Social class in_the_united_states
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Social class in_the_united_states Social class in_the_united_states Presentation Transcript

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