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Stratification. (or how you can do better than your parents did). Stratification. Systems of stratification Sociological perspectives on stratification Is stratification universal? Stratification by social class? Social mobility The global divide. Systems of Stratification.

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(or how you can do better than your parents did)

  • Systems of stratification
  • Sociological perspectives on stratification
  • Is stratification universal?
  • Stratification by social class?
  • Social mobility
  • The global divide
systems of stratification
Systems of Stratification
  • Social inequality: condition in which members of society have different amounts of wealth, prestige, or power
    • Stratification: structured ranking of entire groups of people that perpetuates unequal economic rewards and power in a society
    • Income: salaries and wages
    • Wealth: encompasses all of a person’s material assets
  • Inequality is heavily linked to achieved and ascribed status
systems of stratification1
Systems of Stratification
  • Slavery: individuals owned by other people who treat them as property
  • Castes: hereditary ranks usually religiously dictated and tend to be fixed and immobile
  • Estate system (feudalism): required peasants to work land leased to them in exchange for military protection and other services
  • Class system: social ranking based primarily on economic position in which achieved characteristics can influence social mobility
    • Upper class
    • Upper-middle class
    • Lower-middle class
    • Working class
    • Lower class
karl marx and class differentiation
Karl Marx and Class Differentiation
  • Social relations depend on who controls the primary mode of production
    • Capitalism: means of production held largely in private hands and main incentive for economic activity is accumulation of profits
    • Bourgeoisie: capitalist class; owns the means of production
    • Proletariat: working class
karl marx and class differentiation1
Karl Marx and Class Differentiation
  • Class consciousness: subjective awareness of common vested interests and the need for collective political action to bring about change
  • False consciousness: attitude held by members of class that does not accurately reflect their objective position
    • Most Americans when asked will say they belong in the middle class
max weber and stratification
Max Weber and Stratification
  • No single dimestion totally defines a society’s stratification system
    • Class: group of people who have similar level of wealth and income
    • Status group: people who have the same prestige or lifestyle
    • Power: ability to exercise one’s will over others
interactionist perspective
Interactionist Perspective
  • Interactionists interested in importance of social class in shaping person’s lifestyle
    • Thorsten Veblen: those at top of social hierarchy typically convert part of wealth into conspicuous consumptionor leisure
  • Stratification also influences peer groups an individual is exposed to
    • Argot
is stratification universal
Is Stratification Universal?
  • Functionalist view: social inequality necessary so people will be motivated to fill functionally important positions
    • Does not explain extreme inequality
  • Conflict view: human beings are prone to conflict over scarce resources as wealth, status, and power
    • Stratification major source of societal tension
    • Leads to instability and social change
  • Lenski’s view: as a society advances technologically, it becomes capable of producing surplus of goods, thus expands the possibilities for inequality in status, influence, and power
measuring social class
Measuring Social Class
  • Objective Method
    • Class largely viewed as a statistical category
      • Education
      • Occupation
      • Income
      • Place of residence
    • Prestige: respect and admiration an occupation holds in society
    • Esteem: reputation specific person has earned within an occupation
measuring social class1
Measuring Social Class
  • Multiple Measures
    • Statistical methods and computer technology have multiplied that factors used to define class under the objective method
    • Socioeconomic status (SES)
      • Income
      • Education
      • Occupation
  • Wealth is unevenly distributed in the US, even more than income
  • Absolute poverty: Minimum level of subsistence that no family should live below
  • Poverty line
  • Relative poverty: Floating standard by which people at the bottom of a society are judged as being disadvantaged in comparison to the nation as a whole
  • Who are the poor?
    • Feminization of poverty: trend since World War II of women constituting increasing proportion of poor people of U.S.
    • About half of all women in the United States who are living in poverty are “in transition”
    • Drastic changes to the poverty numbers since 2008
explaining poverty
Explaining Poverty
  • Herbert Gans (1995) argues that various segments of society benefit from the existence of the poor through social, economic, and political functions
  • Society’s dirty work such as dirty, dangerous, or dirty jobs are performed
  • Poverty creates jobs professions that service the poor
    • Punishment of the poor as deviants uphold the legitimacy of conventional social norms and mainstream values regarding hard work, thrift, and honesty
    • Existence of poor people guarantees the higher status of the affluent
    • Because of lack of political power, the poor often absorb the costs of social change
social mobility
Social Mobility
  • Socialmobility: movement or individuals or groups from one position in a society’s stratification system to another
  • Life chances: Opportunities people have to provide themselves with material goods, positive living conditions, and favorable life experiences
    • Housing, education, and health
  • Open system: implies the position of each individual is influenced by his achieved status
    • Encourages competition among members of a society
  • Closed system: allows little or no possibility of moving up
    • Slavery, caste, and estate systems
types of social mobility
Types of Social Mobility
  • Horizontal mobility: movement within same range of prestige
  • Vertical mobility: movement from one position to another of a different rank
  • Intergenerational mobility: social position changes of children relative to their parents
  • Intragenerational mobility: social position changes within person’s adult life
  • Mobility is influenced by race, class, gender, and education
the global divide
The Global Divide
  • Divides in global wealth emerged as result of Industrial Revolution and rising agricultural productivity
    • Sharp divides between industrial and developing nations
  • Legacy of colonialism
    • Colonialism: foreign power maintains political, social, economic, and cultural domination for an extended period
    • Neocolonialism: continued dependence on more industrialized nations for managerial and technical expertise by former colonies
wallerstein s world systems analysis
Wallerstein’s World-Systems Analysis
    • Unequal economic and political relationships in which certain industrialized nations and their global corporations dominate core of the world’s economic system
  • Dependency theory: even as developing countries make economic advances, they remain weak and subservient to core nations and corporations
  • Globalization: worldwide integration of government policies, cultures, social movements, and financial markets through trade and exchange of ideas
multinational corporations
Multinational Corporations
  • Multinational corporations: commercial organizations headquartered in one country but doing business throughout the world
    • Revenues of many multinational business are equivalent to the total value of goods and services exchanged in entire nations
  • Functionalist view: multinational corporations help developing nations of the world
  • Conflict view: Multinational corporations exploit local workers to maximize profits
  • Modernization: process through which developing nations move from traditional or less developed institutions to those characteristic of more developed society
    • Modernization theory: functionalist view that modernization and development will gradually improve lives of people in developing nations