Class (social class)

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A large category or group of people within a system of social stratification who have a similar socioeconomic status in relation to other socioeconomic segments of the society or community. A social class is not necessarily organized (but may become so, as in the case of the Marxian working-class), but the individuals who compose it are relatively similar in political, economic, educational, occupational, and prestige status. Those who are part of the same social class have similar life-chances. Max Weber has defined class in this manner, i.e., in terms of the expectations in life that an individual may have. One's class position yields certain probabilities (or life-chances) as to the fate one may expect in society. Of course, the Marxian definition of social class is in terms of a class's objective position or relation to the means of production in society - thus, not being explicitly concerned with other sociological criteria like occupational status, income, etc.

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