Social class and social status in the wider society


It is very diffi cult to discuss social class in the United States, because most people believe that they are “middle class” or will soon become so. One way to get the idea of social stratification across to high school students is to ask students to describe the informal but identifi able social “groups” in their school and who “belongs” to each group. Write the names of these groups on the board as they come in from the students. Then ask students to rank these groups in terms of which are “better” or “worse” to be identified with. Then ask students how easy or diffi cult it would be for a member of a “lower” group to “move up” to a more prestigious group. Discuss this phenomenon in terms of social class and social status in the wider society.


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