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Global stratification

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  • Social stratification is the division of large numbers of people into layers according to their relative power, property, and prestige. It applies to both nations and to people within a nation, society, or other group. Social stratification affects all of one’s life chances, from access to material possessions and position in society to life expectancy.
  • Social stratification is the division of large numbers of people into layers according to their relative power, property, and prestige. It applies to both nations and to people within a nation, society, or other group. Social stratification affects all of one’s life chances, from access to material possessions and position in society to life expectancy.
  • The caste system is a form of social stratification based on ascribed status that follows an individual throughout his or her life. India provides the best example of a caste system. Based on Hinduism (reincarnation and karma), India’s caste system has existed for almost three thousand years. Although the Indian government formally abolished the caste system in 1949, it still remains a respected aspect of Indian tradition and is strictly followed by a significant portion of the population.   During the middle ages, Europe developed the estate stratification system. In the estate system there were three groups, or estates. These were the nobility, clergy, and commoners.   In the class system, social stratification is based on the possession of money or material possessions. A major characteristic of the class system is that it allows social mobility, or movement up and down the class ladder.  
  • The caste system is a form of social stratification based on ascribed status that follows an individual throughout his or her life. India provides the best example of a caste system. Based on Hinduism (reincarnation and karma), India’s caste system has existed for almost three thousand years. Although the Indian government formally abolished the caste system in 1949, it still remains a respected aspect of Indian tradition and is strictly followed by a significant portion of the population.   During the middle ages, Europe developed the estate stratification system. In the estate system there were three groups, or estates. These were the nobility, clergy, and commoners.   In the class system, social stratification is based on the possession of money or material possessions. A major characteristic of the class system is that it allows social mobility, or movement up and down the class ladder.  
  • Karl Marx and Max Weber disagreed on the meaning of social class in industrialized societies. According to Marx, people’s relationship to the means of production is the sole factor in determining their social class. They either belong to the bourgeoisie (those who owned the means of production) or the proletariat (those who work for the owners). According to Weber, Marx’s typology is too limiting because social class, as well as people’s social class standing, consists of three interrelated components: property, prestige, and power.
  • Although all sociologists agree that social stratification is universal, they disagree as to why it is universal. The functionalist view of social stratification, developed by Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore, concludes that stratification is inevitable because society must make certain that its positions are filled; ensure that the most qualified people fill the most important positions; and finally, to motivate the most qualified individuals to fill the most important positions, society must offer them the greatest reward to fill the most important positions.
  • Conflict theorists contend that conflict, not function, is the basis of social stratification. Italian sociologist Gaetano Mosca argued that in every society groups compete for power. The groups that gain power use that power to manipulate, control, and exploit the groups “beneath them.” Members of the ruling elite in every society develop ideologies that justify their society’s social stratification system. By dominating their society’s major social institutions and, thereby, controlling information and ideas, members of the ruling elite are able to socialize other group members into accepting their “proper places” in the social order.
  • Marx believed the elite maintained their position at the top of the stratification system by seducing the oppressed into believing their welfare depended on keeping society stable. Gerhard Lenski suggested the key to understanding stratification is based on the accumulation of surplus.  
  • Stratification is universal, although the methods for stratification vary from culture to culture. Two examples of how stratification differs are illustrated by social stratification in Great Britain and the former Soviet Union. In Britain, the most striking features of the class system are differences in speech (including accents) and education. In the former Soviet Union, communism resulted in one set of social classes being replaced by another.
  • The nations of the world can be divided into three categories, using the extent of industrialization as a basis for stratification. This results in a triadic division of the Most Industrialized Nations, Industrializing Nations, and Least Industrialized Nations. Just as every society stratifies its member, the nations of the world are also stratified with the most industrialized nations controlling most of the world’s wealth and resources.
  • The theory of colonialism focuses on how the nations that industrialized first got the jump on the rest of the world. According to world system theory as espoused by Immanuel Wallerstein, countries are politically and economically tied together. John Kenneth Galbraith argued that some nations remained poor because they were crippled by a culture of poverty, a way of life based on traditional values and religious beliefs that perpetuated poverty from one generation to the next and kept some of the Least Industrialized Nations from developing.
  • The theory of colonialism focuses on how the nations that industrialized first got the jump on the rest of the world. According to world system theory as espoused by Immanuel Wallerstein, countries are politically and economically tied together. John Kenneth Galbraith argued that some nations remained poor because they were crippled by a culture of poverty, a way of life based on traditional values and religious beliefs that perpetuated poverty from one generation to the next and kept some of the Least Industrialized Nations from developing.
  • Neocolonialism is the economic and political dominance of the Least Industrialized Nations by the Most Industrialized Nations. Multinational corporations contribute to exploitation of the Least Industrialized Nations. The new technology favors the Most Industrialized Nations, enabling them to maintain their global domination.

