3-23 - Soc March 23, 2010 Stratification I. What is...

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Soc – March 23, 2010 Stratification I. What is stratification? a. Definition i. The unequal distribution of the things people find important in their lives ii. All societies feature some degree of inequality, however we know the degree of inequality is highly variable 1. Some feature extreme inequality, while some feature minimal to moderate inequality 2. Variable Features a. The amount of inequality present b. How much upward and downward mobility are present ( variation ) i. How many people start off at the top and lose their job and fall to the bottom b. Dimensions of Stratification i. Power 1. Def : The ability to impose your will on other people, even against their resistance (getting people to do what you want, even if they don’t want to) 2. Ex: bosses, parents, the IRS, blackmail, professors ii. Prestige (status) 1. Def : fairly synonymous (with respect), position in social space iii. Material Resources (ex: land, money, stocks, artwork, bonds) 1. Influence our life chances 2. Wealth (aka net worth) a. The total dollar value of a person’s assets (everything you own), minus their liabilities (debt) = net worth/wealth 3. Income a. The money we get from salary and wages, the money you get from ex: renting a house to people, owning stock, the money you get from capital gains ( if you hold an asset, and over the last 5 years it has appreciated in value, the money you make is a capital gain ) b. If you hold it less than a year, it is called a short-term capital gain. If you hold it more than a year, it is a long-term capital gain c. Life Chances i. Ex: What you eat, where you live, where you go to school, how much school you’re able to get, your access to medical care ii. Everything that influences our opportunities in life iii. Very much influenced by where a person is in a stratification system iv. We define class as an aggregate for people who share similar economic positioning, therefore have similar life chances
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v. Often influences our patterns of consumption d. Patterns of Consumption i. Consumer Society 1. People are evaluated largely by the stuff they own, consequently, we should not be surprised to find that we purchase a lot of STUFF 2. The more money you have, the more things you can purchase (these people are usually viewed more highly) II. US Income Inequality a. “Snapshots” i. In 2005, the share of the national income in the top 1 percentile was 21.8% ii. In 2004, it was 19.8% iii. The top 300,000 earned as much collectively as the bottom 100,000 people iv. The top 10% earned right at 48.5% of the national income v. Between 1950-1970, for each additional dollar earned by the bottom 90%, the top .01% earned an additional $162.
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3-23 - Soc March 23, 2010 Stratification I. What is...

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