Since early childhood, every person is influenced by social environment and culture of her parents and family. In this case, class location and race are the main factors which have an influence on social position and opportunities of individuals. Low class location prevents people to obtain social respect and opportunities available for middle and high class citizens. In contrast, high social position of parents creates opportunities for a child to enter prestigious school and receive good high education. Critics prove that there are interconnections between biography of a person, the social structure and culture of her family or social environment.
Classes exist in a given society to the extent that there are significant links between these three levels of social life: if economically determined positions correlate significantly with people’s lived experience and consciousness, and if both of these have a significant bearing on how they behave as consumers, workers or citizens – on how they live, the organizations they join, the parties they support, and so on.
For instance, it is difficult for working class families to give good education for their children. It means that they visit pre-school courses and sections for low class families: they go to low prestigious schools in contrast to middle class children.
My family traditions and values have influenced my biography and cultural values. Similar to my parents, I visited prestigious secondary school and then entered the University. My life and career goals bear resemblance with my parents’ life and expectations influenced by class location and culture.
It is important to note that some decades ago, schools created greater barriers for minority groups of students. This problem was typical for low class white families, but racial differences worsened and deepened this problem. These problems forced many young people to behave violently against society which resulted in civil disobedience. As a cultural element, rap music represents social movement against poverty, mass unemployment and negative experience of black youth. The main focus of rap is on wealth and crime influencing people’s morals and appealing for trendy life style. Influenced by this music, as a cultural phenomenon, young people from low social classes become gangsters and criminals unable to find a job and earn for living (Birdsall, Graham, 2000).
It is possible to say that my biography is influenced by social structure of the society. Following there are three ‘levels’ of social life which determine: economic structure and relations between individuals, individuals and society, individuals and the state. This level consists of sets of relations in the sphere of the production and exchange of goods and services. In many cases, my biography is influenced by these relations determining class location and level of income. The second level is social relations that are independent of and external to individuals’ wills and that define ’empty’ positions that they fill. The third level – the inter-subjective or meaningful level of social consciousness means the world from within’ of lived experience that comprises how individuals see themselves and one another. At this level, my actions are determined by individual and collective preferences of my neighborhood, in various spheres of life, encompassing my behavior as a private person, consumer, worker, citizen and life style and voting behavior (in future). For instance, the biography of individuals form middle class differs greatly from people coming from low classes. I received good education and hope to find a well-paid job; I have a different life style and preferences; I visit prestigious doctors and have life insurance; I live in prestigious region and my parents have stylish cars, etc. (Birdsall, Graham, 2000).
Culture is another important social sphere which has a profound impact on biographies of people. Cultural factors exert the major influence on behavior of people as it is the fundamental determinant of a person’s wants and behavior. Culture is shared by members the American society and the behavioral traits of which it is comprised are manifested in a social institutions and artifacts. It is something that shapes behavior or structures cat s perception of the world. A deep penetration of Europeans norms and values combined with Native Americans traditions create a system of meanings shaped by the society in general. Culture of my parents determines the language I speak and religious beliefs. I follow family traditions and wear informal cloths in public. For me, success and personal freedom are the most important elements of social values. To some extent, language and ethical differences permit people great liberty to entertain whatever culture they wish in their private lives but heavily constrain the exercise of religiously inspired values in the public arena. For instance, in the USA cultural diversity has a great impact on biographies of people and social relations. Similar to my parents, most of people prefer to marriage a person belonging to the same culture as his/her family. In contrast, a person coming from India or Japan would have a different biography influenced by her/his cultural traditions. For instance, cultural traditions of Hindus can be identified with a philosophy of life which involves peculiar social relations and views. In many Asian families, women play a secondary role in contrast to men. Most Japanese and Latino try to find jobs in their ‘regions’ in order to keep cultural traditions and norms. On the other hand, it limits their professional opportunities and social mobility.
In sum, there are interconnections between the social structure and culture which determine life of a person and his/her biography. In many cases, people are limited by their social class and culture unable to break social stereotypes. In other words, upward social mobility becomes impossible for poor social classes, deprived many persistent, hard-working and talented personalities a chance to compete on the labor market. Psychological characteristics and stereotype formation is therefore likely to involve efforts to differentiate groups, and where social reality allows people to positively distinguish themselves from other national or cultural group.