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What Is Social Stratification? Systems of Stratification Slavery The Caste System The Class System Classical Perspectives on Social Class Karl Marx: Relationship to the Means of Production Max Weber: Wealth, Prestige, and Power Contemporary Sociological Models of the U.S. Class Structure The Weberian Model of the U.S. Class Structure The Marxian Model of the U.S. Class Structure Inequality in the United States Distribution of Income and Wealth Consequences of Inequality Poverty in the United States Who Are the Poor? Economic and Structural Sources of Poverty Solving the Poverty Problem Sociological Explanations of Social Inequality in the United States Functionalist Perspectives Conflict Perspectives Symbolic Interactionist Perspectives U.S. Stratification in the Future Class and Stratification in the United States W e treat them in hospitals every day. They are young brothers, often drug dealers, gang members, or small-time criminals, who show up shot, stabbed, or beaten after a hustle gone bad. To some of our medical colleagues, they are just nameless thugs, perpetuating crime and death in neighborhoods that have seen far too much of these things. But when we look into their faces, we see ourselves as teenagers, we see our friends, we see what we easily could have become as young adults. And were reminded of the thin line that separates us three twenty-nine-year-old doctors (an emergency- room physician, an internist, and a dentist)from those patients whose lives are filled with danger and desperation. We grew up in poor, broken homes in New Jersey neighborhoods riddled with crime, drugs, and death, and came of age in the 1980s at the height of a crack epidemic that ravaged communities like ours throughout the nation. . . . Two of us landed in juvenile-detention centers before our eighteenth birthdays. But inspired early by caring and imaginative role models, one of us in childhood latched on to a dream of becoming a This icon signals when ThomsonNOW has important resources available for you to use in conjunction with the text. See the foldout at the front of this text for infor- mation on how to access ThomsonNOW. CHAPTER 7 09656_07_ch7_p192_225.qxd 11/17/06 2:30 PM Page 192 T he remarkable success of Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt as they stuck together and worked diligently to get out of graffiti-covered New Jersey public- housing projects and to ultimately complete their education in medical and dental schools might be described as a contemporary version of the Amer- ican Dream. What is the American Dream? Simply stated, the American Dream is the belief that if people work hard and play by the rules, they will have a chance to get ahead (see Hochschild, 1995). Moreover, each generation will be able to have a higher standard of living than that of its parents (Danziger and Gottschalk, 1995). The American Dream is based on the assumption that people in the United States have equality of op- portunity regardless of their race, creed, color, na-... View Full Document

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