Chapter 3 social stratification

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  • Today we’ll begin talking about stratification, which is, basically, inequality. To start, it is important to recognize that the study of stratification is at the heart of American sociology. Inequality grounded in economics, race, gender, and other social forms has been central to what sociology is about here, and that continues to be the case. In this chapter in your textbook you are introduced to some of the basic forms of stratification, and also to notions of social class and economic inequality. So what are some of the big questions we’ll be covering?
    What exactly is stratification?
    How important and relevant is it today?
    What causes social inequality?
    What are the effects of systems of inequality?
  • One of the important things to note about systems of stratification is that they primarily rank groups. Members of groups sometimes exceed (or fail to meet) expectations, but that does not change the reality that rankings refer to groups. This idea is often a tough sell in the United States, given our strongly held ideal of individualism, but when we look at the way our society is organized, differentials between certain socioeconomic groups, racial groups, and even birth cohorts are significant at the group level. As a result, we must study stratification as a group, not individual, concern.
    It is worth noting that much of this interest in stratification stems from the fact that systems of inequality are very slow to change and members of different groups have different motivations and experiences that factor into their attitudes and understandings of inequality.
  • Sociologists often refer to it as socioeconomic status (or SES).
    In modern societies, class systems dominate.
    While class systems do allow for social mobility, opportunities are not evenly distributed across social groups.
    Class has a significant impact on many aspects of life, including education, occupation, place of residence, marriage partner, and more.
  • An important characteristic of class systems, as opposed to slave or caste systems, is that in class-based systems of stratification, there is the opportunity for social mobility. This means that people and groups can, potentially, move up or down in the rankings, and this is seen by many as a significant benefit of class systems.
    In reality, however, such mobility is less common than our national mythology suggests. Typically, those who arrive at high positions have families who either had high positions themselves or the resources to provide the appropriate education for advancement. Achieving upward mobility is very difficult, and the wonderful stories we’ve all heard and seen (think, for example, of the movie The Pursuit of Happyness) are so very moving because they are the exception, not the norm. If such stories were common, they would not get our attention in nearly the same way.
  • Chapter 3 social stratification

