3_8 - Social Stratification Overview What is...

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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 ranking of social groups Inequalities between individuals and groups Often in terms of wealth and income, 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) US Class Structure (household income) Upper Class Upper Middle Class Lower Middle Class Working Class Lower Class The "Underclass" >$150,000; 5% $149,999 $83,500; 15% $83,499 $33,314; 40% $33,300 $17,000; 20% <$17,000; 15% Beneath the class system Stratification by Social Class U.S. Census 2002 Stratification by Social Class Income in the U.S. is distributed unequally The distribution of wealth is even more unequal U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2002 Income Inequality is Increasing 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 (the bourgeoisie) 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 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: 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 Social Stratification In Sum Social stratification is universal feature of the structure of society Social class is key dimension of social stratification Structure of inequality has a profound influence on life chances ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course SOCL 2001 taught by Professor Mecom during the Spring '07 term at LSU.

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