay Essay On Nuclear Weapons Interactive Essay Writing Comparative Essay Outline The American Civil War Essay Energy Essay Scholarship Essay Sample

0 Thoughts to “Social Class Discrimination Essays

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *