Life chances

Life chances

Life chances.

Life chances: Max Weber, a sociologist defined life chances as the individuals’ opportunities to improve their life quality, and the extent to which a person has access to vital social resources such as good healthcare, job security, longevity, education, food, power, shelter among other society values.

Max Weber says that social classes are hierarchical structures and arrangement of people in the society as cultural or economic groups. Such social classes are determined by elements such as power, wealth, education, and prestige.

Some individuals are however, ascribed social class position at birth which in turn affects their life chances as defined above. This paper seeks to discuss how life chances may affect goals of an individual, ways in which life chances are irrelevant,

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it may not be relevant in determining a person’s living standards now or in future. The concept of life chances works differently in different social systems. For example, when access to healthcare is limited, a caste system believes that sickness is ordained by gods.

Access to healthcare is determined by amount of money a person possesses in a class system, someone will be treated even if they are perceived to belong to lower social class.

On the other hand, one is basically at the mercy of the government in a one party system. A person may be denied access to healthcare based on finances or ideology, but not due to social class.


Merton, R. K., & Sztompka, P. (2006). On social structure and science. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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