SOCIAL STRATIFICATION Big Question: Does social inequality add to the structure and function of society or does it add to the dysfunction of society?
The lifeboat activity was designed to introduce you to the topic of social stratification or social inequality in society.
Anticipation Questions • Why do certain people have more “value” than others in society? • In the Lifeboat Activity – you decided who “deserved” to live based on age, gender, occupation, skill, experience etc… • How does society decide why people have more value than others? • What social class do you belong to? • Is it possible for society to remove social inequalities?
When did the idea of social stratification begin? Which society was the first to develop social stratification? Can society exist without social stratification? What would it look like?
Social Structure and Interaction Social interaction is the process by which people act toward or respond to other people. Social structure is the framework of societal institutions (economy, politics, and religion) and social practices (rules and social roles) that make up a society and organize and limit people’s behavior.
What is social stratification? • The hierarchical arrangement of large social groups based on their control over basic resources
Common Class Terminology • Upper Class/Rich • Middle Class/Bourgeois/White collar • Working Class/Blue collar • Poor/underclass
Agree or Disagree? The United States of America is a classless and egalitarian society.
What do your peers think? • 1 person identified with the term “upper” • 2 people identified with the term “upper-middle” • 8 people identified with the term “middle” • 8 people identified with the terms “working class” or “lower middle”
Class Structure In the United States • Two Upper Classes • Upper upper- old money • Lower upper- new money • Three Middle Classes • Upper middle- professional • Middle class- white collar and entrepreneurs • Working class- blue collar • Two Lower Classes • Upper lower- unskilled laborers • Lower lower- socially and economically disadvantaged Source: Coleman, James. A Paradigm for the Study of Social Strata
Determinants of Social Class • 1. Personal performance • A. education • B. occupation • C. Income • D. Awards and achievements • 2. Wealth • A. Amount • B. Source • 3. Social orientation • A. Interactions • B. Class consciousness • C. Value orientation • Source: Coleman, James S. A Paradigm for the Study of Social Strata.
NAME THAT CLASS! • Walmart • J Crew • Mercedes Benz • Elks Club • Junior League • Gucci • KIA • Macy’s • Westfarms Mall • Buckland Hills Mall • Jordans • Rainbow • The Dollar Store • Nail Salons • Gilly Hicks • Golf • Cigarette Smoking • North Face
Harvard • MCC • Pinkberry • Friendly’s • Farmer’s Market • Starbucks • Dunkin Donuts • Whole Foods • Highland Park market • Shop Rite • Cashiers • Cosmetology school • Coach purses • Sperry Top Siders • Kingswood-Oxford • Cape Cod • Flea Markets • TV dinners • Apple Computers • Gated Communities
Variables of Social Class • A. Power- the degree to which a person can control other people • B. Wealth- objects or symbols owned by human beings which have value attached to them • C. Prestige- the degree of respect, favorable regard or importance according to an individual by members of society • Source: Max Weber
Attitudes of “Middle Class” Americans $48,979 • 36% of those earning $15,000 a year call themselves middle class • 49% of those with incomes between $35,000 and $49,000 call themselves middle class • 71% of those with incomes above $75,000 call themselves middle class • Source: Center for Opinion Research
Median household income for those with less than a 9th grade education $17,261 a year
Median household income for college grads with a Master’s degree • $74,476
What is the average household worth of the top 1%? $10,204,000 Oprah’s Net Worth= $2.4 bil Michael Jordan = $255 mil
Brainstorm! • As a class, generate a list of reasons and explanations for why people are unequal in our society.
Respond to each question/statement in a paragraph on a separate piece of paper (to be handed in). • 2 out of 3 impoverished adults in the US are women. What factors contribute to this statistic? What does society “owe” to children of these women? • Poor people are at fault for their poverty and there’s nothing we can do as a society to end poverty forever. • Why don’t (most) people in the United States feel comfortable discussing their income? Why do many people feel uncomfortable discussing social class? • Look back at your list of reasons/explanations for why people are unequal in our society. Rank the top 3 and explain why/how you came to your conclusion.
Copy the following definitions in your notes and then answer question #5 below. Caste System: the status of individuals is determined at birth based on their parents’ position in society. Class System: the status of individuals is based on ownership of resources and on the type of work people do. 5. Some analysts have suggested that both class and caste are present in the US. Do you agree or disagree? Explain your answer.
“The prestige scale most widely used is the NORC, which was developed by Paul K. Hatt and Cecil North. In 1946, these sociologists made an exploratory study of the ‘social standing’ of occupations in Columbus and Hamilton, Ohio. Responses to their list of 79 occupations led them to propose to the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago that their approach be utilized in a nationwide sample. The proposal was accepted and the list of occupations was enlarged to ninety. Ratings of the prestige of these occupations was obtained by personal interview from 2,920 respondents in a nationwide study conducted by NORC in 1947. The respondents were asked to rate each of the ninety occupations in accordance with the following instructions… ‘For each job mentioned, please pick out the statement which best gives your own personal opinion of the general standing that such a job has: 1. Excellent standing, 2. Good standing, 3. Average standing, 4. Somewhat below average standing, 5. Poor standing.’” Occupational Careers: A Sociological Perspective -By Walter L. Slocum
RANK OF THE US AMONG THE 17 LEADING INDUSTRIAL NATIONS WITH THE LARGEST POPULATIONS IN POVERTY #1
Bill Gate’s Average hourly wage $650,000/hr
Median hourly wage of a former welfare recipient • $6.61 /hr
Hourly Wages for American Men • White collar (47% of workforce)= $22.20/hr • Service (10% of workforce) = $10.92/hr • Blue collar (40% of workforce) = $13.71 Hourly Wages for American Women • White collar (73% of workforce)= $14.90/hr • Service (15%)= $8.17/hr • Blue collar (9%)= $9.94 /hr
Percentage of 5000 Americans polled who cited “lack of effort as a reason people are poor” 43%
Percentage who cited “strong effort” as a reason some people are rich 53%
The American Dream 1.The belief that everyone can participate equally and can always start over. 2. The belief that it is reasonable to anticipate success. 3. The belief that success is a result of individual characteristics and that actions are under one’s control. 4. The belief that success is associated with virtue and merit. Source: Hochschild, Jennifer. Facing Up to the American Dream: Race, Class, and the Soul of the Nation
Small Group Discussion What is the existing class structure in the town of Manchester? Are neighborhoods mixed or segregated by class? Which classes live in which areas and go to which schools? Which groups tend to shop at which stores, worship at which religious centers, belong to which social clubs? Does any one group hold the power in local government? Are there venues where various classes intermingle? Are there any class issues which the community is currently confronting?---for example, in housing, job development, or education?