Social Stratification Did a higher percentage of the first-class passengers survive the sinking of the Titanic because they were smarter or work harder than anyone else? Neither rich nor poor people are responsible for creating social stratification, yet this system shapes the lives of us all.
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Did a higher percentage of the first-class passengers survive the sinking of the Titanic because they were smarter or work harder than anyone else?
Neither rich nor poor people are responsible for creating social stratification, yet this system
shapes the lives of us all.
Chap 10 & 12
Social and Global Stratification
The objectives of this chapter
is to learn:
1. What is
2. The Functions of
3. Stratification and Conflict
4. Global Inequality and
5. Global Inequality-Looking Ahead
Queen and Prime Minister
-Ascribed vs. Achieved?
Queen Elizabeth II ascended the British Throne
in 1953, after her father, King George VI’s death.
Mrs.. Margaret Thatcher was elected the first female Prime Minister of U.K. In 1979.
A Cultural Universal:
All societies are structured like a Pyramid
The majority are at the bottom with a small percentage of dominant people on the top.
Pharos and aristocrats
Millions of slaves
and manual workers
Society mainly was stratified intotwo classes: the Capitalists(Bourgeoisie)
Medieval era, Feudal lords
and surfs (peasants)
The traditional stratification of Chinese society: scholars, peasants, manual labor workers, and merchants.
Wealth, class, power, gender, race, education,
nationality, religion, and sexual orientation....etc.
influence a person’s position in social hierarchy
Cultural Capital:parents pass down values and other social resources to their next generations affect children’s social standing
A system of belief explains why people should be unequal. People with the greatest social privilege express the strongest support for their society’s social stratification.
Caste and Class Systems
The Caste System: based on ascription
The Class System: based on birth and achievementThe caste and class together- Estate System: such as the U.K., Japan etc.
Status Consistency: social standing across various dimensions of social inequality
Why does social stratification persist? Because it is supported by various institutions and the power of ideology defining certain kind of inequality as both natural and just.
What is ideology?Cultural beliefs that serve to justify social stratification
2.The functions of social stratification
Why are societies stratified at all?
The Davis-Moore Thesis: The assertion that social stratification has beneficial consequences for the operation of a society. By distributing resources (income, power, prestige, and leisure) unequally, a society motivates each person to aspire to work harder to achieve the best rewards.
Meritocracy: a system of social stratification based on personal merit. In pursuit of meritocracy, a society promotes equality of opportunity while at same time, demanding unequal rewards.
Caste systems waste human potential, but they are orderly.
Why do modern industrial societies resist becoming complete meritocracies
by retaining many castelike qualities?
Critical Evaluation of Davis-Moore’s thesis:
a/ Pay and societal contribution:
100 million a year income of Oprah or 1 million an episode of
Tim Ellen’s “Home Improvement”
is worth as much as 3,000 police officers?
b/ Tumin: Davis-Moore’s thesis exaggerates the role of social stratification in developing individual talent. Our society rewards individual achievement, but we also allow families to transfer wealth and power from one generation to another
in castelike fashion. So, Tumin suggests, that social stratification functions to develop some people’s abilities to the fullest while ensuring that others never reach their potential.
3.Stratification and Conflict
Social Conflict analysis argues that social stratification benefits some peoples at the expense of others.
Karl Marx’s Class and Conflict:
The key architect of social-conflict analysis, recognized two major social classes in industrial societies: the Capitalists or Bourgeoisie, own the means of production and pursue the profits;
the Proletariat, by contrast, offers their labor in exchange or wages. He believed that oppression and misery would drive the working majority to organize and ultimate overthrow capitalism.
But why no Marxist revolution in the U.S.?
1./ The fragmentation of the
2./ A higher standard of living
3./ More extensive worker
4./ More extensive legal protections.
1./ Wealth remains highly concentrated
2./ White-collar work offers little to workers
3./ Progress requires struggle
4./ The law still favors the rich
Max Weber’s Class, Status and Power
Weber modified Karl Marx’s two-class model of social conflict by adding the other two dimensions:
Status and Power.
In short, society stratifies individuals bysocioeconomic status (SES)- a composite ranking based on various dimensions of social inequality, such as race, gender, income, wealth, status, power, age, religion, nationality etc.
Stratification: Fact and Values
Social stratification is a complex and controversial area of research because it deals not only with facts but also with various values that suggest how society should be organized.
Novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr’s futuristic account in “Harrison Bergeon” that social inequality has been totally abolished by social engineering in which every individual talent that makes one person different from another his systematically neutralized by the government.
