Social Stratification Essay

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A. What is Social Stratification?

1. Social stratification is defined as a system by which society ranks classs of people in a hierarchy a.

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There are four cardinal rules of stratification: • Social stratification is a characteristic of society — non merely due to single differences • Social stratification persists over coevalss

• Yet. most societies allow some kind of societal mobility or alterations in people’s place in a system of societal stratification • Social mobility may be upward. downward. or horizontal • Social stratification is cosmopolitan but variable ( it changes ) • Social stratification involves both inequality and beliefs 2. Social Stratification is patterned societal inequality. It is besides the unequal distribution of social resources. Stating that inequality is patterned indicates that the differences occur: a. on a wide-scale footing

b. with regularity c. and along lines of certain specific. identifiable features ( race. category. and gender ) 3. Stratification is normally based on three major premises: a. Power: the ability to enforce one’s will on others

b. Prestige: the regard given by others
c. Property: signifiers of wealth

4. Patterned: if we know whether a individual or group possesses or does non possess certain traits. so we will be able to foretell with sensible truth how this individual or group is likely to do in the societal hierarchy a. Social Hierarchy: A set of graded positions

5. Social Inequality: Some types of people consistently experience advantages in society while other types of people are consistently disadvantaged in our society a. Some members of our society are thought of as rich persons. and others are thought of as poor persons. B. The finding of who is socially advantaged and who is included among the ranks of the socially disadvantaged is based. in portion. on certain features these persons possess and. in portion. on how society values or devalues these features 6. Social stratification affects people’s lives and can be manifested in assorted ways in society. 7. Social Inequality is a structured and systematic phenomenon that affects people in assorted societal categories throughout their lives. a. Because of this patterned inequality. societal stratification affects people’s life opportunities: • Life Opportunities: Opportunities that persons do or make no hold to prosecute in certain activities. and the chances that they do or make non hold to carry through certain ends merely because of where they are located in the societal hierarchy ( ex. Smart kids born into wealth vs. hapless households )

B. Caste and Class Systems • People are divided into different groupings and their lives are structured harmonizing to these groupings. There are certain things that some people can non make. merely because their station in life prevents them from being able to make them. • Other people. in a different societal stratum. are able to make these things specifically because they occupy a more favourable place in the societal hierarchy. • Depending on how much single mobility is possible ; societies may be classified as either a caste system or a category system. 1. A caste system amounts to societal stratification based on attribution a. A caste system consists of a fixed agreement of strata from the most to the least privileged. with a person’s place determined unchangeably at birth. B. The most extended modern-day illustration of a caste system is found in India. particularly in rural countries. c. Caste favoritism is officially illegal but exists however. The traditional castes of India:

• Brahmans: largely priests and bookmans.
• Kshatriyas: warriors. swayers. and big landowners
• Vaishyas: merchandisers. husbandmans. and skilled craftsmans.
• Sudras: labourers and unskilled craftsmans.
• Untouchables: Sometimes called “untouchables. ” they are ranked so low that. technically. they are outside the caste system itself. d. Caste boundaries in



India are reinforced farther by the pattern of ritual pollution or ritual turning away. e. A caste system may be determined by many cultural and cultural factors. European imperial powers in Africa imposed a caste system based on skin colour: all Whites were in a higher place or caste than any nonwhite f. Caste systems form people’s lives in four important ways:

• Caste system mostly determines business
• Caste systems mostly mandate intermarriages
• Powerful cultural beliefs underlie caste systems
• Caste systems limit out group societal contacts


g. Although caste influences remains strong in India. the state of affairs is altering due to communicating. transit. industrialisation. and the growing of a in-between category. 2. In a category system. societal stratification is based on single accomplishment a. Class Systems. Peoples who can be considered equals in society because of their similar life opportunities. similar life fortunes. and similar chances. represent a societal category. • In a category system societal standing is determined by factors over which people can exercise some control. and some mobility does take topographic point. B. In a category system. position incompatibility. the grade of consistence of a person’s societal standing across assorted dimensions of societal inequality. is lower than in a caste system c. Structural societal mobility: a displacement in societal place of big Numberss of people due more to alterations in society itself than single attempts ( Ex. Computer Industry ) d. Stratification persists because it is backed up by an political orientation: cultural beliefs that straight or indirectly justify societal stratification

e. Ideological support for inequality. An political orientation or form of beliefs justifies societal inequality in the Unites States. which legitimizes or justifies a peculiar social agreement. • Ideological Hegemony: Refers to the control over the production of cultural symbols. • One of Karl Marx’s celebrated quotation marks is: “the governing thoughts of any era are the thoughts of the opinion category because they control the mental agencies of production. • Thus. the elite has many arms at their disposal in order to maintain society and the lower categories under control. Two of the chief ways are the usage of force. and the mass media. • Force: utilize the constabulary. military. National Guard. FBI. etc. • In the long tally. it depends on legitimacy in order to keep stratification. • This is the belief that bing societal and political establishments are the best one’s for society. • All opinion elect uses their place at the top of society to make an political orientation. • This is a complex set of beliefs. values. and norms. which rationalize and back up the elite’s power and privileges.

