A concept that refers to social stratification based entirely on personal merit • Includes knowledge, abilities, and effort Ideology: cultural beliefs that justify particular social arrangements, including patterns of inequality • Every culture considers some type of inequality “fair” • Ideology changes with a society’s economy and technology The functions of social stratification The Davis-Moore Thesis: Social stratification has beneficial consequences for the operation of society • Positions a society considers crucial must offer enough rewards to draw talented people away from less important work • Shoe polisher vs. doctor Critical review • Do rewards actually reflect the contributions someone makes to society? (Paris Hilton vs. Professors?) • Ignores how caste elements of social stratification can prevent the development of individual talent • Ignores social inequality Karl Marx: Class conflict • Capitalists: People who own and operate factories and other businesses in pursuit of profit • Proletariat:
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