Week 8 - Social Stratification

Week 8 - Social Stratification - Social Stratification: A...

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Social Stratification: A ranking of people based on some set of social desirables. We’ll cover both achieved and ascribed statuses, and how they affect your ranking in the social hierarchy. For now we’ll cover achieved statuses. Whenever people interact over an extended period of time, which varies, there will develop some type of stratification system based on what the group feels are social desirables. Soci. Strat. Always has/does/will be present in societies. E.g. communes who seek a classless society, inevitably end up with one anyways. With interaction, certain differences between the people will become apparent. First, more obvious ones: gender, height, skin color, eye color. Then later, more subtle ones: intelligence, humor, strength. Vertical differentiation is the ranking of people on a vertical plane. Before this happens, horizontal differences must be apparent (men, women, short, tall). Then the group comes to a decision that it’s better to be x, then y (short than tall) etc. Less than 2% of the citizens in the Soviet Union were members of the communist party, which strived for a classless society. But those who were members gained significant benefits over the average citizen. Why study social stratification? 1) It is an exceptionally insightful independent variable. If you know something about the position within the social hierarchy a position holds, you can gain great insight on that person’s behaviors and attitudes. We have discovered that the higher up one is on the social ladder, the greater likelihood they can deviate from norms and suffer little consequence. 2) The prestige hierarchy of occupations mirrors society’s value structure. Every year the national science foundation makes a grant to the American sociological association who polls at random Americans to rank occupations on a scale of 1 – 5 of prestige. The rankings of occupations have changed very little over time (since WWII). There are blips ie. during Watergate, people became jaded of politicians, and as such lawyers, congressmen etc. dropped on the rankings. 3) Social class affects longevity. Infant mortality, birth rate, fetal alcohol. Infectious diseases (exposute to toxic chemicals, occupational hazards. Protein, mineral, vitamin deficiencies, poor diets. Psychological disorders and lack of counseling. Substandard housing. Exposure to homicides and accidents. Social Class Longevity: short timeframe example, “The Titantic”
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Week 8 - Social Stratification - Social Stratification: A...

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