A social class is a group or hierarchical arrangement of individuals in society, usually defined by wealth and occupation. This concept in the social sciences and political theory centers on models of social stratification in which people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories, the most common being the upper class, middle class, and lower class.
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- Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author
A - F
- In the status game, then, the working-class child starts out with a handicap and, to the extent that he cares what the middle-class persons think of him or has internalised the dominant middle-class attitudes toward social class position, he may be expected to feel some 'shame'.
- Albert K. Cohen. Delinquent Boys: The Culture of the Gang, New York: The Free Press, 1955. p. 110
- The great goal of the backlash is to nurture a cultural class war, and the first step in doing so, as we have seen, is to deny the economic basis of social class. After all, you can hardly deride liberals as society’s "elite" or present the GOP as the party of the common man if you acknowledge the existence of the corporate world — the power that creates the nation’s real elite, that dominates its real class system, and that wields the Republican Party as its personal political system.
- Thomas Frank, What's the Matter with Kansas? (2004) (p. 128).
G - L
- The dominant, almost general, idea of revolution — particularly the Socialist idea — is that revolution is a violent change of social conditions through which one social class, the working class, becomes dominant over another class, the capitalist class.
- Emma Goldman, My Disillusionment in Russia (1923)
- Art is neither the monopoly of a nation, nor of a social class, or the major age. People of outstanding talents and fine feelings, people who are not lacking in imagnation and the sense of creation, as well as good will-power. They are privileged to be involved in ART.
- Sadik Kaceli, Monografi Kaceli, May 1945.
M - R
- Mimi used to tell me that anyone who said they were middle class probably wasn’t.
- Ian R. MacLeod, Snodgrass, in Gardner Dozois (ed.) The Year's Best Science Fiction: Tenth Annual Collection, p. 493 (Originally published in In Dreams, edited by Paul J. McAuley and Kim Newman)
- Scientific observers often view living systems as existing in spaces which they conceptualize or abstract from the phenomena with which they deal. Examples of such spaces are:
- Pecking order in birds or other animals.
- Social class space...
- Social distance among ethnic or racial groups.
- Political distance among political parties of the right and left.
- These conceptual and abstracted spaces do not have the same characteristics and are not subject to the same constraints as physical space. Each has characteristics and constraints of its own. These spaces may be either conceived of by a human being or learned about from others
- James Grier Miller, Living Systems: Basic Concepts (1969) p. 53; About conceptual or abstracted spaces
- And when you have a society where 50 million people work for a living but have no health insurance, where millions have lost their savings and pensions to the Wall Street scandals, where no one feels secure that his job will be his job a year from now-well, those aren't race issues, (although African-Americans are the ones hit the hardest) those are bread-and-butter nightmares facing all Americans who are not privileged to be in the upper 10 percent. They are issues of class, and once the discussion turns to class, those in charge seek to shut it down as quickly as possible. Why? Because class is what will unite white and black and brown in this country and, God forbid, if that day ever comes ... well, let's just say the powers that be will be wringing there hands over much more than some smart-ass comic strip.
- In all sectors of society there should be roughly equal prospects of culture and achievement for everyone similarly motivated and endowed. The expectations of those with the same abilities and aspirations should not be affected by their social class.
- In classical cultures, an ascended class had to justify itself before those now below in the social structure. But the culture revolution of our time has eliminated this need for class- as well as self-justification. Nevertheless, those below still seek to emulate the ascendant social class, without being convinced of its superiority.
- Philip Rieff, The Triumph of the Therapeutic (1966)
S - Z
- The institution of a leisure class has emerged gradually during the transition from primitive savagery to barbarism; or more precisely, during the transition from a peaceable to a consistently warlike habit of life.
- Propriety requires respectable women to abstain more consistently from useful effort and to make more of a show of leisure than the men of the same social classes. ...Her sphere is within the household, which she should "beautify," and of which she should be the "chief ornament." The male head of the household is not currently spoken of as its ornament. ...attention to conspicuous waste of substance and effort should normally be the sole economic function of the woman.
- In case you haven’t noticed, we … dehumanize our own soldiers, not because of their religion or race, but because of their low social class. Send 'em anywhere. Make 'em do anything. Piece of cake.
- Kurt Vonnegut, I Love You, Madame Librarian (2004)