The Impacts of Social Class Structure on Success

Clinton Suh


The common misconception that a select few individuals attain success solely through an inborn talent is a prevalent idea within the accepted attitudes of society today. Although upon further speculation, this notion of success is revealed to be a mere seized opportunity by those characterized within the upper socio-economic status. The perceived American Dream or the idea that the United States is a land of endless opportunity is proven to be a fallacy, falling short to the hidden class advantages that are present in the child rearing of the upper class. The hidden class advantages present a 1990’s study conducted by K. Anders Ericsson who investigates the theory stating that ten thousand hours of devoted practice is the key to master a particular skill or talent. The question of whether or not this theory is the explanation for those particular athletes who have achieved professional statuses or for students who surpass their peers, is analyzed thoroughly through real life case studies of those who have achieved success. From this, one may propose this question: is excellence an innate ability or the product of an individual’s social class environment? Although predetermination is a widely popular idea, studies show that it is the characteristics of an individual’s inborn social structure that influence the branches of the decisions that ultimately lead to a successful or unfruitful future. This success is not biologically destined but socially determined. It is the fortune of being raised in an upper class social stratification which enables one to possess the necessary opportunity and means to be excellent, for it is in this stratification that children are given the necessary benefits that enable them to succeed. The research conducted will show that one’s social environment plays a vital role in attaining success. Studies affiliated with the research further examine the perceptions of excellence and analyzes the role in which an individual’s socio-economic status plays in the accumulation of ten thousand hours of dedicated practice. This research not only uses observations and existing studies, but also utilizes qualitative methods through interviews and demographic data to show that success is the result of an individual’s social upbringing. A number of exceptionally successful figures are explored, uncovering the social factors that lead to their successes. The findings within this study support the idea that excellence is not genetically predetermined rather obtained through the opportunities that are placed within an individual’s life.


Success; Stratification; Status

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