What does false consciousness mean?

What then does false consciousness mean?

Stratification Reflects Perpetual Inequality Based on Economic Exploitation

False consciousness is the lack of awareness that one would have concerning his or her membership in a particular social class, e.g., rich, middle class, working class, etc. This false consciousness is considered problematic because individuals who lack this awareness have distorted perceptions of their place in society and this can have negative consequences. The concept of false consciousness relates to conflict theory as it is a form of oppression for lower-classes without the lower class being aware of being there. A good example of false consciousness can be seen in the America ideology that “all men are created equal” or that any person can rise to higher positions. While there is some opportunity in these ideas the reality is that it is very difficult to move from one class to another due to a variety of factors. The belief of lower class Americans that these ideas are true is a false consciousness. The ideas are promoted by the upper classes in order to obscure the reality that they are not easily able to shift into higher classes. In this way, subordinate groups are able to be exploited and dominated by high social systems in order to maintain this system. False consciousness provides those being exploited with a sense that this is not happening.


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Triola Vincent. Wed, Jan 20, 2021. What does false consciousness mean? Retrieved from

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