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Chapter 7: Class and Stratification in the United States. Objectives (slide 1 of 2). 7.1 Social Stratification Overview Compare and contrast the key principles of the four stratification systems. 7.2 Social Stratification Systems

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Chapter 7: Class and Stratification in the United States


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    1. Chapter 7: Class and Stratification in the United States

    2. Objectives (slide 1 of 2) 7.1 Social Stratification Overview • Compare and contrast the key principles of the four stratification systems. 7.2 Social Stratification Systems • Describe how stratification systems have changed over time, highlighting differences between traditional and modern stratification systems. 7.3 Sociological Perspectives on Social Stratification • Contrast competing theories of social stratification. 7.4 Inequality in the United States: Income and Wealth • Illustrate the amount of inequality found in various measures of income and wealth in the United States.

    3. Objectives (slide 2 of 2) 7.5 Social Mobility: The Myth and the Reality • Define social mobility and identify the factors that affect it. 7.6 Poverty in the United States • Describe how the United States characterizes poverty. • Explain the culture of poverty. 7.7 Why Class Matters • Explain the consequences of stratification for health, education, family, crime, and technology. 7.8 Summing Up: Social Stratification in the United States Now and in the Future • Describe social stratification trends in the United States during the 20th and 21st centuries.

    4. Key Principles of Social Stratification Systems • Social stratification system: The structured ranking of people in a society based upon selected social statuses

    5. Stratification and Technology: A Global Perspective • The size of the surplus for any society is a function of the society’s technological development. • Inequality rises in advanced horticultural and agricultural societies, declines in industrial societies, and rises again in postindustrial societies.

    6. Traditional Stratification Systems • Caste system: A system of social stratification based on birth • Clan system: A stratification system in which social standing is based on membership in an extended network of relatives • Estate system: A system with three strata, or estates: the nobility, the church, and peasants; position is determined largely by inheritance

    7. Modern Class Systems • Ascribed social statuses:The categories into which one is born • Class system: A stratification system in which social standing is based primarily on individual achievement • Achieved social statuses: Statuses earned through individual effort facilitated by opportunity • Meritocracy: A system of social stratification based entirely on personal merit

    8. The Functional View of Social Stratification • Functionalist theory argues that inequality is universal and persists because it has positive functions for society, including: • Ensuring that society’s dirty, dangerous, and dead-end jobs will be performed • Subsidizing economic activities that benefit the affluent • Prolonging the economic life of certain goods • Upholding the legitimacy of conventional norms through punishment • Offering upward social mobility • Assuring the status of those who are not poor

    9. Karl Marx and Conflict Views of Stratification • The conflict approach argues that stratification persists because it helps the powerful maintain the status quo. • Means of production: The technologies and resources required for producing goods or services in an economy, such as factories, raw materials, and machines • Wright’s four classes: • Capitalists: People who own large businesses employing many workers • Petite bourgeoisie: People who own small businesses • Managers: People who sell their own labor but exercise authority over other employees • Workers: People who sell their labor

    10. Max Weber: Class, Status, and Power • Weber argued that there are three important dimensions: • Social class: Ranking in a stratification system based on either one’s level of wealth and income or one’s relationship to the means of production • Prestige: The respect and admiration accorded a social position or occupation and people in those positions by others • Power: The capacity to influence or control the behavior of others

    11. Socioeconomic Status • SES (socioeconomic status): A composite index of social status based on occupational prestige, income, and educational attainment • Status consistency: The tendency for people having high status in one area of their lives to also have high status in other areas

    12. Interactionist Perspectives: The Social Construction of Inequality • Interactionist views look at how individuals perceive, report, and define their own social class. • Cultural capital: The tastes, language, attitudes, and general ways of thinking that influence our interactions with one another • Conspicuous consumption: Blatant efforts to display status through the possession or consumption of status symbols, such as expensive cars or clothes

    13. The Distribution of Income The most commonly considered measure of economic inequality is income—the money people receive as rents, royalties, wages, or profits.

    14. The Distribution of Wealth • Net worth: Household wealth based on the difference between assets and liabilities • Net financial assets:Household wealth after equity in homes has been deducted

    15. Social Mobility (slide 1 of 2) • Social mobility: Changing one’s social status and thereby changing one’s social ranking in the stratification system • Vertical social mobility: A significant increase or decrease in social standing as measured by social status, class, or power • Intergenerational mobility: An upward or downward change in social standing or social status of children relative to their parents • Intragenerational mobility: An upward or downward change in social standing for an individual over the course of his or her lifetime • Structural mobility: Mobility resulting from changes in a society’s occupational structure or stratification system rather than from individual achievement

    16. Social Mobility and Opportunity • Intrageneratonal income mobility for men and women are decidedly unequal.

    17. Poverty in the United States • Relative poverty: Deprivation experienced by some people in contrast to others who have more • Absolute poverty: A condition of deprivation in which people have too little money or other resources to obtain all they need for basic survival • Poverty line or poverty threshold: Roughly three times the amount of money required for a family to spend for food

    18. US Poverty in Historical Context In 2009, 43.6 million people or 14.3% of the population fell below the poverty line in the United States. Fifty years earlier, poverty rates in the United States were over 22%. As can be seen in Figure 7-20, between 1959 and 1974, poverty was cut almost in half, from 22.2% to 12.6%. But since 1975, the poverty rate has remained between 10% and 15%, actually increasing a little to its current rate of 14.3%.

    19. Who Are the Poor? • People in the United States are more likely to be poor if they are: • Children • Women • Feminization of poverty: A tendency for adult women to be poor much more frequently than adult men • Members of racial or ethnic minorities • Members of single-parent households with children • People living in inner cities or in rural areas

    20. The Culture of Poverty • Working poor: Working people whose incomes fall below the poverty line • Culture of poverty: A subculture associated with people in lower social classes that is thought to encourage them to become resigned to their fate and to discourage personal achievement

    21. A Permanent Underclass • Underclass: The most impoverished segment of American society, for whom poverty is relatively permanent

    22. Welfare versus Wealthfare • Wealthfare: Government policies and programs that primarily benefit the wealthy and large corporations

    23. Why Class Matters • Life styles: Activities, behaviors, possessions, and other, often visible characteristics of how an individual spends her or his time and money • Life chances: The likelihood of realizing a certain quality of life or the probability of experiencing certain positive or negative outcomes in life such as material goods and favorable life experiences

    24. Key Impacts • Family life • Education • Crime and criminal justice • Technology • Digital divide: Inequalities in access to technologies such as the Internet and computers

    25. Inequality and Economic Growth • Life expectancy tends to be lower in countries with greater income inequality.