Social Stratification

Created by EMFord 

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achieved status

The status an individual acquires during the course of her or his lifetime.

ascribed status

The status a person has by virtue of birth.

assimilation

The process of absorbing a racial or ethnic group into the wider society.

bourgeoisie

Karl Marx's term for those who own the means of production.

caste

A rigid form of social stratification in which membership is determined by birth and social mobility is nonexistent.

class

A ranked group within a stratified society characterized by achieved status and considerable social mobility.

conflict theory

A theory of social is always changing and in conflict because individuals in the upper stratum use their wealth, power, and prestige to exploit those below them.

dalit

The politically correct term for those formerly called Untouchables in India.

egalitarian societies

Societies that recognize few differences in status, wealth, or power.

ethnic group

A group of people who share many of the same cultural features.

functionalism/functional theory

A theory of social stratification holding that social stratification exists because it contributes to the overall well-being of a society.

genocide

The systematic annihilation of entire cultures or racial groups.

jati

Local subcastes found in Hindu India that are strictly endogamous.

per capita gross national income

A commonly used index of relative wealth among nations calculated by adding the output of goods and services in a country to the income of residents and dividing by the total population.

population transfer

The physical relocation of a minority group from one area to another.

power

The capacity to produce intended effects on oneself, other people, social situations, or the environment.

prestige

Social honor or respect within a society.

primogeniture

The exclusive right of the eldest child (usually the son) to inherit his father's estate.

proletariat

The term used in the conflict theory of social stratification to describe the working class who exchange their labor for wages.

race

A subgroup of the human population whose members share a greater number of genes and physical traits with one another than they do with members of other subgroups.

rank societies

Societies in which people have unequal access to prestige and status but not unequal access to wealth and power.

Sanskritization

A form of upward social mobility found in contemporary India whereby people born into lower castes can achieve higher status by taking on some of the behaviors and practices of the highest (Brahmin) caste.

social mobility

The ability of people to change their social position within the society.

soft money

A form of political contribution not covered by federal regulation, which works to the advantage of wealthy candidates and their benefactors.

stratified societies

Societies characterized by considerable inequality in all forms of social rewards—that is, power, wealth, and prestige.

varnas

Caste groups in Hindu India that are associated with certain occupations.

wealth

The accumulation of material objects that have value within a society.

achieved status

The status an individual acquires during the course of her or his lifetime.

ascribed status

The status a person has by virtue of birth.

assimilation

The process of absorbing a racial or ethnic group into the wider society.

bourgeoisie

Karl Marx's term for those who own the means of production.

caste

A rigid form of social stratification in which membership is determined by birth and social mobility is nonexistent.

class

A ranked group within a stratified society characterized by achieved status and considerable social mobility.

conflict theory

A theory of social is always changing and in conflict because individuals in the upper stratum use their wealth, power, and prestige to exploit those below them.

dalit

The politically correct term for those formerly called Untouchables in India.

egalitarian societies

Societies that recognize few differences in status, wealth, or power.

ethnic group

A group of people who share many of the same cultural features.

functionalism/functional theory

A theory of social stratification holding that social stratification exists because it contributes to the overall well-being of a society.

genocide

The systematic annihilation of entire cultures or racial groups.

jati

Local subcastes found in Hindu India that are strictly endogamous.

per capita gross national income

A commonly used index of relative wealth among nations calculated by adding the output of goods and services in a country to the income of residents and dividing by the total population.

population transfer

The physical relocation of a minority group from one area to another.

power

The capacity to produce intended effects on oneself, other people, social situations, or the environment.

prestige

Social honor or respect within a society.

primogeniture

The exclusive right of the eldest child (usually the son) to inherit his father's estate.

proletariat

The term used in the conflict theory of social stratification to describe the working class who exchange their labor for wages.

race

A subgroup of the human population whose members share a greater number of genes and physical traits with one another than they do with members of other subgroups.

rank societies

Societies in which people have unequal access to prestige and status but not unequal access to wealth and power.

