What is Social Class? Social Class– according to Weber, a large group of people who rank close to on another in property, prestige, and power; according to Marx, one of two groups: capitalist who own the means of production or the workers who sell their labor. Property – material possessions Wealth - the total value of everything someone owns, minus the debts Income – money received, usually from a job, business, or assets
What is Social Class? Power – the ability to carry out your will, even over the resistance of others Power Elite – C. Wright Mills’ term for the top people in U.S. Corporations, Military, and Politics who make the nation’s major decisions Prestige – respect or regard
Status Inconsistency Status Consistency – ranking high are low on all three dimensions of social status Social Inconstancy – ranking high on some dimensions of social class and low on others, a.k.a. status discrepancy Status – the position that someone occupies in society or a social group Anomie – Durkheim’s term for a condition in which people become detached from the norms that usually guide their behavior
Sociological Models of Social Class Updating Marx Capitalists Petty Bourgeoisie Managers Workers
Sociological Models of Social Class Updating Weber Capitalist Class The Upper Middle Class The Lower Middle Class The Working Class The Working Poor The Underclass
Social Class in the Auto Industry - Ford The Fords - Capitalist Class Ford Executives - Lower Capitalist Class Owner Ford Dealership - Upper Middle Ford Salesperson - Lower Middle Class Ford Mechanics - Working Class Ford Detailer - Working Poor Car Lot Cleaner - Underclass
Consequences of Social Class Physical Health Mental Health Family Life Choices of Husbands and Wives Divorce Child Rearing Education Religion Politics Crime and the Judicial System Social Class and the Changing Economy
Social Mobility – 3 types Intergenerational Mobility– the change that family members make in social class from one generation to the next Upward Social Mobility – movement up the social class ladder Downward Social Mobility – movement down the social class ladder Structural Mobility – movement up or down the social ladder because of changes in the structure of society, not to individual efforts Exchange Mobility – about the same numbers of people moving up and down the social class ladder, such that, on balance, the social class system shows little change
Interpreting Statistics on Social Mobility Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From Tree The Pain of Social Mobility
Poverty Poverty Line – the official measure of poverty; calculated to include incomes that are less than three times a low-cost food budget Feminization of Poverty – a trend in U.S. poverty whereby most poor families are headed by omen
Myths About the Poor Most are Lazy Poor are Trapped and Few Escape Most are Latino and African-American
Dynamics of Poverty Culture of Poverty – the assumption that the values and behaviors of the poor make them fundamentally different from other people, that these factors are largely responsible for their poverty, and that parents perpetuate poverty across generations by passing these characteristics to their children Most Poverty is Short-lived
Who are the poor? Poverty is unequally distributed in the U.S.. Racial Ethnic minorities (except Asian Americans), children, women-headed households, and rural Americans are more likely than others to be poor. The poverty rate of the elderly is less that that of the general population.
Why are people poor? Some social analysts believe that characteristics of individuals cause poverty. Sociologists, in contrast, examine structural features of society, such as employment opportunities, to find the causes of poverty. Sociologists generally conclude that life orientations are a consequence, not the cause, of people’s position in the social class structure.
Deferred Gratification Deferred Gratification – forgoing something in the present in the hope of achieving greater gains in the future Good Book
Horatio Alger Horatio Alger Myth - the belief that due to limitless possibilities anyone can get ahead if he or she tries hard enough Encourages people to strive to get ahead Also deflects blame for failure from society to the individual