Social class is the main form of social stratification (Klasseneinteilung)
in British society.People are graded according to economic and status differences. Some people are wealthier
than others and some receive greater prestige than others. The differences between social classes are not clearly marked
and they merge into one another (social mobility). But still social classes in Britain are more markedly
distinguished than in Germany. This has to do with Britain being a monarchy which has had a great influence
on forming social classes (e.g. the gentry, princes, lords, dukes, earls etc.). The rewarding of royal titles by the monarch
twice a year (sirs, OBE's etc.) also has to do with social status.
Today one can broadly group the British society into the following classes:
For the last several years another class has inconspicuously developed which politicians have always
ignored. This is the so-called 'yob'-class, i.e. people who usually take advantage of social benefits, but
reject any recognition of authority; they live and act outside the law. This phenomenon has continously
been pointed at by the former editor of The Sunday Times, Andrew Neil.
|The upper class
||The 'establishment' or 'ruling class'
|The middle class
||The 'service class'
||Managers and professionals (high pay); computer and Internet specialists; the
so-called 'yuppies', the young urban professionals
||The 'intermediate groups'
||Routine white-collar workers in offices, banks, shops and caring services (low pay)
|The working class
||The 'new working class'
||Better-paid manual workers in secure employment in newer light industries
||The 'traditional working class'
||Less-skilled, less well-paid manual workers; job increasingly under threat as industry contracts
||The poor; the unemployed