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Social Stratification
Dimensions of Stratification
• Social Stratification – ranking of people or groups
according to their unequal access to scarce resources
– Most important resources – wealth, income, power, and
prestige
– Weber emphasized the prestige and power aspects of
stratification
• Social class – a segment of a population whose
members hold similar amounts of scarce resources and
share values, norms, and an identifiable lifestyle
– Marx explained the importance of the economic
foundations of social classes
The Economic Dimension
• Marx originally identified multiple social classes –
laborers, servants, factory workers, craftspeople,
proprietors of small business, and moneyed capitalists
• However he believed it would eventually end up being
on 2 classes
• Bourgeoisie – class that owns the means of production
• Proletariat – class that labors w/o owning the means of
production
– He also believed that controlling the economy allowed you
to control the legal, educational, and government systems
• Income – amount of money received by an individual
or group over a specific time period
• Wealth – total economic resources held by a person or
group
• In 2000 the poverty level was set at $17,761
for a family of four
– In 1999 the richest 20 % of American families
received over 49% of the nation’s income
– The poorest 20% controlled under 4%
– The richest 20% of the population holds 84% of
the wealth, and top 1% alone has 39% of the total
wealth of the U.S.
The Economic Dimension
The Economic Dimension
• Power is based on:
- Money
- Knowledge
- Fame
- social positions
• A lack of wealth can be overcome with loyal
people or skillful resource management
– Ex. Hitler
The Prestige Dimension
• Prestige – recognition,
respect, and admiration
attached to social
positions
– Ex. A Mafia don
– Must be voluntarily given
– The more socially valuable
the position the more
prestige it has
Explanations of Stratification
• Functionalist Theory of Stratification
– Stratification assures that the most qualified people fill the
most important positions
– Recognizes that inequality exists b/c certain jobs are more
important than others
• Conflict theory of Stratification
– Inequality exists because some people are willing to
exploit others
– Stratification is based of force
– Marx’s false consciousness – working-class acceptance of
capitalist ideas and values
– Stratification occurs through the struggle for scarce
resources
Explanations of Stratification
• Symbolic Interactionism and Stratification
– People are socialized to accept the existing
stratification structure
• Ex. – American children are taught that social class is
the result of talent and effort
– People’s self-concepts help preserve the status
quo
– The is a link b/w social class and self-esteem
Social Classes in America
• Class Consciousness – identification with the
goals and interests of a social class
• The Upper Class
– Only top 1% of the population
– “aristocracy” – the old-money families of high society
• Ford, du Pont, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt
• Membership based on blood
– Lower-upper class more often is based on
achievement and earned income
• Could actually have more money that “aristocracy”, but is
often not accepted into the most exclusive social circles
Social Classes in America
• The Middle Classes
– About 40 to 50 % of Americans
– Upper Middle Class – about 14% of population
• Earn enough to live well and save money
• Typically college educated
– Middle-middle class – 30% of population
• Income is at about the national average ($21,181 in
1999)
Social Classes in America
• The Working Class – lower middle class
• 1/3 of population
• Below average income and unstable employment
• Generally lack hospital insurance and retirement benefits
– Working Poor – 13% of population
• Low-skill jobs with lowest pay
• Do not earn enough to rise above the Poverty line
• Tend not to participate in the political process
– The Underclass – 12% of population
• Usually unemployed
• Work part time or are on public assistance
Poverty in America
• Absolute poverty – the absence of enough money
to secure life’s necessities
• Relative poverty – a measure of poverty based on
the economic disparity b/w those at the bottom
of a society and the rest of society
– The definition of poverty in America is not the same
as that of India
• In the U.S. the government sets the poverty line
and anyone below is considered poor
– In the 2000 Census 11.8% of Americans, 32.2 million,
considered poor
Poverty in America
• Identifying the poor
– About 46% of the poor in America are white, poverty rate is about
7.7%
– African Americans and Latinos poverty rate is about 23%
• Combined they make up about ¼ of total population, but nearly ½ of poor
– Over ½ of poor households are female headed
• Feminization of poverty – a trend in U.S. society in which women and children
make up an increasing proportion of the poor
– About 9% of people 65 or older live in poverty
– 12% of America’s poor are disabled (blind, deaf, ect…)
• Responses to the Problem of Poverty
– 1964 LBJ marshaled the forces of federal government to begin a war
on poverty
• Philosophy was to help poor people help themselves
– Welfare Reform
Social Mobility
• Social Mobility – the movement of people b/w social
classes
• Horizontal mobility- changing form one occupation to
another at the same social class level
– Ex. When and army officer become a teacher, or a waiter
becomes a taxi driver
• Vertical mobility – person’s occupational status or
social class moves upwards or downward
– Intergenerational mobility – when the change takes place
over a generation
• A plumber’s daughter becoming a physician, or a lawyer’s son
becoming a carpenter
Social Mobility
• Caste and Open-Class Systems
– Caste system – there is no social mobility b/c social status is inherited and
cannot be changed
Statuses and occupation are ascribed
• Apartheid – was a caste system based on race
• India
- Brahmin
- Kshatriyas
- Vaisyas
- Sudra
- Untouchables
– Tradition keeps the caste system intact
• Open-class system – a system in which social class is based on merit and
individual effort, movement b/w classes is allowed
• Ex. - The U.S. for the most part
Social Mobility
• Upward and Downward Mobility
– In the U.S. great leaps in Upward Mobility are rare
• Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Rockefeller, Henry
Ford
– Compared to their parents, more U.S. workers are
experiencing downward mobility
– Downward mobility can have severe emotional
and psychological consequences
4. social stratification.ppt
4. social stratification.ppt
4. social stratification.ppt
