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1. THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON SOCIAL STRATIFICATION Functionalism
2. The Functionalist Perspective
Considers how stratification systems help to maintain order and stability in society.
Important Question: How far does social stratification meet the functional prerequisites?
3. Talcott Parsons
Believed order, stability, cooperation in society are based on value consensus
Stratification systems derive from common values
Rank in society will be based on successful performance in terms of societys values
Rewards based on such ranking
4. Parsons contd
He suggested that stratification is an inevitable part of human society
General belief that stratification systems are just and right since they are an expression of shared values
He believed that Western Industrial societies will display tendencies to arrogance on part of winners; resentment on part of some losers
Conflict kept in check by consensus value system that justifies unequal distribution of rewards
5. Kingsley Davis & Wilbert Moore
Advanced controversial argument on value of S.S.
Perhaps most influential of functionalist paradigm seeing social inequality as vital to operation of society
Argued that SS has beneficial consequences for society
all societies share certain functional prerequisites that must be met if society is to survive
6. Kingsley Davis & Wilbert Moore contd. Very imp. F P - effective role allocation & performance
all roles must be filled by those best able to perform them
necessary training for jobs must be undertaken & roles performed well
positions of high day-to-day responsibility that demand special abilities are most functionally significant
7. Measurement of Importance of Positions
Degree to which position is functionally unique (no other position can perform function satisfactorily)
Degree to which other positions are dependent on particular position
8. Education Systems Ed. Systems stratifies by using meritocracy, reward talent and ability
Education is a means of role allocation
Important to process by which persons are selected and placed according to capacities/abilities
Reward most academically inclined with high qualifications/certification used to enter functionally most imp. occupations.
9. Kingsley Davis & Wilbert Moore contd.
SS - the mechanism for insuring effective role allocation & performance
Unequal rewards & privileges had to be attached to different positions in society.
No need for SS if members of society did not differ in important respects
There is difference in abilities therefore talent and positions differ in importance for survival and maintenance of society
10. Kingsley Davis & Wilbert Moore contd. Some positions more functionally imp. than others, thus more rewards
One main function of stratification - to match most able people with functionally most important positions, by giving high rewards
encourages persons to aspire to these jobs
by distributing resources unequally, society motivates each person to aspire to more significant work, to work better, harder, longer, leading to more productive society
11. What Does All of this Imply? That a productive society is a meritocracy - a system of SS based on personal merit
Such societies use rewards to encourage effort and develop talents
In pursuit of meritocracy, society promotes equality of opportunity while mandating inequality of rewards
SS therefore a device by which societies insure that the most important positions are conscientiously filled by the most qualified
SS is a functional necessity for societies
12. Marxist Perspective Stratification :
a divisive structure;
mechanism by which some exploit others;
not a system that fosters integration & furthering of collective goals.
13. Marxist Analysis All stratified societies consist of 2 major social groups in which power of ruling class emanates from ownership & control of MOP
Such societies marked by oppression and exploitation (conflict of interest)
Legal and political systems instruments of ruling class domination
14. Marxist Analysis contd.
Systems of Stratification originate from relationships of groups to MOP (class stratification)
Mutual dependency of 2 classes not an equal relationship - exploiter & exploited
Marxists question role allocation and meritocracy & challenge that all roles are performed by those best able to perform them
15. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis
Ask who are those persons who are sifted & sorted?
Ask who are these best qualified persons that school system produces to match most important jobs?
Question functionally most important jobs by asking who decides or by what criteria are some jobs deemed more important than others?