Sanskritization

A form of upward social mobility found in contemporary India whereby people born into lower castes can achieve higher status by taking on some of the behaviors and practices of the highest (Brahmin) caste.

social mobility

The ability of people to change their social position within the society.

soft money

A form of political contribution not covered by federal regulation, which works to the advantage of wealthy candidates and their benefactors.

stratified societies

Societies characterized by considerable inequality in all forms of social rewards—that is, power, wealth, and prestige.

varnas

Caste groups in Hindu India that are associated with certain occupations.

wealth

The accumulation of material objects that have value within a society.

authority

The recognized right of an individual to command another person to act in a particular way; legitimate power.

big men

Political leaders who do not occupy formal offices and whose leadership is based on influence, not authority.

caste

A system of stratification in which membership in a stratum is in theory hereditary, strata are endogamous, and contact or relationships between members of different strata are governed by explicit laws, norms, or prohibitions.

chiefdom

A centralized political system with authority vested in formal, usually hereditary, offices or titles; exchange is often organized by redistribution.

class

A system of stratification in which membership in a stratum can theoretically be altered and intermarriage between strata is allowed.

composite bands

Autonomous or independent political units consisting of several extended families that live together for most or all of the year.

court legal systems

Systems in which authority for settling disputes and punishing crimes is formally vested in a single individual or group.

courts of mediation

Court systems in which the sanctions imposed are designed more to restore harmonious relations between parties than to punish.

courts of regulation

Court systems that use codified laws, with formally prescribed rights, duties, and sanctions.

egalitarian society

A form of society in which there is little inequality in access to culturally valued rewards.

income

The value of what is earned during a given period of time, usually figured on an annual basis.

inequality

The degree to which individuals, groups, and categories differ in their access to rewards.

influence

The ability to convince people that they should act as you suggest.

law

A kind of social control characterized by authority, intention of universal application, obligatio, and sanction.

power

The ability to make others do what you want based on coercion or legitimate authority.

prestige

The respect, esteem, and overt approval other members of the group grant to individuals they consider meritorious.

ranked society

A form of society in which there are a fixed number of statuses (e.g., titles, offices) that carry prestige, and only certain individuals are eligible to attain these statuses.

self-help legal systems

Informal legal systems in societies that have no centralized political systems, in which authorities who settle disputes are defined by the circumstances of the case.

simple bands

Autonomous or independent political units, often consisting of little more than an extended family, with informal leadership vested in one of the older family members.

social control

Mechanisms by which behavior is constrained and directed into acceptable channels, thus maintaining conformity.

sodalities

Formal institutions that cross-cut communities and serve to unite geographically scattered groups; may be based on kinship groups (clans or lineages) or on nonkinship groups.

state

A centralized, multilevel political unit characterized by a bureaucracy that acts on behalf of the ruling elite.

stratified society

A form of society with marked and usually heritable differences in access to wealth, power, and prestige; inequality is based mainly on unequal access to productive and valued resources.

tribe

An autonomous political unit that encompasses a number of distinct, geographically dispersed communities that are held together by sodalities.

wealth

(1) Ownership of or access to valued material goods and to the natural and human resources needed to produce those goods. (2) The total value of all property owned less the amount of debt owed.

achieved status

A social position that a person chooses or achieves on his or her own.

apartheid

The South African system of exclusive racial groups—black, white, colored, and Asian—that were formally recognized, segregated, treated differently in law and life, and occupied different and almost exclusive statuses within the society.

ascribed status

A social position that a person is born into.

assimilation

The view that immigrants should abandon their cultural distinctiveness and become mainstream Americans.

caste system

Social stratification based on birth or ascribed status in which social mobility between castes is not possible.

class

A category of persons who all have about the same opportunity to obtain economic resources, power, and prestige and who are ranked relative to other categories.

class system

A form of social stratification in which the different strata form a continuum and social mobility is possible.

conflict theory

A perspective on social stratification that focuses on economic inequality as a source of conflict and change.

functionalism (functionalist perspective)

The anthropological theory that specific cultural institutions function to support the structure of society or serve the needs of individuals in society.

life chances

The opportunities that people have to fulfill their potential in society.

multiculturalism

The view that cultural diversity is a positive value that should be incorporated into national identity and public policy.

power

The ability to control resources in one's own interest.

prestige

Social honor or respect.

race

A culturally constructed category based on perceived physical differences.

social mobility

Movement from one social strata to another.

social stratification

A social hierarchy resulting from the relatively permanent unequal distribution of goods and services in a society.

wealth

The accumulation of material resources or access to the means of producing these resources.

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