How Ethnographies Explain the Construction of Social Class

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Anthropology

Document 1

Precisely ethnographic research has been on various groups of people paying attention to various characteristics possessed by those people. Ethnographies have generally agreed on three major categories people in the society including; the upper class, middle class, and the lower class. This study digs deeper to elaborate on how ethnographies explain the construction of social class; considering the role of ethnographic research in the subject and the various aspects considered in ethnography that define social classes in the society. Ethnographic Research Ethnographic research has been substantial in gathering information about various people and/or groups of people in the society. The research has been thorough in explaining how various social classes are constructed owing to various reasons. These classes are defined by their income and influence on social and political matters among other factors.

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The lower class is majorly considered to be made up of proletariats, who have little income and have little influence on the direction of matters in the society. They form the voting blocs who can be swayed by the capitalists and petti-bourgeoisies to vote for them. This class contains workers of the industries and organizations owned and run by the capitalists and some of the petti-bourgeoisies (Lee, 2007). The lower class is considered to be poor and is depended on the middle and upper classes mostly for survival. The development of various aspects of culture and cultural beliefs has been an important subject to ethnographers since it grants them an opportunity to understand how culture directs the classification of people into social classes within a particular culture (Wolf, 2018).

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Bearers of cultures have a unique way of organizing their universe in order to have a culturally appropriate way of life. Ethnography indicates that culture follows some principle while organizing people into different classes (Cassidy, 2002). Through research, the ethnographers interact with the informants in setting determined by a particular culture in order to tell the exact semantic features that are used in classification of people into various social classes. The ethnographers have to observe the natural cultural events occurring within the setting while acting either as an active observer or a less active one. Class Lifestyle Ethnographers distinguish the role of different classes and their lifestyle. Cassidy (2002) studied the racing culture and families in Newmarket and gives insightful findings about the behavior of different people in the region.

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The elite of the racecourse consider some foods suitable while others unsuitable. On the contrary, some of the foods considered suitable by the elite of the racecourse are considered unsuitable by the workers. For instance, fish is one of the favorite foods for the elite members of the racecourse due to its nutritional value. Culture and lifestyle of the people helps in explaining how various social classes are constructed. Culture has a way of stratifying people into different categories which may include royals and common people. On the other hand, one’s lifestyle can be used to define their social class in the society. Lifestyle is directly related to behavior of people in different situations. These aspects grant an opportunity to ethnographers to elaborate how social classes are constructed.

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