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A class identifies people as being members of a group based on some common attribute or circumstance. Although social scientists disagree upon a definition of social class, they agree that classes are not perceived to be equal in rank or social status. Hierarchy is evident in the terms most often used to identify class groups: upper, middle, working, and lower. Social class as defined by economic factors, such as wealth and occupation, appeared during the Industrial Revolution, when a new consciousness of the socially constructed nature of class emerged. The concept of class mobility was at the core of the 18th-century Enlightenment and shaped the role of research and evaluation in society. It was hoped that research and evaluation studies would point to the causes ...

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