SOCL Ch. 8 Social Class in the US

large group of peeps ho rank closely to one another in property, power, and prestige
social class
comes in many forms (buildings, land, animals, machinery, cars, stocks, bonds, businesses, furniture, jewelry, bank accounts)
add value of person’s property minus a person’s debt
flow of money (wages/business, rent, interest, royalties, alimony, allowance, gambling)
75% of US wealth is owned by what percent of the population?
top —-% of citizens receive 50.3% of all income in US
the ability to get what you want despite resistance
ideology promoted by the elites to legitimate & perpetuate their power, conceals real source of power in US
democratic façade
those who make the big decisions in US society, work behind the scenes, all are from old money
power elite
o Jobs w/ most prestige share 4 features:
• 1. pay more
• 2. require more education
• 3. involve more abstract thought
• 4. offer greater autonomy (independence)
people who have similar rank on all 3 dimensions of social class
status consistent
mixture of high and low ranks in 3 dimensions of social class
status inconsistency
position in a social class
people often want other to react to their ——- ranking, so they show this one off
based on marx’s model social class is based on
your relationship to the means of production
some people are members of more than one class at the same time
contradictory class locations
What are Marx’s four social classes?
• capitalist-business owners who employ many workers
• petty bourgeoisie-small business owners
• managers-sell their own labor, but exercise authority over employees
• workers-sell their labor to others
What was Weber’s Model for social class?
six their ladder model, the lower the rungs the more poverty, education was very important in this model
Describe the six social classes for Weber’s Model:
Upper Middle
Lower Middle
Working Poor
• Wealthy 1% that owns 1/3 of wealth
• Prestigious university, 1million +, 1% population
• Divided into New & Old money
longer wealth in family→bigger prestige
Old money capitalists-Blue bloods-have vast power
nouveau riche-outsiders of upper class-children can be in old money if they attend right school & marry into the old
• many philanthropic-give money to foundations
• most shaped by education
• bachelor’s degree and up, post grad in med, law, business, management
• $125,000+ , 15% population
• high school/college/ apprenticeship, $60,000, 34% population
• technical/lower level management
• can afford mainstream lifestyle, struggle to keep it
• anticipate being able to move up ladder
• 30% of population, High school, $36,000
• unskilled blue collar and white collar
• jobs less secure, more routine, more closely supervised
• some high school/ high school, $19,000, 15%
• unskilled, low-paying, seasonal, temporary jobs
• most high school dropouts & functionally illiterate
• don’t vote, work full time depend on food stamps
• some high school, under $12,000, 5%
• lowest rung, no chance of climbing anywhere
• inner city, little/no connection to job market, welfare
• life is toughest
• homeless are fallout of post-industrial economy→little need for unskilled labor now
what are the consequences of social class on health?
o as you go up ladder, health increases, age makes no difference
o 1. social class opens/closes doors to medical care
o 2. lifestyle is shaped by social class (lower classes = smoke/eat fats)
o 3. life is hard on poor (bodies wear out faster)
what are the consequences of social class on mental health?
o mental health decreases as you go down ladder
o greater mental probs w/ higher stress
• less job security, lower wages, likely to divorce, victims of crime, physical illness
o Higher up do better bc:
• coping resources better, class position gives better control over lives, medical care is better
what are the consequences of social class on choice of spouse?
• capitalists-strong emphasis on tradition
Family history-who you marry effects family, not just you
parents are strong in mate selection
What are the consequences of social class on divorce
• lower social classes-higher marital friction, more divorce
• children of poor more likely to live in broken homes
what are the consequences of social class on child rearing?
• lower class-follow rules, obey authority
why? supervised at work, expect children to end up in same job
punishment: physical
• middle class- develop creative & leadership skills
why? more independence at work, expect child to end up in same job
punishment: verbal
what are the consequences of social class on education?
o education increases as you go up ladder
o Capitalists-skip public and go to private
• teach upper class values
o upper classes go to college & graduate more bc of parental resources
what are consequences of social class on religion?
o Episcopalians-middle/upper class
• subdued worship
o Baptists-lower class
• expressive worship
what are consequences of social class on politics
o higher ups—republican
o working class—democratic
• more liberal on economic issues, conservative on social issues
o bottom-not politically active
what are the consequences of social class on crime?
o upper class—white collar crimes
• judged outside of judicial system
o lower class- street crimes
• judged by peers & police courts
• more in prison/probation/parole
o lower classes -more likely to be robbed/murdered
what are the 3 types of social mobility?
intergenerational, structural, exchange
Social mobility: end up on different rung of ladder than the one your parents occupied, can go up or down
social mobility: changes in society that allow large numbers of peeps to move up or down the class ladder
social mobility: when large numbers of peeps move up and down class ladder, but on balance, proportions of social classes remain about same
measure set in 1960’s when poor spend about 1/3 of income on food
poverty line
why is the poverty line inadequate?
1. poor spend about %20 on food
2. mothers who work outside of home and have to pay for childcare are treated the same as mothers who stay at home
Who are the poor?
1. poverty clusters in south, rural poverty is greater, suburbanization of poverty
2. 12% of whites, 13% of Asians, 25% of Latinos, 26% of African Americans, 27% of Native Americans
3. 1/4 peeps drop high school are poor, 3/100 who finish college are poor
4.families w/ both mom & dad = least likely to be poor, families w/ just mom = most likely to be poor
5.elderly are LESS likely to be poor
assumes that values and behaviors of poor are factors responsible for their continued long term poverty
culture of poverty
is most poverty short lived?
how much of population will experience poverty before the age of 65?
What are 3 things that cause people to be poor?
social structure, characteristics of individuals, and poverty triggers
how does social structure contribute to poverty?
features of society deny peeps access to education/skills
discrimination based on race & gender
changes in job market too (less unskilled labor need)
how do characteristics of the individuals cause poverty?
what we choose
high school drop out, teen mom
what are poverty triggers?
live on edge of poverty, only takes one thing to push you over edge
lose job, pregnancy, birth of child, divorce, accidents/injuries
requires states to place lifetime cap on welfare assistance to 5 years, 3/5 who left welfare remained in poverty
Personal Responsibility & Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act
belief that limitless possibilities exist for everyone
Horatio Alger Myth
why do functionalists believe the horatio alger myth is important to social class?
o encourages peeps to achieve higher, places blame of failure only on individual
o Stabilizes society: viewed as individual’s fault, not society, therefor current societal arrangements may be kept