3 11 08 - Social Stratification A ranking of people based...

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Social Stratification A ranking of people based on some set of social desirables (wealth, prestige, and power) Exists in every group of people who interact over an extended period of time It will always be present in all societies (e.g. communes, horizontal differentiation vertical differentiation) Less than .5% of people in the Soviet Union were part of the communist party. The Party (card-carrying members) was a hierarchy with class differences. Social Stratification (vertical differentiation) begins with horizontal differentiation (noting differences) I. Why study social stratification? A. It’s a key independent variable (e.g. social class/position attitudes/behaviors) Working-class parents raise their kids with similar attitudes that they face at work An upper class student is 9x more likely to receive college/professional training compared to the lowest socioeconomic class of students Lower class kids are likely to have lower self-esteem than middle and upper-class kids, but this relationship is not that strong. Important because low self-esteem can lead to dropping out of school, gangs, drugs, etc. B. The prestige hierarchy of occupations mirrors society’s value structure What you do affects how you behave and how others act toward you Rankings depend on clientele, current events/scandals C. Social class affects longevity Upper class lives 7-10 years longer than lower class Frequent complications: 1. Infant mortality (low birth rate, fetal alcohol) 2. Infectious diseases (exposure to toxic chemicals, occupational hazards) 3. Protein, mineral, vitamin deficiencies 4. Psychological disorders (lack of counseling) 5. Substandard housing 6. Exposure to homicides and accidents Titanic: 1500 casualties, 2200 total 1 st class: Women: 4*/143 (0.6%) Children: 1/29 (3.4% of 1 st + 2 nd classes) o 2 nd class: Women: 15/93 (16.1%) o 3 rd class: Women: 81/179 (45.3%) Children: 56/76 (70%) o Social-class position affects life/death II. On what is societal stratification based? Karl Marx: wealth, economic class o Proletariat (workers) vs. bourgeoisie (owners) Max Weber: wealth (life chances), status (life style), power (politics)
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III. What is the social-class system in the US like? Household incomes Non-hispanic whites—46K; asian american—52K Class differences The top 20% of our society earns 50% of the income; the bottom 20% earn about 5% of the income The income of the top 5% of our society has gone up drastically over 20 years, while all other families’ incomes has remained relatively the same
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3 11 08 - Social Stratification A ranking of people based...

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