Chapter 13 Social Stratification in Contemporary Societies: Class, Caste and Race
Chapter Questions & key points • How do anthropologists explain social stratification? • What are some differences among class-, caste- , and racially stratified societies? • Degree to which individuals have equal access to wealth, power & prestige. • Basis: • Physical appearance, ethnicity, profession, family background, gender, ideology, age or skill in economic/political roles.
Chapter Questions • What are some characteristics of the social stratification system in the United States, and how does it affect the lives and lifestyles of individuals and groups? • How has anthropology contributed to antiracism in the United States? • What are some similarities and differences between the racial stratification systems of Brazil and the United States?
Dimensions of Social Inequality (stratification) • Power—control resources in one’s own interest. • Wealth—accumulation of material resources or access to production. • Prestige—social honor or respect.
Status & Types of Societies • Ascribed Status • Achieved Status • Types of societies: • Egalitarian • Rank societies • Stratified • Class • Caste
Social Class in the United States • Status depends on occupation, education, and lifestyle. • “The American Dream,” democratic principle of equality and opportunity for all. • Social class in the United States. • Homeless people • Welfare recipients • Money “whitens”
Caste System • System of stratification based on birth. • Movement from one caste to another is not possible. • Castes are hereditary, endogamous, ranked in relation to one another and usually associated with a traditional occupation.
Hindu Caste System Four caste categories • Brahmins - priests and scholars • Kshatriyas - ruling and warrior caste • Vaisyas - the merchants • Shudras - menial workers and artisans • Harijans – “untouchables”
U.S. Racial Stratification Systems • Race- social construction & biological fallacy. • Divides people into “blacks” and “whites” • Theories of stratification • Social inequality- a human universal? • Rule of Hypo descent. • “Melting pot” & Anglo Conformity • Separatism or Pluralism (Multiculturalism) • By year 2050- 53% Latinos • Immigration issues
Race Stratification in the U.S. and Brazil • Two largest multiracial societies in the Americas. • Legacy of slavery =racial inequality. • Brazil: 45% of nonwhite families and 25% of white families live below the poverty line. • U.S.: 30% of nonwhite families and 8% of white families live below the poverty line.