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SOC 200 The Forgotten Working Class Analysis

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Sociology

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Soc. 200
The Forgotten Working Class
JD Vance's short lecture addresses the concepts of upward mobility, social capital, and childhood
trauma. Vance explains these concepts by providing a personal story that explains the situation
facing working class individuals in South Ohio. He states that upward mobility in the United
States is not as high as people think and that the factor is geographically distributed. In his
lecture, Vance claims that upward mobility is geographically distributed since individuals living
in communities such as South Ohio are victims of unsupportive economic structures, brain drain,
and failing schools (TED, 2016). Apart from these factors, he adds that these areas have high
levels of hopelessness that leads to insecurities and makes it difficult for an individual to define
the best life choices due to the lack of social capital.
In this regard, he states that having the right social capital is an important success factor
that needs constant development. Regarding childhood trauma, Vance mentions that the tough
situations faced by working-class children such as watching parents get beaten, sleeping hungry,
and getting yelled at create a childhood trauma that increases the chances of drug addiction,
multigenerational problems, and the possibility of ending up jail (TED, 2016). He then concludes
by advising the community to give a helping hand to such children and offer assistance that
increases the upward mobility and enhances the social capital of these children.
In a reflection of Vance's personal story, the two most significant social institutions that
shaped his future opportunities were his family and the military. In this regard, Vance's family
shaped his future opportunities by offering him a stable home that supported education.
Moreover, his grandmother elaborated on that helped shape his decisions and perception about

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life. Therefore, his family shaped his opportunities since the institution supported his education,
which, in turn, gave him the hard skills to succeed in the 21st Century knowledge economy. On
the other hand, the military shaped his opportunities by providing Vance with the soft skills
required for success (TED, 2016). The reason for this is since the military acted as a crash course
for character education, a crucial success factor.
Vance describes social capital as the value attained from informal networks such as
colleagues, friends, and family. From this perspective, Vance lacked social capital before his
admission into Yale and the military since the social networks around him did not have access to
beneficial information (TED, 2016). Vance states that instead of the community providing him
with information that would assist in enhancing his success, South Ohio only taught him to shoot
a gun and shoot it well.
From Vince's story, the overall message is that social stratification increases the wealth
gap between low-income and upper-class people. The reason for this is since Vance's overall
message is that the only way to increase upward mobility for children in working-class societies
is by offering social capital and support. Concerning the larger indicators of stratification and
wealth, Vince's story shows that education, income, and the geographical location defines the
possibility of acquiring wealth and guides stratification (Lumenlearning, 2020). In this regard,
the "forgotten working class" in America refers to the fact that the community and government
ignore challenges faced by the working class (TED, 2016). These challenges are hopelessness,
childhood trauma, despair, low social capital, and cynicism regarding the future that contribute to
generational poverty among individuals in the social class.

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Soc. 200 The Forgotten Working Class JD Vance's short lecture addresses the concepts of upward mobility, social capital, and childhood trauma. Vance explains these concepts by providing a personal story that explains the situation facing working class individuals in South Ohio. He states that upward mobility in the United States is not as high as people think and that the factor is geographically distributed. In his lecture, Vance claims that upward mobility is geographically distributed since individuals living in communities such as South Ohio are victims of unsupportive economic structures, brain drain, and failing schools (TED, 2016). Apart from these factors, he adds that these areas have high levels of hopelessness that leads to insecurities and makes it difficult for an individual to define the best life choices due to the lack of social capital. In this regard, he states that hav ...
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