Life Chances is a theory propounded by famous sociologist Max Weber. This term embraces the description of opportunities and recourses that one gets to improve the prevailing condition of one’s life. Opportunities in this context refer to one’s ability to access resources both visible and intangible goods like food, shelter clothes, and education and health services respectively.
Weberian’s theory of life chances is the extension of some of Karl Marx’s ideas. They both agreed on the necessity of economic factors in our life but Weber explained this theory with more detail. For him, social equality and social mobility are very important aspects to live a prosperous life. Many random factors are affecting our life chances like age, race, ethnicity or gender but there are certain non-random factors also. These non-random factors are social class, status, caste, political influence and so on. Undoubtedly, economic factors play a crucial role as it provides resources to grab more chances in life. We cannot even generalize these aspects for everyone. “Life chances” is a subjective and abstract term and it gets influenced by social stratification in many ways.
This theory stands for goals that are yet to be achieved entirely. We desire many chances. For Example, if we are born into a rich family then our life chances like are more as compared to one brought up in a middle-class family. There is also a difference in their aspirations. Rich class people need more luxurious advantages while for middle-class strata a normal thing can be a life chance such as a decent job with a monthly salary INR 50,000. Further, Weber expands it and relates these life chances with our lifestyle.
Lifestyle defines our way of living. In the sociological term, lifestyle connects our habits with several social dimensions. According to psychologist Alfred Adler, the basic character of a person is established in his/her early childhood. Various factors affect our lifestyle like economic factors, place of living, our values and preferences, social status and so on.
Earlier this study focuses only on social structure and our position in it. But later, it has been comprehended in detail. Accordingly, the social dimension started explaining our lifestyle more broadly by using social status as a distinctive element of status that is strictly connected with prestige. Lifestyle is so important because it is a visible dimension of our living standards. Our town, work, culture, income, etc. are sub-parts of a social system only. Many psychological conditions also influence it. Our attitudes, interests, practices, and principles affect our image in front of others. There is always our thought process which cannot be ignored. Apart from it, our actions are also fundamental in explaining our lifestyle. For example, we often use physical objects like expensive vehicles to articulate our social standards.
With time the study related to these areas is broadening its horizon. The composition of culture and tradition always includes the number of life changes that we get in a lifetime and its results that whether we use them as our lifestyle or not.