1. Is getting rich “ The Survival of the Fittest”?
2. Are the rich worth what they earn?
3. Critique on Vonnegut’s short story “Harrison Bergeon”
In Syllabus, Page 3
Activity-Forum 3: Our society is a place set up for people to strive for success. To the winners go the spoils, while the losers, get what they deserve. Debate the issue of Affirmative Action from sociological perspective in terms of equality, opportunity and social justice.
Social Survey I
“Some people think that blacks have been discriminated against for so long that the government has a special obligation to help improve their living standards.
Others believe that the government should not be giving special treatment to blacks”-(GSS 1998. Code Book, 1999:303 1 to 5 scale.)
1. Strongly agree that government is obligated to help blacks. 6.5%
3. “ I agree with both answers” 30%
5. “ I strongly agree that government shouldn’t give any special treatment.” 27.5%
Social Survey II
A telephone survey by National Black Politics Study (1993-4) asked
“When will African Americans achieve racial equality?”
‘It has been achieved,” 5%
“It will be achieved soon,” 30%
“Not in my life time,” 42%
Freedom is not enough.
You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying:
” Now, you are free to go where you want, do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.”
You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying “ you are free to compete with all others,” and still
Justly believe that you have been completely fair.” - Lyndon Johnson, 1965
As society stratifies individuals into different social standings within the social hierarchy, what about all the nations on the planet? Are there also stratified?
What is so- called high income, middle income and low income countries? Why is that way? Why some countries are rich with high living standard and most countries are so poor?
In this part, we will study Inequality from Global Perspective:
Poverty of Children: 10 million of the world’s children die each year because of hunger. 75 million city children beg, steal, sell sex and drug; 25 million are street children.
Poverty of Women: unrecognized; underpaid; undervalued.
Slavery: 4 types of slavery-chattel slavery, child slavery, debt bondage, servile forms of marriage
Correlates of Global Poverty:
1./ Technology 2./ Population grows
3./ Cultural Patterns 4./ Social Stratification
5./ Gender Inequality 6./ Global power relationships:
Colonialism: some nations enrich themselves
through political and economic control of
Neocolonialism: a new form of global power relationships that involves not direct political
control but economic exploitation by multinational corporations.
Multinational Corporations: are huge business that operates in may countries, and their decision makers can impose their will on countries where they do business just as colonizers did in centuries past.
Rostow’s Stages of Modernization
1. Traditional stage
2. Take-off stage
3. Drive to technological maturity
4. High mass consumption
5.Global Inequality: Looking Ahead
8 out of 10 new jobs created in the U. S are related to International trade.
The global economy increases income inequality. Rising production and sales abroad have brought record profits to many corporations and their stockholders, those who already have substantial wealth. At the same time, the global economy has cut factory jobs in these countries, leading to lower wages and higher unemployment. The result is : gradual economic polarization in the U.S., but social inequality is far more striking in a global context.
Conclusion of this section:
The concentration of wealth of wealth among high-income countries, coupled with the grinding property of low-income nations may constitute the biggest problem facing humanity in the twenty-first century.
1 .Many of you expressed the financial worry in the classroom survey. Discuss relative poverty and absolute poverty associate with your condition.
2. Imagine you were from a poor-colonialized country, what are your opinions toward the above mentioned modernization theory and Dependency theory?
3. Do rich nations hold the keys to ending world hunger, or are they the cause of this tragic problem?
1. Social stratification: a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy
2. Social mobility: change in one’s position in the social hierarchy, e.g., vertical upward, vertical downward, horizontal, intergeneration vs. intrageneration, and structural mobility.
3. Caste system: social stratification based on ascription
4. Class system: social stratification based on both birth and individual achievement
5. Meritocracy: social stratification based on personal merit
6. Status consistency: the degree of consistency in a person’s social standing across various dimensions of social inequality
7. Structural social mobility: a shift in the social position of large numbers of people due more to changes in society itself than to individual efforts
8. Ideology: cultural beliefs that justify social stratification
9. Davis-Moore thesis: the assertion that social stratification is a universal pattern because it benefits the operation of a society
10. Socioeconomic status (SES): a composite of ranking based on various dimensions of social inequality.
11.Colonialism: the process by which some nations enrich themselves through political and economic control of other nations.
12. Neo-colonialism: a new form of global power relationships that involves not direct political control but economic exploitation by multinational corporations
13. Multinational corporation: a large business that operates in many countries
14. Modernization theory: a model of economic and social development that explains global inequality in terms of technological and cultural differences among societies
15. Dependency theory: a model of economic development that explains global inequality in terms of the historical exploitation of poor societies by rich ones.