Class and Identity

15 Apr

Our sense of class and identity has developed notably in the past 100 years. Two factors which caused this change are the change in demographics in Europe, and the general discontent of the lower class. Such a scene can be experienced in Azerbaijan because although social class distinctions exist they are certainly loosening.

In every society class distinctions exist, and an extremely large percent of society belongs in the lower class. This is why if there is discontent among the lower class, then such distinctions can be perished. The reason why in the past 100 years there have been a general development in identity is because of revolutions and violence caused mostly by the lower class. Class distinctions also have significantly loosened especially in the west however it still exists. For example as one can observe the social structure in Pygmalion has become awfully loose and even members of the middle class do not respect the boundaries set by it.

Secondly the changing demographics in Europe and around the world led to an increased amount of income. Certain members of the lower class became rich as high class members, but they did not speak, dress, or behave in the way which the higher class behaved. It is obvious that Eliza Doolittle is poor but she is willing to apply for a job and at least become upper lower class or “genteel poor”. In addition Mr. Doolittle Eliza’s father also becomes rich by accident, although he cannot speak or behave like the middle or higher class members. He has the financial status but lacks the other properties. This led to the loosening of class structure and as people realised that the only difference between classes were speech, clothes, and behaviour class distinctions loosened further. Changing demographics also lead to unfair income distribution as well as loosening class distinctions. An example from Pygmalion is how Mr. Higgins can afford to give Mr. Doolittle £5 while on the other hand Mr. Doolittle considers this a large enough amount to sacrifice his morals and sell his daughter.

Azerbaijan is a relatively young state and it was created in 1991, and because of the Soviet occupation for more than 70 consecutive years Azerbaijan was influenced to stray from class distinctions. As Azerbaijan advanced into the late 1990’s class distinctions became more obvious and rigid. In Pygmalion the same situation is experienced because at the time class distinctions were loosening. A strong connection which one can make with Pygamlion is the language distinction. In Azerbaijan the relatively conservative higher class population prefers to maintain the Azerbaijani language while some members mostly nouveau riche prefer to speak Russian.

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