Social es are represented by hierarchical differences that exist between persons or groups within a society. Karl Marx and Max Weber are to be credited with the modern development of the ideologies and structures of social class. Marx posed the idea that social inequalities (the effect of society’s being divided into classes) became polarities the closer toward capitalism a society comes (Savage, 71). While Marx argued that it is possible for a person to perceive the class to which he belongs, Weberians contend that no significant and necessary tie exists between economic and social class. However, Weber did argue that the public esteem of a profession, though unconnected to economic class does structure a person’s life chances (Savage, 73). In mapping the prospects of this nursing student, a future professional, one does see where the possibility strongly exists that economic and social opportunities will be readily available. Because of the socio-economic connections (because of social and market structures) these factors will have an effect on the future life chances of such a person (Savage, 74).
Social class structures and demarcations have been somewhat eroded with the advent of generalised education, yet the distinctions still exist. As an educated person, one will have the ability and opportunity or chance (as propounded by Weber) to access not just different economic classes, but other groups and cliques whose defining characteristics depend on the very education that they have in common. Mike Savage has pointed out that persons (termed human capital) usually get paid an amount that reflects the amount of investment placed in the development of their skills (67). As a nurse, one will be a professional and will most likely get paid accordingly. In 1998, professionals earned an approximately 95% more wages than their clerical counterparts. Since the 1970’s when tax breaks were given to those higher earners who were once taxed much higher than others (Savage, 66), becoming a professional has almost invariably meant that economic standing will be favourable. Therefore, education will positively affect the chances of having an attractive and supra-adequate income.
A favourable economic standing will mean several things. It will allow this professional to live, work, and spend leisure in more exclusive environments, as the ability to pay higher prices for things will allow for improved service and quality. As a professional, one will be able to garner more than just the basic healthcare given to the average person, as one will be in possession of the funds that will attract this care. Preventative care, such as knowledge of and ability to purchase healthier foods, will augment the effects of this, as will the ability to live in a wholesome environment and to take regular restful vacations. Especially as a nurse, the professional will come into contact with other influential persons in the healthcare sector who will be able to provide the best healthcare in the event of serious illnesses. The ability to pay for such extra care will reflect in the lives of spouses, children, and other family members and friends.
Along the line of family, it is also likely that the education pursued now will have the effect of narrowing the candidates for marriage. It is probable that, as a nurse, one will seek out and be accepted by other educated professionals. It is often the case that knowledge allows the inclusion and exclusion of persons from societal groups. As a nurse one will most likely feel more comfortable in a society made up of others like oneself, and in turn proceed to form lasting relationships with those members of society. This in effect, seems like a restructuring of class based on educational attainment. That might very well be what such a professional should expect. As educational attainment often brings economic success, the future of such a one who is educated should for that very reason lead to a healthier, happier and more fulfilled life.
Savage, Mike. Social Exclusion and Class Analysis. Blackwell. http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/ou/Social_Differences/Sample/samplechapter.pdf