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If your social status changed drastically (for instance, you won the lottery or you...

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rddpatricia | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:00 PM via web

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If your social status changed drastically (for instance, you won the lottery or you lost your job) overnight, what type of benefits and challenges would you see having to deal with, and what is the importance of social structure within in this context?

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 18, 2013 at 1:14 PM (Answer #1)

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This is a complex question with many moving parts. Here is one very important sociological insight. 

If a person lost or gained a lot of money overnight, then there will be issues of sudden social change (assuming that the person was middle class). This will create what sociologist call status inconsistency. This basically means that the person does not fit comfortably in his or her social class, which causes anxiety or the feeling of displacement. 

The middle class person, who becomes suddenly rich is still part of the middle class socially, but he or she is now very wealth. This creates social tension. Similarly, if this person becomes poor suddenly, this also creates social tension. This person now no longer comfortably falls into his or her peer group. 

In this context, the person might look for another social context to fit his or her needs.  

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