Social class is an interesting topic to discuss. With out consider the influence of government, politicians and economy; it seems to me that class is all about how much money you have. In my perspective if you have financial resources you can have access to a good education, nice clothes, and etiquette training. The PBS video “People like us” shows some interesting relationships. For example, the lady who married a doctor was taking lessons on how to dress, how to use silverware, plates and cups, how to talk to people in social events. Why was she taking those lessons? First, she had money to pay a “social consultant”, and second, she wanted to be part of a high level social class.
I agree that it is difficult to be part of a social group that you (or your family) have never belonged. But, it is not impossible. If you decide to be part of a social group you have to work hard to be accepted. It does not matter if you want to migrate from the middle to the high level class, or from the low to the middle class. What matters is your financial resources and the network that you want to develop.
The issue of class reminds me Max Weber when he argues that class is an economic and material variable. His ideas are related to ownership of financial resources and possession of knowledge in the market place. People with higher levels of skills, knowledge, and ability can command higher wages than people with just a basic level of skill.
I agree with Weber’s ideas, and living in a capitalist and competitive world we need to have skills if we want to thrive. In order to move from one class to another people must invest time, money and education. But sometimes what happens is that people do not have enough ambition and opportunities in life to change their social class.
Talking about status, I must cite Weber again. He argues that status is something based on power. Power is something that depends on how you are viewed by others. Occupational prestige has a great influence in our society. When you meet someone the first question is: What is your name? The second question is: “What do you do for living?” The status represents how powerful you are in a specific society.
In order to have status you must have money. So, it is a virtuous cycle.
At the end what is important is if you are happy with yourself and your life. In this case class does not matter.
Take a look at the movie :http://www.pbs.org/peoplelikeus/about/index.html