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Unformatted text preview: Social Stratification
Overview What is Stratification? Stratification by Social Class Theoretical Perspectives Life Chances and Social Mobility What is Stratification? Stratification: structured hierarchical ranking of social groups; the structure of social inequality Often conceptualized in terms of wealth and power, but can be based on range of variables Race/ethnicity, gender, health, education, geography... How are "rewards" distributed? How does this shape power, privilege, and opportunity? Social Class: hierarchical group rankings based on economic position Most often measured by... Stratification by Social Class Income: refers to cash flow, typically from wages and salaries earned from employment, plus money from investments Wealth: refers to all material assets, including cash, savings, stocks, bonds, property, etc. Distinction between wealth and income (ex. farmers) Stratification by Social Class
Household Income in U.S.
>$157,00; ~5% Upper Class Upper Middle Class $156,999 $88,000; ~15% Lower Middle Class $87,999 $35,000; ~40% Working Class Lower Class The "Underclass"
$34,999 $19,000; ~20% <$19,000; ~15% Beneath the class system U.S. Census 2005 Stratification by Social Class Income in the U.S. is distributed unequally The distribution of wealth is even more unequal
50% 3.4% 8.6% 14.7% 23.3%
Lowest Second Third Fourth Highest Household income by quintile, 2008 Income Inequality is Increasing Why is Income Inequality Increasing in the U.S.? Globalization and economic restructuring Loss of ground among the less educated Move toward more regressive tax policies Changes in pay structures Stratification by Social Class Social class can also be measured by... Occupational prestige: respect and admiration that a job holds in society High Prestige: Physician, lawyer, dentist, clergy Low Prestige: Garbage collector, waiter/waitress, janitor Theoretical Perspectives on Stratification
Is Stratification Universal? Functionalist Perspective Yes. System of differential rewards and punishments necessary for the efficient operation of society Motivates people to fill positions that society needs filled Theoretical Perspectives on Stratification
Is Stratification Universal? Conflict Perspective Yes. Competition between groups over scarce resources results is an inherent social dynamic Key question in understanding society is who has wealth and power and who does not Theoretical Perspectives
Karl Marx Class differentiation the crucial determinant of social inequality Class struggle the result of the conflict between owners (capitalists) and workers (the proletariat) Who owns the means of production? (Ex. Land, factories, information) Theoretical Perspectives
Max Weber Stratification not just about social class Three distinct components of stratification: Class: economic standing Status: social honor, prestige Power: ability to exercise one's will over others Life Chances and Social Mobility Life Chances Opportunities to obtain material goods, positive living conditions, and favorable life experiences Occupying a higher position in society improves your life chances Allows greater access to social rewards Life Chances and Social Mobility
Social Mobility Movement within a system of stratification Open Systems of Stratification: Positions mainly influenced by achieved statuses Encourages competition among members of society Present little or no possibility of social mobility Positions mainly influenced by ascribed statuses Closed Systems of Stratification: Social Stratification
In Sum Social stratification is a universal structural feature of society Social class is key dimension of social stratification in modern world System of stratification has a profound influence on life chances ...
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- Spring '07
- Social Mobility