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What is stratification?

The existence of structured inequalities between groups in society

4 Characteristics of Stratification

1. Its a cultural universal
2. Rankings are applied to statuses
3. An individuals life experience/ opportunity depend on how their social categories are ranked
4. Ranks change slowly over time

What are the 4 Systems of Stratification?

1. The Estate System
2. Slavery System
3. Caste System
4. Class System

The Estate System

-feudal Europe
-based on politics (esp. laws)
-limited to no social mobility

The Slavery System

-Antebellum South
-most extreme version of stratification
-people are owned by others as their property
-slaves deprived of all social slanding
-very unstable...BIG SURPRISE

Caste System

-A social system where one's position is determined at birth
-rigid social mobility (mostly non-existent)
-declining in today's world
*portion of people aren't part of system because they are untouchable

Class System

-United States Today
-Stratification based on birth and achievement
-rooted in economic growth
-Socioeconomic Status (SES) (income, wealth)

What makes up the SES?

1. Income (the amount of money earned from paycheck)
2. Wealth (stocks, bonds, inheritance, etc.)
3. Educational Level
4. Occupational Prestige

Stratification Blender


What are the three big theories on Stratification?

1. Functionalism and Stratification
2. Conflict Theory and Stratification
3. Weber and Stratification

Functionalism and Stratification

-Stratification is beneficial for society
-critical roles in society require talent/ training, thus:
these roles should offer rewards and access to resources
-Davis-Moore Thesis (1945)
explains unequal distribution of rewards is functional

Critiques of Functionalism and Stratification

critique: ppl. are born with money, jobs are skewed (osu football coach) unequal starting point
1. Individual Contributions
2. Importance of Occupation- movie stars are over paid
-example: trash collectors

Conflict Theory and Stratification

-Social Conflict Theory
-Origin: Marx and the capitalist system (creates severe inequality)
-Class system creates two classes: Have's (bourgeoisie) and have not's (Proletarian)
-Negative relationship exists between groups
severe inequality and exploitation
surplus value/ inheritance

Criticisms of Conflict Theory and Strat.

Proletarian possess other things: there are labor unions, laws, etc.

Weber and Stratification

Weber and class/ status/ power (Symbolic Interactionist)
-micro analysis
-fighting with Marx's Ghost
-Social position= multi dimensional (position based on class, status (position in society), and power)

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