Devine (1992), in her article titled 'Social Identities, Class Identity and Political Perspectives,' states that the notion of class as a salient social identity and the importance of other social identities have met considerable controversy. This controversy is divided into two opposing camps in which one claims that class and social identities play an important role in political perspectives and thus, there have been claims that class identity remains a relevant frame of reference in the daily lives of people…
There are also claims that the relevance of social identities is dependent to the context in which they are found, a subject which cannot be possibly explored by highly-structured interviews. Based on data gathered from a qualitative restudy of the Affluent Workers Series, it is inferred that many different identities govern the lives of people, such as a strong class identity coexisting at the same time. Laying these arguments, the article suggests that people's class identity remains the most important influence on how political perspectives are formed. Devine, along with the Essex Team which, is cited in the article concurs with this finding. Devine furthers that the subjective dimensions of class vis--vis class consciousness allows for members of a class to be aware of their collective interests who may be mobilized according to their class-based interests. However, there has been a decline in the interest in the subject of class in recent years in which a movement away from the theories of the founding theorists emerged, away from the nature of social class processes and class-based identities.
The article thus presents varying points of view related to th...
The author supports and substantiates her key arguments by stating that it is only through a thorough study of social class and social identity that political formation may be analysed, a subject which is gauged according to one's social and class identity.
Critical Assessment of Devine's Article
The arguments presented by Devine are compelling in that one poses the notion of class and social identity as decisive in creating a social human life and the corresponding conflicts and clashes found therein while another critics such claim as untrue. The latter seems to present a death of class along with a minimalist view of class identity. However, sociological theories and models prove the centrality of class identity as a product of social and economic environment, which consequently shapes the consciousness of people.
The argument that says of class as a non-salient element in society seems to forgo the analytical framework of class analysis and abandons the idea of distinct class identities or groups in its attempt to focus on individualized hierarchical differentiation (Bottero 2004). However, it is apparent that there are problems in viewing the construct of class in this fashion in that it only remains evident that the wider implications of inequality viewed as having to deal with individualized hierarchy rather than with 'class' is not yet fully explored (Bottero 2004). Devine and Waters (2004) state that there had been debates about whether working-class consciousness has been on a decline in the midst of economic, political, and social change. There is likewise a popular perceptions of the class structure in which people are placed in class category following the question as to whether these class categories mold their social and political penchant. ...
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