Section 1: Systems of StratificationSection 2: The American Class SystemSection 3: Poverty
Every society has system of separating its members based on some characteristicsSocial stratification: division of society into categories, ranks, classesMost common divisions: ancestry, race, age, physical appearance, gender
Divisions, however, lead to social inequality - unequal sharing of scarce resources and social rewards closed system: movement = impossible open system: movement = possibleLeft and Right of system - caste -vs- class
CASTE SYSTEM: scarce resources and social rewards are distributed on the basis of ascribed statuses Newborn child’s lifelong status (or caste) determined by the status of his/her parents Can you marry outside status? Exogamy (marry outside) Endogamy (marry inside) Country models of the Caste System - India
CLASS SYSTEM: distribution of scarce resources and rewards is determined on the basis of achieved statuses Individuals have some control over place within system Circumstances may assist individuals to “move up” or “move down” social class ladder Looking at the class system: Karl Marx first thought social class depended on means of production. The bourgeoisie own the means of production while the proletariat sell their labor in exchange for wages. Marx divided society into two main divisions based on property. Later, Max Weber expanded on this and thought that social class depended on not only property, but also prestige and power.
Social Class: a grouping of people with similar levels of wealth, power, and prestigeWealth - made up of his/her assets. Richest 1% of population controls more than 1/3 of country’s wealth in USPower - ability to control the behavior of others, with or without consent. Can be based on force, possession of a special skill, social status, personal characteristics, tradition.Prestige - the respect, honor, recognition an individual receives from other members of society. Can be based on income, occupation, education, family, area of residence, possessions, membership
Socioeconomic Status (SES) - combined factors used to determine an individual’s relative position in stratification system (combines factors such as education level, occupational prestige, etc…)
Functionalist Theory on Stratification: stratification is a necessary feature; certain roles must be filled if system is maintained; high rewards are needed to fulfill needs - ex. Why be a doctor if I can be a salesclerk and be paid the same?Conflict Theory on Stratification: stratification comes from exploitation (usually by the owners of the means of production); from there owners can then keep power and prestige; some American conflict theorists are C. Wright Mills, Irving Louis Horowitz, G. William Domhoff
Some sociologists say that neither theory gives us a true explanation for stratification. Many have tried to combine the two to better explain this societal system. Ralf Dahrendorf and Gerhard Lenski are two sociologists studying this phenomenon.
In theory: all Americans have equal access to resources needed for social advancementIs this true in act?The actual number of social classes in US variesHow do sociologists rank class? Reputational method: individuals in community asked to rank other community members based on what they know of their characteristics and lifestyles
How do sociologists rank class? Reputational method: individuals in community asked to rank other community members based on what they know of their characteristics and lifestylesSubjective method: individuals determine own social rankObjective method: sociologists define social class by income, occupation, and education
SOCIAL CLASSES in the US-The Upper Class: 1% of population; control sizable proportion of country’s wealth; “old money” and “new money”-The Upper Middle Class: high-income businesspeople and professionals; most have high degrees; large houses, expensive cars, yearly vacations, college education for children, luxuries; politically and socially active-The Lower Middle Class: white-collar jobs-work that does not involve manual labor; jobs require less education, provide lower income; nursing, middle management, sales; live comfortable life but must work hard; usually politically conservative
-The Working Class: manual labor jobs; factory workers, tradespeople, less skilled workers, blue-collar jobs; carry little prestige-The Working Poor: lowest-paying jobs; housecleaning, migrant farming, day laboring; depend on government- support programs; high school drop-outs; usually not involved politically; believe situation will remain same-The Underclass: experienced unemployment an poverty over several generations; public assistance
SOCIAL MOBILITY-horizontal mobility: movement within a social class-vertical mobility: movement between social classes or strata-intergenerational mobility: status differences between generations in the same family
Structural Causes of Upward Mobility: advances in technology, changes in merchandising patterns (credit and real estate), increase in level of educationStructural Causes of Downward Mobility: personal factors, changes in economy
Poverty: a standard of living that is below the minimum level considered adequate by societyRelative measureMinimum income=poverty line1 person=87948 persons=29701
AMERICAN POVERTY Age: as age group children have largest percentage in poverty (under 18 make up 35% of population) Sex: 57% of the poor are women; women head 1/2 of poor families Race and Ethnicity: African Americans and Hispanics have twice the rate of whites in poverty
The Effects of Poverty -life chances: health, length of life, housing, education -life expectancy: average number of years a person born in a particular year can expect to live Inadequate nutrition, less access to medical care Patterns of behavior: are divorce rates higher? Arrests? Convictions? Prison rates?
Government Responses to Poverty Johnson’s “war on poverty” Poverty rates improved? Social-welfare programs - transfer payments (from taxes) SSI, TANF, AFDC, Food Stamp program Was a permanent “welfare class” created?
In this chapter we will look at the various systems of stratification within societies. Then, we will take an even greater look at the American system followed by an in-depth look at how poverty affects individuals, groups, and the society as a whole. For this chapter you may select one of the following pieces to complete: -write either poem or song lyrics expressing hardships of Americans living in poverty -write paper distinguishing rural and urban poverty – write about country of choice –include personal reflection -artwork about poverty: or essay on influential artist who dissects poverty within society -an analysis of social-welfare in America -“pictures of poverty” collage -book report: Nickeled and Dimed – read the write a book report -analysis of school lunch program in American schools These are some ideas. If you have other ideas or an idea to build with these topics, please let me know.