"Discuss the view that the social class system in Britain is now fragmented."

Essay by rubyroo February 2004

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It has been argued that the social class system is not as simple or straightforward as it used to be. Many years ago the class divisions were quite simple. The upper class consisted of Royalty; kings and queens, there were a few middle class, followed by the working class; peasants.

However, nowadays, the social class system is much more complex. Firstly, the upper class consists of many different groups of people such as Royalty, Capitalists and entrepreneurs, and jetsetters. They are very powerful and very wealthy members of society.

A capitalist, or entrepreneur, is a person, known as The Bourgeoisie, who owns companies (e.g. Sainsbury's, Asda etc), and has lots of capital (money) and many people working for them, known as The Proletariat. Richard Branson is an example of a capitalist, or entrepreneur, with his "Virgin" success. Richard Branson's "Virgin" company makes things ranging from coca cola to airlines; therefore the company brings in a lot of capital for Branson himself.

A jetsetter refers to a person who has earned vast amounts of money in the fields of media, sport or entertainment. For example, Elton John and Andrew Lloyd Webber. This type of income however, is unpredictable and so the wiser ones invest their earnings in capital assets such as land or stocks and shares.

Secondly, there are four types of middle class identity: Professionals - such as doctors and lawyers - tend to adopt an intellectual identity gained from a long and successful education. They value cultural assets such as knowledge, qualifications, lifestyle and values, and feel it is very important to pass these on to their children.

Managers in private businesses define success in terms of their standard of living and leisure pursuits. However, despite high pay and status, they are aware that their jobs are...