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Social Inequality from Preindustrial to Industrial Society
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Social Inequality from Preindustrial to Industrial Society


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  • 1. Social Differentiation and Social Change: From Preindustrial to Industrial Societies History of Civilization = History of Stratification
  • 2. Materialist vs. Ideological Conceptions of History Material Conditions What can also be called the material infrastructure consists of the basic raw materials and social forms pertinent to human survival and adaptation. A society’s material infrastructure is its most basic component in the sense that without it, physical survival is literally impossible (or highly improbable). Consists of: Technology, Economy, Ecology, Demography
  • 3. Materialist vs. Ideological Conceptions of History Ideological Conditions Involves the patterned ways in which the members of a society think, conceptualize, evaluate, and feel, as opposed to what they actually do. It refers to thought, ideas, etc. It has five components: General Ideology, Religion, Science, Art, and Literature
  • 4. Materialist vs. Ideological Conceptions of History Relationship between material and ideological structures:       The material conditions of society is what drives sociocultural phenomena, e.g. social change and stratification.       Ideas are important, but the types and kinds of ideas people have are rooted in the material conditions.
  • 5. Mode of production = A society’s combined level of technological development combined with the overall organization of its economy, including the division of labor. How does social change occur? Societies change by resolving their “internal contradictions.”   Mode of Production   Type of Society Means Form of Ownership Degree of Inequality 1.  Primitive     Communism H/G Collective Low 2.  Ancient Society Agriculture Private High 3.  Feudalism Agriculture Private High 4.  Capitalism Industrial Private High 5.  Socialism Industrial Collective Low Marx and Social Change
  • 6. Lenski’s (1966) Theory of Stratification: ECONOMIC SURPLUS Scarce and valued goods are distributed according to need and power. In subsistence-only conditions, need prevails. In surplus conditions, power prevails. Power is exercised in many ways and according to the abilities of the power-holders. Violent force is the most effective and dominant form. When societies began to produce an economic surplus, i.e. the economic goods above and beyond subsistence level, stratification began. The origins can be traced to the beginnings of larger scale social systems above hunter gatherer, and can be directly observable in agrarian societies.
  • 7. Types of Societies Hunter- Gatherer Pastoralists Horticulturalists Agrarian Spatial Territory Nomadic X Semi-Nomadic X Nomadic with  Crop Rotation X Non-Nomadic X
  • 8. Types of Societies Hunter- Gatherer Pastoralists Horticulturalists Agrarian Size of Community 12 – 100 X 100 – 300 X X 300 + X
  • 9. Types of Societies Hunter- Gatherer Pastoralists Horticulturalists Agrarian Political Organization Communal X Specialized Part- Time Politicians X (varies) X X Specialized Full- Time Politicians X (varies) X Male Dominance of… X X X X
  • 10. Types of Societies Hunter- Gatherer Pastoralists Horticulturalists Agrarian Economic Surplus Level (see Lenski 1966) None X Low X Moderate X High X (early) Very High X (late)
  • 11. Types of Societies Hunter- Gatherer Pastoralists Horticulturalists Agrarian Type of Stratification System Primitive Communal X Slavery X Caste X Empire X
  • 12. Transition to Stratification Neolithic revolution = a name for the transition from hunter gatherer societies to the beginnings of horticultural and agricultural societies. Not so much a revolution as a slow, gradual change.
  • 13. Consequences of the Neolithic Revolution that led to social stratification   Dramatic population increase  Development of complex human organizations,  including separate institutions for political,  economic, military, and religion Development of slavery Decline in the status of women
  • 14. Agrarian Empires Early Middle Late Mesopotamia Islamic Spain Babylonia Maya Portugal China Aztec England Egypt   France Nubia   Ottoman Greece     First Appeared… Rome    
  • 15. Transition to Industrialization -- Fall of feudalism -- Rise of the merchant class -- Legitimation of stratification  system changed from of “tradition”  of hereditary nobility and religious  authority to economic advantage.