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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