Sociology Study Guide 3.docx - Dimensions of Social...

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Dimensions of Social StratificationSocial Stratification involves hierarchal differences associated with economic positions, social status and political power.Social stratification has a significant effect on how valuable resources are allocated in society.Social Class: refers to economic position in the stratification system based on income.oPeople with similar income and wealth rank close to one another. oMarxUpper class are the Bourgeoisie who own the means of production.Lower class are the Proletariat, the workers.Dimensions of Social ClassSee DiagramStatusoThe prestige attached to one’s position in societyoHigher status---more formal educationoLower status---less formal educationPoweroThe ability to get others to do what you want them tooExists in almost every institutionoThose who have lots of power rank high in the stratification system, while those with little or no power are near the bottomoGreater income is generally associated with more powerConsistency Across Dimensions of StratificationoSimilar positions are accompanied by similar rankings on all three dimensions (status and power).oThe manager of a department within a corporation is likely to have a middle-classsalary, mid-range wealth, and middling prestige.Economic InequalityInequality – a condition whereby some positions in society yield a great deal of money, status, and power, whole others yield little, if any, of these. The stratification in the United States (and most of the world) is based on money.Jean Baudrillard, in his critique of money economies, argued for an economy and social system based on symbolic exchange:oExchange, or swapping, is valued in itself and for the human relationships involved and not because of the economic gains derived from it.oGreater contributions to the well-being of the group are rewarded with higher ranking in the group, rather than with money.Income
oThe amount of money a person earns (job, business, returns on assets)oUsually measured year to yearWealthoTotal amount of a person’s financial assets, less total liabilitiesIncome InequalityoPolitically charged issueoSince the 1970s there has been a substantial increase in income inequality in many countries, including in the U.S.oIn 1979, the top 1% of Americans earned 9% of all income; in 2007 the top 1% earned 23.5% of all income.oThe Occupy Wall Street social movement, begun in 2011, was a response to the income disparity in the United States.Reasons for Income Inequality - the consequences of a “winner-take-all” society:oDeindustrializationoTechnological advancesoPolitical climateoTax cuts, and shift in tax policies to favor long-term capital gainsoCuts to federal benefitsoIncomes for executives and superstars in sports and entertainment have skyrocketed.

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