• The dominant or most of import and valued thoughts in history have been the thoughts of the opinion category. • The Government or large corporations do non needfully command the mass media. but the opinion category does act upon what sort of information we get and what sort of thoughts we listen to. • Anti-government and Anti-business positions are seldom expressed. and Hollywood gives us its portion of who are enemies are: both foreign and in this state. • Most of the media gives the same messages of free endeavor. equality of chance. individuality. difficult work. and consumerism. • This political orientation. taught through the mass media. is used by the elite to confound. distract. and split the lower categories.

• Marx argued that the category in power imposes its political orientation on the full society. and that false consciousness occurs when people in a category accept an political orientation that is contrary to the best involvement of that category. • Marx argued that false consciousness will be until the exploited stratum develops a sense of category consciousness. at which clip the stratum will go a true societal category and get down disputing the governing category. C. The Functions of Social Stratification 1. The Davis-Moore thesis is the averment that societal stratification is a cosmopolitan form because it has good effects for the operation of society 2. This thesis implies that societies become more productive as they approach meritocracy: a system of societal stratification based on personal virtue

3. Criticisms of Davis-Moore:

a. It is hard to stipulate the functional importance of a given business • Some are over/under rewarded ( EX. Baseball participant. entertainer vs. instructor. refuse aggregator ) b. Davis-Moore ignores how societal stratification can forestall the development of single endowments c. The theory besides disregard how societal inequality may advance struggle and revolution ( instability )

D. Stratification and Conflict 1. Karl Max: Class and Conflict

a. Marx proverb categories as defined by people’s relationship to the agencies of production • Capitalists ( middle class ) are people who own mills and other productive concern • The labor are people who sell their productive labour to the capitalists b. Critical rating:

• Marx’s theory has been tremendously influential • His work has been criticized for neglecting to acknowledge that a system of unequal wagess may be necessary to actuate people to execute their societal functions efficaciously 2. Three grounds suggested why Western Capitalism has non experienced a Marxist revolution: a. The capitalist category has fragmented and grown in size. giving more people a interest in the system B. The labor has besides changed

• Blue-collar businesss. lower prestigiousness work affecting largely manual labour. have declined • White-collar businesss. higher prestige work affecting largely mental activity. have expanded c. Workers are better organized than they were in Marx’s twenty-four hours – their brotherhoods have been able to contend for reform d. The authorities has extended assorted legal protections to workers e. Supporters of Marxist idea have responded:

• Wealth remains extremely concentrated • White-collar occupations offer no more income. security. satisfaction than blue-collar occupations did a century ago • Class struggle continues between workers and direction • The Torahs still favor the rich

3. Max Weber identified three distinguishable dimensions of stratification: Class. position. and power a. Max Weber argued that societal standing consists ( Of three parts or dimensions: category. which he regarded every bit determined chiefly by economic standing or wealth ; party. which was tantamount to political power ; and position. or societal prestigiousness and award. B. Following Weber. many sociologists use the term socioeconomic position: a composite ranking based on assorted dimensions of societal inequality — instruction. business. income

• Socioeconomic position. Following Weber’s lead. modern-day sociologists frequently use the broader construct of socioeconomic position to mention to a person’s ranking along several societal dimensions. peculiarly instruction. occupational prestigiousness. and income • Education. Education can take to income attainment. but the benefits are non every bit shared by racial and cultural minorities. or by adult females. • Wealth consists of consists of the entire sum of money and valuable goods that a individual or household controls • It is more unevenly distributed than income

• assets. such as existent estate and gems. and • income consists of occupational rewards or wages and net incomes from investings • Occupational Prestige: Occupation serves as a cardinal beginning of societal prestigiousness since we normally evaluate each other harmonizing to what we do • Because there are so many specific businesss. sociologists frequently categorize businesss into a smaller figure:

