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CHAPTER 5 STRATIFICATION IN THE UNITED STATES AND WORLDWIDE CHAPTER OUTLINE UNDERSTANDING STRATIFICATION Systems of Stratification Perspectives on Stratification Is Stratification Universal? STRATIFICATION BY SOCIAL CLASS Measuring Social Class Wealth and Income Poverty Life Chances SOCIAL MOBILITY Open versus Closed Stratification Systems Types of Social Mobility Social Mobility in the United States STRATIFICATION IN THE WORLD SYSTEM The Legacy of Colonialism Multinational Corporations Modernization 115
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1. Describe the various systems of stratification. 2. Discuss the various sociological perspectives on stratification. 3. Identify the methods used to measure stratification. 4. Discuss the issues surrounding the study of poverty. 5. Define social mobility and identify the various types of social mobility. 6. Discuss the impact of various social factors on social mobility. 7. Describe the various components of the world system analysis. 8. Discuss the effects of globalization from the various sociological perspectives. CHAPTER SUMMARY The term social inequality describes a condition in which members of a society have different amounts of wealth, prestige, or power. When a system of social inequality is based on a hierarchy of groups, sociologists refer to it as stratification : a structured ranking of entire groups of people that perpetuates unequal economic rewards and power in a society. To help understand stratification systems, one must discern between ascribed and achieved statuses. Ascribed status is a social position assigned to a person without regard for that person’s unique characteristics or talent such as race, gender or ethnicity. Achieved status is a social position attained by a person largely through his or her own effort such as occupation or graduating college. The most extreme form of legalized social inequality is slavery . Castes are hereditary systems of social inequality usually religiously dictated. A class system is a social ranking based primarily on economic position. Some sociologists have suggested that only 1 to 2 percent of the people in the United States are in the upper-class, whereas the lower class consists of approximately 20 to 25 percent of the population. The lower class is disproportionately comprised of Blacks, Hispanics, single mothers, and people with low-paying jobs. Karl Marx viewed class differentiation as the crucial determinant of social, economic, and political inequality. Marx focused on the two classes that emerged as the estate system declined, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie is the capitalist class that owns and controls the means of production, and the proletariat is the working class people that are exploited by the capitalist class. Unlike Marx, Max Weber insisted that no single characteristic totally defines a person’s social position. Weber identified three components of stratification: class, status, and power. 115
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2011 for the course SOCI 1113 taught by Professor Messer during the Summer '08 term at Oklahoma State.

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