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CHAPTER 9 Social Stratification

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  1. CHAPTER 9Social Stratification Section 1: Systems of Stratification Section 2: The American Class System Section 3: Poverty

  2. Section 1: Systems of Stratification Objectives: • Identify the characteristics of caste systems and class systems. • Contrast the major theories of social stratification.

  3. Section 1: Systems of Stratification Characteristics of Caste and Class Systems • social stratification – division of society into categories, ranks, or classes • can be based on either achieved or ascribed status • can be open or closed • social inequality – the unequal sharing of scarce resources and social rewards

  4. Caste System: Closed and lifelong Immobility and inherited status Based on specific occupations Ascribed status exogamy, endogamy Class System: Open and mobile Reward is determined by achieved status Property, prestige, and power are important (Weber) bourgeoisie, proletariat Section 1: Systems of Stratification Characteristics of Caste and Class Systems

  5. Section 1: Systems of Stratification Dimensions of Social Stratification • social class – grouping of people with similar levels of wealth, power, and prestige • wealth – made up of assets (value of everything one owns) and income (money earned through salaries, investments, or capital gains • in the U.S. the richest 1% of the population controls more than 1/3 of the wealth • chart page 208

  6. Section 1: Systems of Stratification Dimensions of Social Stratification • power – the ability to control the behavior of others, with or without their consent • based on force, possession of special skills, knowledge, social status, personal characteristics, custom/tradition • prestige – respect, honor, recognition, or courtesy an individual receives from other members of society • based on income, occupation , education, family, residences, possessions, club memberships • chart page 209 • socioeconomic status– SES, rating that combines social factors such as educational level, occupational prestige, residence, income, used to determine an individual’s relative position in the stratification system

  7. Section 1: Systems of Stratification Major Theories of Social Stratification • Functionalist Theorists – view stratification as a necessary feature of the social structure and argue that the more important a role and the more skill needed to perform it, the higher the reward, without varying rewards may jobs would not be filled and society could not function • fails to recognize not everyone has equal access to resources, ignores the talented in lower classes that because of stratification may not be able to contribute to society, cannot explain why rewards sometimes do not reflect the social value of a role

  8. Section 1: Systems of Stratification Major Theories of Social Stratification • Conflict Theorists – view stratification as a result of conflict over scarce resources and argue that groups gain power then use that power to maintain it, based on Marx • fails to recognize that unequal rewards are based on differences in talent, skill, and desire

  9. Section 2: The American Class System Objectives: • Identify the characteristics of the American class system. • Explain how different motivations and cultural values influence the American class system.

  10. Section 2: The American Class System The American Class System • open system • law forbids discrimination based on ascribed characteristics such as race or gender • in theory, all have equal access to resources • rate of social mobility is not equal for all segments of society

  11. Section 2: The American Class System Determining Social Class • reputational method – individuals are asked to rank other community members based on what they know of their character and lifestyle • subjective method – individuals are asked to determine their own social rank • objective method – sociologists define social class by income, occupation, and education

  12. Section 2: The American Class System Social Classes in the United States • 1% upper class • 14% upper-middle class • 30% lower-middle class • 30% working class • 22% working poor • 3% underclass • major difference in classes is income, lifestyle, beliefs • chart page 214

  13. Section 2: The American Class System The American Class System • Upper Class – attend prestigious universities; owners of large businesses, investors, heirs to family fortunes, top business executives; 1 percent of population • Upper Middle Class – attend college or university, business executives, professionals; 14 percent of population • Lower Middle Class – high school, some college; lower-level managers skilled craftworkers, supervisors; 30 percent of population

  14. Section 2: The American Class System The American Class System • Working Class – high school education; factory workers, clerical workers, lower level salespeople, some craft-workers; 30 percent of population • Working Poor – some high school; laborers, service workers; 22 percent of population • Underclass – some high school; undesirable, low-paying jobs, unemployed, on welfare; 3 percent of population

  15. Section 2: The American Class System Social Mobility • social mobility – the movement between or within social classes or strata • horizontal mobility – movement within a social class • vertical mobility – movement between social classes, upward or downward • intergenerational mobility – status differences between generations in the same family (parent’s social class vs. their own current class) • structural factors that affect upward mobility include advances in technology, changes in merchandising patterns, and increase in education

  16. Section 2: The American Class System Motivations and Cultural Values Influence the American Class System • Values influence Americans to try to do better financially than their parents and to help their children do the same • Most Americans remain in the same social class as their parents

  17. Section 3: Poverty Objectives: • Identify the groups of Americans that are affected by poverty. • Describe the steps that have been taken by the federal government to lessen the effects of poverty.

  18. Section 3: Poverty Defining Poverty • More than 31 million people (11% of the population) live below the poverty level. • poverty – a standard of living that is below the minimum level considered adequate by society, a relative measure • poverty level – defined by the U.S. Bureau of Census, the minimum annual income needed by a family to survive

  19. Section 3: Poverty Defining Poverty Poverty Level: • determined by calculating the cost of providing an adequate diet, based on the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s minimum nutritional standards • this number is then multiplied by three (research has indicated that poor people spend 1/3 of their income on food) • adjusted each year to reflect the cost of living • usually stated for a family of 4 • chart page 221 • reconsiderations based on changes in spending habits since the 1960s

  20. Section 3: Poverty Groups Affected By Poverty • Age – children are the largest group (37%); three times more African American and Hispanic children are poor than whites • Gender – women are the largest segment (57%); female-headed households account for about half of all poor families • Race and Ethnicity – African Americans and Hispanics are far more likely than white Americans to be poor

  21. Section 3: Poverty The Effects of Poverty • Poor and wealthy members of society differ in the range of their life chances and behavior patterns. • life chances – the likelihood that individuals have of sharing in the opportunities and benefits of society • health, life expectancy, housing, education • the lower the social class, the less opportunity to share in the benefit of society • life expectancy – the average number of years a person born in a particular year can expect to live • inadequate nutrition and less access to medial care

  22. Section 3: Poverty The Effects of Poverty • patterns of behavior • higher divorce rate • committing crime • people living in poverty are more likely to commit crimes that police pursue more aggressively • victims of crime

  23. Section 3: Poverty Government Responses To Poverty • Government attempts to reduce inequality through various social-welfare programs using two approaches: • Transfer Payments – redistribution of money among various segments of society; taking a percentage of the money collected through taxes and funneling it to groups that need public assistance (poor, unemployed, elderly, disabled • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): provides income support for people age 65 and older, the blind, and disabled with children • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): cash payments to families with children

  24. Section 3: Poverty Government Responses To Poverty • Subsidies - transfer goods and services rather than cash • Food Stamp Program: people receive coupons or cards that can be used to buy food • housing, school lunches • Medicaid: health insurance program for the poor • Medicare: government-sponsored health insurance program for people 65 and older