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Stratification. What is Social Stratification?. Social stratification – a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy. Stratification is a trait of society. It persists over generations. It is universal, but variable. It involves not just inequality, but beliefs.

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What is social stratification
What is Social Stratification?

  • Social stratification – a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy.

  • Stratification is a trait of society.

  • It persists over generations.

  • It is universal, but variable.

  • It involves not just inequality, but beliefs.

Caste and class systems

A caste system – social stratification based on ascription or birth.

Birth alone determines one’s destiny.

There is little opportunity for social mobility.

A class system – social stratification based on both birth and individual achievement.

Even blood relatives may have different social standings.

Meritocracy – based on personal merit.

Caste and Class Systems

Wealth power united states
Wealth & Power: United States

  • Top 1% of households owns 50% of the stock, financial securities, and trust equity; 66% of business equity, 36% of non-home real estate

  • Top 10% owns 90% of the stock, financial securities, and trust equity; 75% non-home real estate

Ideology the power behind stratification
Ideology: The Power Behind Stratification

  • We wonder how societies persist without sharing resources more equally.

  • Ideology – cultural beliefs that justify social stratification.

  • A belief that the rich are smart, and the poor are lazy, is ideological.

The functions of social stratification

Social inequality plays a vital role.

The Davis-Moore Thesis – stratification has beneficial consequences for the operation of a society.

Certain jobs can be performed by almost anyone.

Other jobs demand the scarce talents of people with extensive training.

The greater the importance of a position, the more rewards attached to it.

The Functions of Social Stratification

Stratification and conflict
Stratification and Conflict

  • Stratification provides some people with advantages over others.

  • Karl Marx explained you can either own property, or work for others.

  • Capitalism makes class conflict inevitable.

  • In time, oppression and misery should drive the working majority to overthrow capitalism.

Dimensions of class
Dimensions of Class

  • Income

    • Occupational wages and earnings from investments

  • Wealth

    • The total value of money and other assets, minus any debt

  • Social power

    • The ability to control, even in the face of resistance

  • Occupational prestige

    • Job-related status

  • Schooling

    • Key to better career opportunities

Social classes
Social Classes

  • The upper class

    • 5 % of the population

  • The middle class

    • 40-45% of the population

  • The working class

    • 33% of the population

  • The lower class

    • The remaining 20% of people

A middle class society
A Middle Class Society

  • Everyone stands equal under the law

  • We celebrate individuality

  • We interact mostly with people like ourselves

    • Most do not know “superrich” or or those in “poverty”

  • The U.S. Is an affluent society

    • Belief that everyone is financially comfortable

  • Socioeconomic status (SES) reflects money (income, wealth & power), occupational prestige and schooling

Upper class
Upper Class

  • The upper-uppers

    • The blue bloods

    • Membership almost always based on ascription

    • They have “old money”

    • They are set apart by the amount of wealth their families control

    • Much time devoted to community activities

  • The lower-uppers

    • The working rich people

    • The “new rich” by “old money” standards

    • Can still find themselves excluded from certain organizations and clubs

Social stratification birth
Social Stratification & Birth

  • Ancestry

    • Born to privilege or poverty makes a big difference

  • Gender

    • More poor families are headed by women

  • Race and ethnicity

    • Disparity still exist when comparing majority and minority groups on social and financial variables

  • Religion

    • Members of protestant denominations (Episcopalians and Presbyterians) are identified as the most affluent

Middle class
Middle Class

  • More racial and ethnic diversity

  • Upper-middles

    • $80,000 to $160,000 yearly income

    • Education is important

    • High occupational prestige

    • Involvement in local politics

  • Average-middles

    • Less prestige in occupation

    • Few white collar, or high-skilled blue collar jobs

    • Income provides modest security

    • 50% kids attend state-sponsored colleges

Working class
Working Class

  • Marxist “industrial proletariat”

    • $25,000 to $40,000 annual income

  • “Blue-collar” routine jobs with less satisfaction

  • Half own their own homes

  • Fewer children go to college (only one-third)

  • Vulnerable to financial problems caused by unemployment or illness

Lower class
Lower Class

  • 31.1 million Americans classified as poor in 2000

  • Others are “working poor” minimum wage jobs

  • Half complete high school, one in four attend college

  • Own homes in less desirable inner city neighborhoods or rural south

The difference class makes
The Difference Class Makes

  • Health

    • Amount and type of health care

  • Cultural values

    • Vary with position

  • Politics

    • Conservative or liberal

    • Degree of involvement

  • Family and gender

    • Type of parental involvement

    • Socialization practices

    • Relationships and responsibilities