Social class in_the_united_states


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Social class in_the_united_states

  1. 1. Social Class in the United States By Danny Leavy
  2. 2. Social Class Definition Debate <ul><li>Max Weber defines social class as a large group of people who rank close to one another in terms of wealth, power, and prestige. </li></ul><ul><li>According to Karl Marx there are two groups in social class: capitalists who own means of production and workers who sell their labor. </li></ul><ul><li>Most sociologists adopt Max Weber's components of social class. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Wealth, Power, and Prestige <ul><li>Wealth is how much one's property is worth minus its debts. </li></ul><ul><li>Power is the ability to carry out your will despite resistance from others. </li></ul><ul><li>Prestige is one's respect or regard. </li></ul><ul><li>The top 20% of the population receives almost half of the income. </li></ul><ul><li>The bottom 20% of the population receives slightly more than 4% </li></ul>
  4. 4. Occupations and Prestige <ul><li>There are 4 features that determine the prestige of an occupation: </li></ul><ul><li>1. Greater pay </li></ul><ul><li>2. Require more education </li></ul><ul><li>3. Entail more abstract thought </li></ul><ul><li>4. Independence or self direction </li></ul>
  5. 5. Status Inconsistency <ul><li>Status inconsistency refers to people who rank higher on some dimensions of social class and lower on others. </li></ul><ul><li>Example: A janitor for an apartment complex often makes more money than many of the tenants they clean for. </li></ul><ul><li>Class examples. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Old Models vs New <ul><li>The old social class models of Karl Marx and and Max Weber were very broad. Weber had just a definition and Marx had only two levels of class. </li></ul><ul><li>Erik Wright later modified Marx's model and added two more classes. </li></ul><ul><li>Dennis Gilbert and Joseph Kahl's model consists of six social classes. </li></ul><ul><li>The new models are much more specific and clearly separate classes. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Gilbert and Kohls Model <ul><li>Upper (Capitalists)- Income of $1,000,000+. Investors, heirs, and top executives. </li></ul><ul><li>Upper Middle- $125,000+. Professionals and upper managers. </li></ul><ul><li>Lower Middle- About $60,000. Lower managers and craftspeople. </li></ul><ul><li>Working- About $35,000. Factory workers and retail sales. </li></ul><ul><li>Working Poor- About $17,000. Laborers and service workers. </li></ul><ul><li>Underclass- Under $10,000. Unemployed and part-time workers. </li></ul>
  8. 9. Social Class Consequences <ul><li>The lower one's social class, the more likely they are to die before the expected age. </li></ul><ul><li>People in lower classes are more likely to smoke, eat fats, abuse drugs and alcohol, and get little or no exercise. </li></ul><ul><li>Mental problems are associated with lower classes due to stress levels. </li></ul><ul><li>Divorces are more likely to occur in lower class families. </li></ul>
  9. 10. Social Class Consequences Continued <ul><li>Episcopalians are more likely to be upper or middle class. </li></ul><ul><li>Baptists are generally lower class. </li></ul><ul><li>The higher people are on the social class ladder, the more likely they are to vote Republican. </li></ul><ul><li>Members of the lower class are more likely to be in prison, on probation, or on parole. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Social Class and Technology <ul><li>The development of new technology helps the capitalist and upper class expand businesses worldwide. </li></ul><ul><li>Technology eliminates the need for specialized craft workers in the lower-middle class. </li></ul><ul><li>The working poor and the underclass are left with few job opportunities due to technology. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Social Mobility <ul><li>There are three types of social mobility. </li></ul><ul><li>Intergenerational mobility refers to a change that occurs between generations. </li></ul><ul><li>Structural mobility refers to a change in society that causes large numbers of people to move up or down. </li></ul><ul><li>Exchange mobility occurs when large numbers of people move up and down but remain balanced. </li></ul>
  12. 13. Women and Social Mobility <ul><li>Classic studies of social mobility did not have women in their own classes, they were attached to the class of their husband. </li></ul><ul><li>Male sociologists claimed that they left women out because there were too few women in the work force. </li></ul><ul><li>Studies show that most women in managerial positions were told by their family to postpone marriage and get an education. </li></ul>
  13. 14. Definition of Poverty <ul><li>The government computes a low-cost food budget and multiplies it by 3 to draw the poverty line. </li></ul><ul><li>This method was developed in the 1960s when poor people spent about 1/3 of their money on food. </li></ul><ul><li>It is now estimated that poor people spend about 1/5 of their money on food, meaning they should multiply the number by 5 to draw the line. </li></ul>
  14. 15. Characteristics of the Poor <ul><li>Poverty by race: 10% of whites, 10% of Asian Americans, 22% of Latinos, 24% of African Americans, and 26% of Native Americans live in poverty. </li></ul><ul><li>3% of people who finish college end up in poverty. </li></ul><ul><li>More than 20% of high school dropouts end up in poverty. </li></ul><ul><li>16% of rural Americans are poor. </li></ul>
  15. 17. Structural vs. Individual Poverty <ul><li>Structural reasons for poverty include </li></ul><ul><li>racial, age and gender discrimination. </li></ul><ul><li>Closing of plants, fewer unskilled jobs and increase in minimum wage jobs are more structural reasons for poverty. </li></ul><ul><li>Individual reasons for poverty include dropping out of school and having children in the teen years. </li></ul>
  16. 18. Changes in Welfare Policy <ul><li>U.S. Welfare was restructured in 1996 </li></ul><ul><li>Change required states to place a lifetime cap on welfare assistance and compel welfare recipients to look for work and take available jobs. </li></ul><ul><li>The maximum length of time someone can collect welfare is 5 yrs. </li></ul><ul><li>People who oppose the law call it an attack on the poor while defenders say it will rescue people from poverty </li></ul>
  17. 19. Horatio Alger Myth <ul><li>The myth is the belief that limitless possibilities exist for everyone. </li></ul><ul><li>It encourages people to compete for higher positions and helps society a lot of the time. </li></ul><ul><li>On the other hand, it implies that if you do not make it, it is your own fault. </li></ul><ul><li>Since the fault is viewed as the individuals, societies arrangements can be regarded as satisfactory. </li></ul>
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