Do Americans have a weak sense of class consciousness?
Do Americans have a weak sense of class consciousness? Is class consciousness the
same for the upper class and the middle class? Why? Choose a current event that
best captures your analysis of class consciousness and provide a link to the
newspaper article you are referring to if applicable.
The contemporary concept of class is as old as the socio-economic and political system known
as capitalism. Within the modern Western societies such as America, social
stratification of people is generally organized into three major stratums namely: upper
class, middle class and lower class. In essence, social stratification of people into the
above named layers entails categorization of people into groups founded up on
common socio-economic circumstances and, a relational set of disparities that has
social, political, ideological and economic perspectives (Pine forge, 2006, p.2). This task
aims to find out whether Americans have a weak sense of class consciousness and
establish if class consciousness is the same for the upper class and the middle class.
Americans sense of class consciousness
Literary, consciousness refers to an individual’s notion of being who is self-aware. For
Marxists, class consciousness is an individual’s political sense of self (Little, 2009, para
2). It is generally believed that Americans at best has a very weak sense of class
consciousness. From a comparative viewpoint, it is said that the United States
Americans has a weak or no class consciousness particularly among the working class
(Shortell, 1999, para 1).
Scholars opine that the American worker has not had the kind of sense of consciousness
manifested by their European counterparts. However, even though there is an evident
weakness of class consciousness among the American workers, labor historians assert
that American workers have a sense of their interests as workers and that they
comprehend methods used by the powerful in order to ensure that they remain
powerless (Shortell, 1999, para 3). Shortell contends that when persons understand
their life experiences as shaped and constrained by their social position, then their
sense of being is literary class-based.
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