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4. social stratification.ppt

  • 2. Dimensions of Stratification • Social Stratification – ranking of people or groups according to their unequal access to scarce resources – Most important resources – wealth, income, power, and prestige – Weber emphasized the prestige and power aspects of stratification • Social class – a segment of a population whose members hold similar amounts of scarce resources and share values, norms, and an identifiable lifestyle – Marx explained the importance of the economic foundations of social classes
  • 3. The Economic Dimension • Marx originally identified multiple social classes – laborers, servants, factory workers, craftspeople, proprietors of small business, and moneyed capitalists • However he believed it would eventually end up being on 2 classes • Bourgeoisie – class that owns the means of production • Proletariat – class that labors w/o owning the means of production – He also believed that controlling the economy allowed you to control the legal, educational, and government systems • Income – amount of money received by an individual or group over a specific time period • Wealth – total economic resources held by a person or group
  • 4. • In 2000 the poverty level was set at $17,761 for a family of four – In 1999 the richest 20 % of American families received over 49% of the nation’s income – The poorest 20% controlled under 4% – The richest 20% of the population holds 84% of the wealth, and top 1% alone has 39% of the total wealth of the U.S. The Economic Dimension
  • 5. The Economic Dimension • Power is based on: - Money - Knowledge - Fame - social positions • A lack of wealth can be overcome with loyal people or skillful resource management – Ex. Hitler
  • 6. The Prestige Dimension • Prestige – recognition, respect, and admiration attached to social positions – Ex. A Mafia don – Must be voluntarily given – The more socially valuable the position the more prestige it has
  • 7. Explanations of Stratification • Functionalist Theory of Stratification – Stratification assures that the most qualified people fill the most important positions – Recognizes that inequality exists b/c certain jobs are more important than others • Conflict theory of Stratification – Inequality exists because some people are willing to exploit others – Stratification is based of force – Marx’s false consciousness – working-class acceptance of capitalist ideas and values – Stratification occurs through the struggle for scarce resources
  • 8. Explanations of Stratification • Symbolic Interactionism and Stratification – People are socialized to accept the existing stratification structure • Ex. – American children are taught that social class is the result of talent and effort – People’s self-concepts help preserve the status quo – The is a link b/w social class and self-esteem
  • 9. Social Classes in America • Class Consciousness – identification with the goals and interests of a social class • The Upper Class – Only top 1% of the population – “aristocracy” – the old-money families of high society • Ford, du Pont, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt • Membership based on blood – Lower-upper class more often is based on achievement and earned income • Could actually have more money that “aristocracy”, but is often not accepted into the most exclusive social circles
  • 10. Social Classes in America • The Middle Classes – About 40 to 50 % of Americans – Upper Middle Class – about 14% of population • Earn enough to live well and save money • Typically college educated – Middle-middle class – 30% of population • Income is at about the national average ($21,181 in 1999)
  • 11. Social Classes in America • The Working Class – lower middle class • 1/3 of population • Below average income and unstable employment • Generally lack hospital insurance and retirement benefits – Working Poor – 13% of population • Low-skill jobs with lowest pay • Do not earn enough to rise above the Poverty line • Tend not to participate in the political process – The Underclass – 12% of population • Usually unemployed • Work part time or are on public assistance
  • 12. Poverty in America • Absolute poverty – the absence of enough money to secure life’s necessities • Relative poverty – a measure of poverty based on the economic disparity b/w those at the bottom of a society and the rest of society – The definition of poverty in America is not the same as that of India • In the U.S. the government sets the poverty line and anyone below is considered poor – In the 2000 Census 11.8% of Americans, 32.2 million, considered poor
  • 13. Poverty in America • Identifying the poor – About 46% of the poor in America are white, poverty rate is about 7.7% – African Americans and Latinos poverty rate is about 23% • Combined they make up about ¼ of total population, but nearly ½ of poor – Over ½ of poor households are female headed • Feminization of poverty – a trend in U.S. society in which women and children make up an increasing proportion of the poor – About 9% of people 65 or older live in poverty – 12% of America’s poor are disabled (blind, deaf, ect…) • Responses to the Problem of Poverty – 1964 LBJ marshaled the forces of federal government to begin a war on poverty • Philosophy was to help poor people help themselves – Welfare Reform
  • 14. Social Mobility • Social Mobility – the movement of people b/w social classes • Horizontal mobility- changing form one occupation to another at the same social class level – Ex. When and army officer become a teacher, or a waiter becomes a taxi driver • Vertical mobility – person’s occupational status or social class moves upwards or downward – Intergenerational mobility – when the change takes place over a generation • A plumber’s daughter becoming a physician, or a lawyer’s son becoming a carpenter
  • 15. Social Mobility • Caste and Open-Class Systems – Caste system – there is no social mobility b/c social status is inherited and cannot be changed Statuses and occupation are ascribed • Apartheid – was a caste system based on race • India - Brahmin - Kshatriyas - Vaisyas - Sudra - Untouchables – Tradition keeps the caste system intact • Open-class system – a system in which social class is based on merit and individual effort, movement b/w classes is allowed • Ex. - The U.S. for the most part
  • 16. Social Mobility • Upward and Downward Mobility – In the U.S. great leaps in Upward Mobility are rare • Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Rockefeller, Henry Ford – Compared to their parents, more U.S. workers are experiencing downward mobility – Downward mobility can have severe emotional and psychological consequences