To understand how social class can affect an individual’s life experience, sociologists use the “status attainment model.” The simplified version of this model looks like this:
Social Class -> Education -> Job -> Social Class
According to this model, the social class into which you are born will influence the level and type of education you received, which influences the type of job you do, which feeds you right back into the same social class into which you were born. Depressing as it may sound, hard work and effort do not count; they are nowhere in the model! According to this model, the variable that has the greatest impact on your future social class is the social class into which you were born.
Social class is a position in society that is defined by four social characteristics and one economic characteristic. The four social characteristics are opportunities, behaviors, lifestyle, and social attitudes; the economic characteristic is type of job. Notice that there is no mention of income or money. Non-sociologists use money as a defining characteristic of social class, however this is not accurate.
Paper should be based on this personal story below:
Using your knowledge of social class and the social attainment model, you need to type up your best guess for Mr. Feeney’s social class. In addition to telling me what social class you believe he belongs, you MUST explain your reasons for putting him there. If you need to, refresh your memory on the social attainment model. It can be found in the Social Stratification block on the Moodle page.
Chuck Feeney was born April 23, 1931 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He attended Catholic school, and then joined the Army. Upon his discharge, Mr. Feeney attended Cornell University and majored in Hotel Administration. After graduation, he moved to New York City where he has lived since. He worked in retail sales at the airport, often times stocking shelves and waiting on customers. Mr. Feeney does not own a house or a car. Instead, he has lived in the same rented apartment most of his adult life and uses public transportation. NYC appeals to him because of the multitude of free activities. His favorite meal is frozen chicken potpie; on the few occasions he eats out, he can be found at the local diner. When questioned about his frugal lifestyle, his favorite response is “You can only wear one pair of shoe at a time.” Being of Irish descent, Mr. Feeney is an avid supporter of the Irish Republic Army and has a deep distrust of any government. His friends describe him as a very private person with a huge heart. Time magazine agreed as he was named runner-up for their “Person of the Year” in 1998 for giving away his personal fortune estimated at 2 billion dollars. In what social class does Mr. Feeney belong?
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