February 26 2008

February 26 2008 - Sociology 101 February 26, 2008...

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February 26, 2008 Stratification Social Stratification is defined as a division of a large group or society into ranked categories of people, each of which enjoys different levels of access to scarce and valued resources o It can also be understood as structured social inequality Social class describes a category of people who share a common position in the vertical hierarchy of differential social reward Structured inequality is maintained through ideology , or a belief that legitimates existing patterns of structured social inequality o Ideology ensures that people accept their positions in the hierarchy such that structured inequality can be maintained without the use of constant force on the part of the groups that are in power o Groups at the top of hierarchy can shape how people think – this concept is known as ideological hegemony Classism is the term employed for the ideology that legitimates economic inequality o In the U.S, this ideology is the “American Dream” it describes: An acceptance of the idea that everyone who works hard can achieve wealth As such, the wealthy deserve their privileges and the poor are responsible for their situation The American Dream ideology is problematic in that wealth (and a lack thereof) is often inherited, and social stratification ensures that people don’t, in fact, all start on equal footing The degree to which a society allows for social mobility can be described in terms of closed and open systems o Closed Systems are based primarily on ascribed status and permit very little mobility Caste systems are closed systems o Open systems are based more upon achievement and permits upward or downward mobility The US is considered a fairly open system There are several theories of class o Deficiency Theory of Stratification suggests that differences in class are the direct consequences of individual variations in ability In general, this theory focuses on biological or psychological bases for success This theory fits very well within the ideology of classism o Functionalist Theory The Davis-Moore Thesis suggests that inequality is functional and
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course SOC 101 taught by Professor Goodman during the Spring '07 term at New Mexico.

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February 26 2008 - Sociology 101 February 26, 2008...

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