Social Stratification

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Social Stratification by Mind Map: Social Stratification

1. Definition

1.1. It is a term used to describe the inequalities that exist between individuals and groups with human societies

2. Features

2.1. Refers to all forms of inequality based on: Class, Gender, ‘race’, Membership of the Traveler community, Age, Religion, Familial Status, Disability, Marital Status, Sexual orientation

2.2. People and communities are ranked according to their possession of these attributes. This sort of classification is similar to layers or strata – like rock formation

2.3. In social stratification there is a hierarchy with the most favoured at the top and the less privileged near the bottom.

3. Systems

3.1. Slavery Caste Estate Class

4. Hierarchy

4.1. An example of hierarchy in some societies: - Men do better than women - Settled people do better than Travellers - White people do better than black people - Younger people do better than older people - Able bodied people do better than disabled people - Heterosexual people do better than gay people

5. Class

5.1. Class System – an open system of stratification based primarily on economic and occupational roles - Boundaries between classes are not clear-cut - It is possible for individuals to rise above or fall below the position of their parents, and to marry someone of another class - Individuals tend to have some control over their class position

5.2. • The American Class Structure: – Upper or Capitalist Class – Upper Middle Class – Middle Class – Working Class – Working Poor – Underclass (e.g., the Homeless)

5.3. Measuring Social Class

5.3.1. Karl Marx defined class as all people who share a common relationship to the means of production (e.g., land, factories, machines, tools, raw materials, labor). Marx argued that there are two fundamental social classes: 1) the bourgeoisie – those who own the means of production (the capitalist class) 2) the proletariat – those who do not own the means of production and are thus compelled to work for the capitalists

5.3.2. Max Weber held that class consisted of three interrelated components: 1) Wealth, or economic status 2) Power, or political status 3) Prestige, or social status 1) Wealth – consists of property and income. Property comes in many forms, such as buildings, land, animals, machinery, cars, stocks, bonds, businesses, and bank accounts. Income is money received as wages, rents, interest, royalties, or the proceeds from a business 2. Power - the ability to carry out one’s will despite resistance. Power is also concentrated in the hands of the few. It has been observed that a “democratic façade” serves as an powerful ideology for the elites, concealing the real source of power in the United States 3) Prestige – respect or social honour . People give certain occupations more prestige than others. Positions with more prestige share four elements: a) They pay more. b) They require more education. c) They entail more abstract thought. d) They offer greater autonomy (freedom, or self-direction)

6. Consequences of Social Class

6.1. Life Chances • Physical and Mental Health • Family Life • Political Participation and Affiliation • Education • Treatment by the Criminal Justice System • The Hidden Injuries of Class

7. Estate

7.1. Estate System – the stratification system of medieval Europe, consisting of three groups or estates:

7.2. a) Nobility – the wealthy and powerful families that ruled the country and owned the land; the nobility did no farming or any other work—having an occupation was considered beneath their dignity

7.3. b) Clergy – the Roman Catholic Church was a political power at this time, owning vast tracts of land and collecting taxes from commoners; the church sold offices, and the wealthy could buy positions

7.4. c) Serfs – the commoners, including farmers, carpenters, harness makers, and servants. It was extremely rare for a person to move out of this estate.

8. Caste

8.1. Caste System – a closed system based on ascribed status (birth) - Nothing can be done to affect mobility and there are no chances of changing one’s social position - Such societies also recognize “ritual pollution” (i.e., certain types of interaction between people of different castes are prohibited because they tend to contaminate members of the higher caste

8.2. - Such a system promotes endogamy (i.e., marriage within one’s own caste) • There are five castes in India: 1) priests, scholars, and their descendents 2) nobility, warriors, and their descendents 3) merchants and skilled artisans (or their descendents) 4) unskilled labourers 5) outcasts or “untouchables”

9. Principles

9.1. 1. Social stratification is a characteristic of society, not a reflection of individual differences 2. Social stratification persists over generations 3. Social stratification is universal but variable 4. Social stratification involves not just inequality but beliefs (Macionis and Plummer 2002: 178

10. Slavery

10.1. - Slaves were deprived of almost all human rights. - The British Empire abolished slavery in 1833, USA in 1965 - Some might say slavery has been abolished - Modern Slavery: Forced labour, Debt bondage, Prostitution and Servile marriage. - Modern slaves are found amongst the poor, the uneducated, the low-status groups of society: frequently these are women and children - Slavery is a closed system of stratification and agencies such as anti-slavery international continue to monitor the use of forced labour as well as child prostitution on a global scale (March, 2000)

11. Maintaining Stratification

11.1. 1) Controlling Ideas – Ideologies are used to get people to want to do what the ruling elite desires, even though it is not necessarily in their best interest (e.g., scientific racism, the divine right of kings, a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work)

11.2. 2) Controlling Information – Elites control information in dictatorships through the use of force and imprisoning editors and reporters for printing critical reports. In democracies, elites accomplish the same purpose by manipulating the media though the selective release of information.

11.3. 3) Technology – Various monitoring devices help the elite monitor citizens’ activities without their knowledge that they are being shadowed.

11.4. 4) Social Networks – Members of the elite move in a circle of power that multiplies their opportunities. Contacts with people of similar backgrounds, interests, and goals all the elite to pass privileges from one generation to the next.

12. Conflict Theory & Stratification

12.1. Social stratification is universal, yet is avoidable, unnecessary, and not functional for society. • Stratification is created and maintained by classes and powerful groups in order to protect and enhance their interests; focuses on competition over scarce societal resources (e.g., power, wealth, and prestige). • Stratification is useful to only some people and groups; inequality is not inevitable, nor does it promote the optimal functioning of society

13. Concepts

13.1. - Status Consistency is the degree of consistency of a person’s social standing across various dimensions of social inequality. - Status Inconsistency refers to an inconsistent social standing or mismatch across various dimensions of social inequality. - Social Mobility refers to changes in people’s position in a system of stratification, especially occupational change (and corresponding changes in income). - Intergenerational Mobility and Intragenerational/Career Mobility