Chapter 7. Class and Stratification in the United States. Questions for you…. How much is “social class” a factor in people’s lives? How many social classes are there in the United States? Is there still a “middle class,” given the economic challenges of today?
Class and Stratification in the United States
How much is “social class” a factor in people’s lives?
How many social classes are there in the United States?
Is there still a “middle class,” given the economic challenges of today?
Can individuals change their social class location?
What Is Social Stratification?
Systems of Stratification
Classical Perspectives on Social Class
Contemporary Sociological Models of the U.S. Class Structure
Inequality in the United States
Poverty in the United States
Sociological Explanations of Social Inequality in the United States
U.S. Stratification in the Future
Poverty is a standard of living below the minimum needed to for the maintenance of an adequate diet, health care and shelter.
Poverty affects approximately 12% of the total American population and millions more worldwide.
Hierarchy of social groups based on differential control over resources.
Sociologists examine social groups that make up the hierarchy in a society, to determine how inequalities persist over time.
Open system - boundaries between hierarchies may be influenced by people’s achieved statuses.
Closed system - boundaries between hierarchies are rigid, people’s positions are set by ascribed status.
No stratification system is completely open or closed.
It was for life and was inherited.
Slaves were considered property, not human beings.
Slaves were denied rights.
Coercion was used to keep slaves “in their place”.
Status is determined at birth based on parents’ ascribed characteristics.
Cultural values sustain caste systems and caste systems grow weaker as societies industrialize.
Vestiges of caste systems can remain for hundreds of years after they are officially abolished.
A type of stratification based on the ownership and control of resources and on the type of work people do.
Horizontal mobility occurs when people experience a gain or loss in position and/or income that does not produce a change in their place in the class structure.
Vertical mobility is movement up or down the class structure is.
Ownership of the means of production.
Supervising others on the job.
Being employed by someone else.
Wealth is the value of a person’s or family’s economic assets, including income, personal property, and income-producing property.
Prestige is the regard with which a person or status position is regarded by others.
Power is the ability of people or groups to achieve their goals despite opposition from others.
A combined measure that, in order to determine class location, attempts to classify individuals, families, or households in terms of factors such as income, occupation, and education.
Upper Class - comprised of people who own substantial income-producing assets.
Upper-Middle Class - based on university degrees, authority on the job, and high income.
Middle Class - a minimum of a high school diploma or a community college degree.
Working Class - semiskilled workers, in routine, mechanized jobs, and workers in pink collar occupations.
Working Poor - live just above to just below the poverty line.
Underclass - people who are poor, seldom employed, and caught in long-term deprivation.
Relatively low-paying, nonmanual, semiskilled positions primarily held by women, such as day-care workers, checkout clerks, cashiers, and waitpersons.
Those who are poor, seldom employed, and caught in long-term deprivation that results from low levels of education and income and high rates of unemployment.
The capitalist class
The managerial class
The small-business class
The working class
Income - wages, salaries, government aid, and property
Wealth - value of economic assets, including income and property.
Wealth can generate income.
The federal income standard that is based on what is considered to be the minimum amount of money required for living at a subsistence level.
A reduction in the proficiency needed to perform a specific job that leads to a corresponding reduction in the wages for that job.
Societies have tasks that must be accomplished and positions that must be filled.
Some positions are more important for the survival of society than others.
The most important positions must be filled by the most qualified people.
The positions that are the most important for society and that require scarce talent, extensive training, or both must be the most highly rewarded.
The most highly rewarded positions should be those that are functionally unique (no other position can perform the same function) and on which other positions rely for expertise, direction, or financing.
A hierarchy in which all positions are rewarded based on people’s ability and credentials.
5. People who are wealthy and well educated and who have high-paying jobs are much more likely to be healthy than are poor people.