Sociology Index

CLOSED-CLASS SOCIETY

A closed-class society is a society where it is improbable that individuals will be able to change their social class location usually because class location is ascribed. A classic example of a closed-class society without social mobility is the Hindu society under the caste system. Closed-class society is that society where there is little or no scope of an individual to shift from his original class position. In a closed-class society without social mobility as in the Hindu society, only with rare exceptions could individuals leave the caste into which they were born. In an open class ideology system, people are ranked by achieved status, whereas in a closed class society, people are ranked by ascribed status. Societies which use slavery are an example of low social mobility because, for the enslaved individuals, mobility is practically nonexistent.

In a closed-class society there is pronounced tendencies toward radicalism and revolution. A closed-class society is one in which position is fixed at birth and cannot be changed by individual achievement. Is America really a classless society? Nancy Isenberg's book, White Trash, argues that the notion of a classless society is a myth that hides an ugly truth about how we view the poor.

"Without some kind of balance system, it would be very easy for us to end up in a closed-class society, where the "American Dream" is closed to the latter generations."

In open-class ideology caste privileges are abolished, work is provided for all, and rewards are based on merit. If United States had continued to exist as a slave society or a closed class society, there likely would not have been a need for the development of counseling services.

We will find closed-class society where class location is ascribed. The opposite of social mobility. A closed-class society does not allow social mobility. These two types of social class systems represent the ends of a continuum.

“What I call middle-class society is any society that becomes rigidified in predetermined forms, forbidding all evolution, all gains, all progress, all discovery. I call middle-class a closed society in which life has no taste, in which the air is tainted, in which ideas and men are corrupt. And I think that a man who takes a stand against this death is in a sense a revolutionary.” - Frantz Fanon.

The emergence of the European middle classes and the progressive transformation of that closed class society into a pyramid of classes with opportunities for Vertical Social Mobility, which occurred from the mid-nineteenth century and accelerated after the Second World War until the ‘70’s, stimulated there a long period of re-shaping or reconstruction of the education systems.

A Classless Society: Britain in the 1990s - by Alwyn W. Turner.
"Like his previous histories of the Seventies and Eighties, A Classless Society is an extraordinarily comprehensive work. Turner writes brilliantly, creating a compelling narrative of the decade" - IRVINE WELSH, Daily Telegraph.