• White-collar
• Professional. director. and decision maker
• Technical
• Clerical
• Blue-collar
• Craft. preciseness production. and fix
• Operative
• Labor ( excepting farm )
• Farm worker • If this strategy is excessively unmanageable. sociologists frequently divide businesss into two classs: white-collar and bluecollar. • The pink neckband is a class that reflects the segregation of adult females into certain businesss. such as kindergarten instructors and secretaries. • High incomes normally are associated with high-prestige businesss. but there are exclusions. • Sociologists sometimes use the term prestigiousness to intend the award associated with an business or other place in the societal system. and esteem to intend the award that accrues to the single make fulling the place. c. Critical rating: Weber’s positions have been widely accepted in the United States although difficult economic times may take to a renewed accent on the importance of economic categories E. Inequality in the United States • US society is extremely graded. but many people underestimate the extent of structured inequality in US society







• Power is besides unevenly distributed
• Schooling
• Ancestry. race. and gender

1. Sociologists normally conceptualize American society as dwelling either of three or nine distinguishable societal categories: a. In the three-class theoretical account. society is divided into a lower category. a in-between category. and an upper category

B. In the nine-class theoretical account. each of these categories is farther divided into three subclasses: lower-lower. middle-lower. lower-middle. middle-middle. etc. 2. Measurement of category. To mensurate societal category standing. sociologists have developed three chief methods: a. the nonsubjective method ranks persons into categories on the footing of steps such as instruction. income. and occupational prestigiousness ; b. the reputational method topographic points people into assorted societal categories on the footing of repute in the community category ; and c. Self- designation allows people to put themselves in a societal category. c. The lower categories.

• The upper-lower category. besides called the on the job category. consists of service forces. semiskilled secret agents. and other blue-collar workers who do non gain plenty to roll up significant nest eggs. These people are vulnerable to breaks in their income. • The lower-lower category is made up of people who lack instruction and unrecorded in the most bedraggled subdivisions of the community and in deficient lodging. • The lower-lower category may be divided into two subgroups: • The on the job hapless are lower-lower-class people who have occupations but who merely can non gain an equal income ; and • The inveterate hapless are largely unemployed or work merely on occasion.

4. Class. race. and gender. These three dimensions frequently interact to bring forth a person’s topographic point in society. the mode in which people are treated. and their ego identify. F. The difference category makes

a. Class and wellness
B. Class and values
c. Class and political relations
d. Class. household. and gender G. The Myth and the Reality of Mobility in the United States • Amount of mobility. Sociologists often focus on the intergenerational mobility of persons: upward and downward motions in socioeconomic position measured between the standing of kids compared to that of their parents.


1. Myth versus world

a. Four general decisions
• Social mobility. at least among work forces. has been high
• The long-run tendency in societal mobility has been upward
• Within a individual coevals. societal mobility is normally incremental. Not dramatic
• The short-run tendency has been stagnancy. with some income polarisation
b. Mobility varies by income degree
c. Mobility besides varies by race. ethnicity. and gender
1. Determinants of mobility
• Social Mobility: The motion of individuals and groups within the stratification system. a. Steepness of the socioeconomic pyramid: that there are non plenty high position occupations to fulfill everyone. B. Get downing place on the socioeconomic ladder: some people begin closer to the top than others. c. Structural mobility: the motion of full classs of people due to alterations in society itself. d. Types of mobility







• Upward and downward
• Intragenerational societal mobility is a alteration in societal place happening during a person’s life-time
• Intergenerational societal mobility is upward or downward societal mobility of kids in relation to their parents 2. Social stratification can be determined by a figure of variables. each of which can do person to be advantaged or disadvantaged compared to others in society. a. It is non needfully the impact of any one variable in U. S. society that leads to stratification – it is a alone combination of stratification-related factors that determines how one succeeds in society. B. Some of these traits are within our control. others we have small control over ( ascribed vs. achieved ) Who can state me which is which? • Major ascribed societal stratifiers: race. sex. and age

• Major achieved societal stratifiers ( instruction. income. business. faith. etc. ) SOCIAL stratification is the chief ground for relational set of inequalities in economic. societal. political and ideological dimensions. It is a system whereby people rank and evaluate each other. On the footing of such rating. one is rewarded with more wealth. authorization. power and prestigiousness. It is loosely organised into three parts: upper category. in-between category and lower category on the footing of power and wealth. This has resulted in the creative activity of a figure of degrees within our society.

Social stratification causes societal disparity and many jobs as it is an unfair system with monopoly of power and wealth in a peculiar group. It affects life opportunities. life styles and prestigiousness. It creates emotional emphasis and depression for the people belonging to take down societal stratum as they have unequal entree to wealth. power and prestigiousness. It creates a immense gulf between the people in footings of their incomes and a scope of steps associated with societal place. instruction. wellness. and psychological wellbeing. It is clearly perceived that disparity causes pandemonium in society. These are the faltering blocks in the manner to come on and development of the state.