    1. 1. Third Edition ANTHONY GIDDENS ● MITCHELL DUNEIER ● RICHARD APPELBAUM ● DEBORA CARR Slides created by Shannon Anderson, Roanoke College Chapter 3: Stratification, Class, and Inequality 1
    2. 2. Social stratification • Social stratification refers to the ranking of members of a society in groups on the basis of their status. • This ranking may be on the basis of occupation, power, economic resources, prestige, caste, education. • It is structured inequality between groups. 2
    3. 3. Determinants of Social stratification a) Power – The degree to which a person can control other people. More power more respect in society. b) Economic resources – The level of income from all resources is an important indicator of one’s place in society. – Economic resources in rural and urban areas. c) Prestige – The degree of respect, favorable regard or importance accorded to an individual by members of society. 3
    4. 4. Determinants of Social stratification d) Occupation – High class professionals include big businessmen, industrialists, landlords and high class government and semi-government officials. e) Caste – It is permanent, having its status ascribed as birth. Some castes are believed to be higher in status while others as low. f) Education – The standard of education also determines a social class. 4
    5. 5. Characteristics of Stratification Systems • Social structures hold certain groups in ranked order and where it is difficult, if not impossible, to change that order. • Where people rank in stratification system influences every part of their lives in profound ways. 5
    6. 6. Systems of Stratification Three basic types of systems of social stratification. • Slavery—Ownership of certain people. • Caste—Characterized by hereditary status. • Class—Positions based on economics. 6
    7. 7. Systems of Stratification Social class: A social class is a homogeneous group of people in a society formed on the combined basis of: 1. Education 2. Occupation 3. Income 4. Place of residence Class system allow for social mobility. 7
    8. 8. Social Classes in Pakistan 1. Upper social class a) Upper Upper Class b) Upper Middle Class c) Upper Lower Class 2. Middle social class a) Middle Upper Class b) Middle Middle Class c) Middle Lower Class 3. Working social class a) Lower Upper Class b) Lower Middle Class c) Lower Lower Class 8
    9. 9. Social Classes in Pakistan 1. Upper social class: i. They have high level of income and belong to be most high paying profession. ii. They live in most cleanest place of the country iii. Their size is 2% of the total society. They include: a. Top management of the company b. Big businessmen c. High status leadership 9
    10. 10. Social Classes in Pakistan 2. Middle social class: i. Social mobility is found highest in this class. ii. They live comfortably than poor class, but are financially lower than upper class. iii. They all are employees. iv. Their norms are likely to be similar to that of poor class due to recent switching to middle class. v. This class is the best example of DEFERRED GRATIFICATION PATTERN. 10 vi. Their population is 28% out of the total population.
    11. 11. Social Classes in Pakistan 3. Working social class: i. Social mobility is the lowest in them. ii. Rate of deviance is high in them. iii. They are most likely to be drug/narcotics addicted. iv. They lack long term planning. v. They are either unemployed, or get employment for short term basis. vii. Their size is 70% out total population of Pakistan. 11
    12. 12. Type of social status 1. Ascribed Status - The social class position allocated to an individual by society as a result of factors over which the individual has no control. 2. Achieved Status - The social class position which an individual acquires as a result of his/her own activities. 12
    13. 13. Social Mobility • Social mobility is the movement of people up or down the stratification system. • It can also be defined as the act of moving from one social class to another. • Class systems allow for more movement than slave or caste systems. • It is quite difficult to achieve upward social mobility. 13
    14. 14. Types of Social Mobility 1) Territorial Mobility – It is the change of residence from one place to another. 2) Vertical Mobility - Refers to a major movement up or down in social class position. 3) Horizontal Mobility - Refers to movement within a social class. In general, there is no overall change in the social class status of an individual involved. 14
    15. 15. Understanding Inequality • Inequality is the unequal access to scarce goods or resources. – It is found in most, if not all, societies. – It is a question of how unequal a society is. 15
    16. 16. Marx and class conflict • Karl Marx was very interested in class relations in capitalist societies. • Class was determined solely by one’s relation to the means of production. – Proletariat and bourgeoisie – Group membership utterly determined life chances. • Ultimately the proletariat would overthrow the bourgeoisie, ending the reign of capitalism. 16
    17. 17. Weber: Class and status • For Max Weber, position in a stratification system was not based on economics alone: social status was also significant. • Weber’s multidimensional approach is attractive to those who believe that social prestige and power can be independent of economics. 17
    18. 18. Functionalist Approaches • Functionalist theorists attempt to understand what role inequality plays in keeping society at equilibrium. • David and Moore (1945) argued that stratification benefited society by ensuring that the most important roles would be filled by the most talented and worthy people. 18
    19. 19. International Comparison of Poverty Rates among Wealthy Countries 19
    20. 20. Poverty Sociologists discuss two general types of poverty: – Absolute poverty – Relative poverty 20
    21. 21. Why are the poor poor? • Poverty is not simply the result of not working hard. • Explanations for poverty are diverse. • What we know is that low earnings (often based on a low minimum wage) make it very hard to “get ahead.” • Also, the poor have less educational attainment, less health insurance, and more broadly, diminished life chances. 21
    22. 22. Gender and poverty Feminization of poverty. •Because of social changes, including divorce and the increasing normalization of single-parenting, there are more female-headed households. 22
    23. 23. Explanations for poverty • Sociologists have many empirical explanations for poverty, but by and large they all fall under one of two themes: – Blaming the victim – Blaming the system 23
    24. 24. Poverty and social problems • Social welfare systems • Homelessness • Lack of basic medical care • Educational segregation • People turn to non-conventional means to make money. 24
    25. 25. Does inequality affect you? 25

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