Global stratification Global stratification Presentation Transcript

  • Global StratificationImportant ideas are in (azul)…the second to last soclecture ever, woot!!
  • Systems of Social Stratification• Social stratification refers to a hierarchy ofprivilege based on property, power, andprestige.• Every society stratifies its members, and inevery society men as a group are placedabove women as a group
  • Systems of Social Stratification• Four major stratification systems are slavery,caste, estate, and class• The essential characteristic of slavery is thatsome people own other people• In a caste system, status is determined by birthand is lifelong.• The estate system of feudal Europe consisted ofthe nobility, clergy, and peasants• A class system is much more open than theseother systems, for it is based primarily on moneyor material possessions.
  • Systems of Social Stratification
  • What Determines Social Class?• Karl Marx argued that a single factordetermines social class: If you own the meansof production, you belong to the bourgeoisie;if you do not, you are one of the proletariat.• Max Weber argued that three elementsdetermine social class: property, power, andprestige.
  • © 2012 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.The Distribution of the Earth’s Wealth
  • Why Is Social Stratification Universal?• To explain why stratification is universal,functionalists Kingsley Davis and WilbertMoore argued that to attract the mostcapable people to fill its important positions,society must offer them greater rewards.• Melvin Tumin said that if this view werecorrect, society would be a meritocracy, withpositions awarded on the basis of merit.
  • Why Is Social Stratification Universal?• Conflict theorists argue that stratification isthe outcome of an elite emerging as groupsstruggle for limited resources.• Gerhard Lenski suggested a synthesis betweenthe functionalist and conflict perspectives.
  • © 2012 PearsonEducation, Inc. All rightsreserved.
  • How Do Elites Maintain Stratification?• To maintain social stratification within anation, the ruling class adopts an ideologythat justifies its current arrangements.• It also controls information and usestechnology. When all else fails, it turns tobrute force.
  • Comparative Social Stratification• The most striking features of the British classsystem are speech and education.• In Britain, accent reveals social class, andalmost all of the elite attend “public” schools(the equivalent of U.S. private schools).• In the former Soviet Union, communism wassupposed to abolish class distinctions. Instead,it merely ushered in a different set of classes.
  • Global Stratification: Three Worlds• World’s nations can be divided into threegroups: the Most Industrialized, theIndustrializing, and the Least Industrialized.• This layering represents relative property,power, and prestige.• The oil-rich nations are an exception.
  • © 2012 PearsonEducation, Inc. All rightsreserved.
  • © 2012 PearsonEducation, Inc. All rightsreserved.
  • © 2012 PearsonEducation, Inc. All rightsreserved.
  • © 2012 PearsonEducation, Inc. All rightsreserved.Least Industrialized Nations = Life being cheap
  • Global Stratification: ThreeWorlds• The main theories that seek to account forglobal stratification are• Colonialism• world system theory• culture of poverty.
  • Global Stratification: ThreeWorlds
  • Maintaining Global Stratification• There are two basic explanations for why theworld’s countries remain stratified.• Neocolonialism is the ongoing dominance ofthe Least Industrialized Nations by the MostIndustrialized Nations.• The second explanation points to theinfluence of multinational corporations.• The new technology gives further advantageto the Most Industrialized Nations
  • Strains in the Global System• All stratification systems have contradictionsthat threaten to erupt, forcing the system tochange.• Currently, capitalism is in crisis, and we seemto be experiencing a global shift in economic(and, ultimately political) power from theWest to the East