Class structure

By February 8, 2019 Sociology

SYG 2000
select any family and explain and analyze according to class structure.

In this assignment, an upper middle class family will be thoroughly analyzed and looked into in order to gain a better understanding of the class structure in sociology. The family taken into account is a well known famous family in the recent past in Sri Lanka. The Rajapakse Family.The Sri Lankan family unit is among the most sacred entities in a society, with its many cultural norms, traditions and customs. However a family unit 20 years ago and the same family generation living in the year 2018 could be vastly different; for better or for worse. Conclusions will be derived from examining the family’s background and ancestry. Example- their family tree, examples of wealth gain and loss from the decisions they make, children’s education and behavior in accordance to parents upbringing, etc.

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Closely look into the sanctity of a Sri Lankan family unit
Look into the family in question in detail
Sociologically analyze the family, and identify their class.

Look into journal articles, websites, and sources about the family history and background and sociologically analyze.

Briefly explain the different classes available in Sri Lankan society.

Critically analyze which class the family belongs to and give reasons as to why they belong to that class.

Societies are classified into cast and class system according to sociology. While caste system focuses more on traditional and limited functions of a society, the class system which was more or less introduced to the world by modern America (as per the famous saying of “The American Dream”) is followed by most of the world in the present. This assignment will focus on a family based on the class system. Class system is mainly divided into:
The upper class
The middle class
The working class
The lower class
The underclass
In a society, individuals and their families are divided into these classes based on a variety of factors, this could be the income generated by the parents, place they live in, their occupations, the education given to the children, etc. However in this paper, a family with “old money” will be analyzed and introduced. Old money is the wealth passed down for generations through their ancestors and bloodlines. Someone born to a family with old money will have to work little to achieve stability in life as their future is already set in stone. However this is not to say every family with old money will choose to do so. As history has proved, a family with old money tends to be in higher positions in society, with a good stance and are generally famous- especially in a small country such as Sri Lanka.

The Rajapakse Family
A name that needs no introduction, the Rajapakse family rose to fame when Mahinda Rajapakse was elected the 6th president of Sri Lanka in 2005. However as always is the case with families who have old money, he was not the first in his extended family to pursue a career in politics. Born to a father who was a member of parliament, Rakapakse was not unfamiliar when it came to entering politics. He was from a family rich in wealth and prestige with prominent political stance and was working in roles that suited his social status and class- the upper class. A common trait in the upper class families is the children getting the best education there is due to the fact that their parents could afford it. Therefore Mahinda was able to get a good education and become a lawyer. CITATION Edi17 l 1033 (Editors, 2017)Individuals born into families of wealth all have similar characteristics. Unlike middle and lower class, children born into upper class have a sense of authority and power which comes with their wealth. They get the sense that they could do anything and get away with anything, which is sometimes true, but mostly it paves the way for opportunities that are seldom available to the lower class families. This is why most of the upper class families consist of doctors, lawyers and professors.

Mahinda Rajapakse’s family
As we discussed, it is stated that the offspring born to wealthy upper class families are automatically immediately inheriting that wealth from their parents. This is especially true when it comes to the former president’s sons- Namal, Yoshitha and Rohitha Rajapakses’. Embracing their father’s power and prestige, these sons are famous for their daring and rebellious escapades and fancy cars in which they dwell in luxury. The elder son follows in his father’s footsteps, being a promising young politician for the future. The middle son is an officer of Sri Lankan Navy and the youngest became famous for studying astronomy in the United States of America. There was a period of time when he strived to bring Sri Lanka into the space and astronomy industry which didn’t work out, but it goes to show that with enough wealth and power anything is possible. These are not privileges available to the common man, so it is obvious that social class plays a major role in determining someone’s life and future.
Importance of social class
Whether we like it or not, society is divided into the social stratification that is social classes. Although not visible during the hunting and gathering eras- when everyone was considered equal, it became quite prominent with the emergence of the new world. Every society in the world is divided into different social classes, which will ultimately determine your social position, status by taking into factors such as income generated, the current occupation, the education provided for the children, etc. This is a vast contrast when compared to caste system, where the spectrum or freedom of choice was quite limited and you were stuck with what should and shouldn’t be done. The benefit of the class system is that there is more freedom of choice, making of your own decisions and personal choices is highlighted, albeit being restricted to your own social class. However you can always go further up the ladder in social class if you work hard and get results. That’s the beauty of the class system.

When examining the Rajapakse family who are a prominent and powerful family in Sri Lanka, several factors were taken into consideration. The source of power was identified as family money being passed down from generation to generation, thereby ensuring a secure future with ample wealth for future generations to acquire. The power that comes with being born healthy produces individuals more aware and more confident to face the world, which could be a contributing factor to his successful tenure as President of Sri Lanka for 10 years. Not to mention ability to open up new airports, ports and permanently halt a 30 year civil war. CITATION Wik16 l 1033 (Wikipedia, 2016) He has done a great service to this nation and a contributing factor for this could be a result of his upbringing. Although he ultimately failed to remain in office and had to accept defeat, he still has his social status and name among people which he built during his years as president. Therefore social class in social stratification is vastly important when determining the social standing of a family and to gain a better understanding of how it affects their actions.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Anon., n.d. s.l.: s.n.

Editors, T., 2017. Mahinda Rajapaksa Biography. Online Available at:
Wikipedia, 2016. Mahinda Rajapaksa. Online Available at:


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