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social inequality

describes a condition in which members of society have different amounts of wealth, prestige, or power

ascribed status

a social position assigned to a person by society without regard for his or her unique talents or characteristics

achieved status

a social position that a person attains largely through his or her own efforts


a system of enforced servitude in which some people are owned by others as property


a heredity rank, usually religiously dictated, that tends to be fixed and immobile

estate system

a system of stratifcation under which peasants were required to work land leased to them by nobles in exchange for military protection and other services

class system

a social ranking based primarily on economic position in which achieved characteristics can influence social mobility

social mobility

movement of individuals or groups from one position in a society's stratification system to another

open system

a social system in which the position of each individual is influenced by his or her achieved status

closed system

a social system in which there is little or no possibility of individual social mobility

hotrizontal mobility

the movement of an individual from one social position to another of the same rank

vertical mobility

the movement of an individual from one social position to another of a different rank

intergenerational mobility

changes in the social position of children relative to their parents

intragenerational mobility

changes in social position within a person's adult life


an economic system in which the means of production are held largely in private hands and the main incentive for economic activity is the accumulation of profits


Karl Marx's term for the capitalist class, comprising the owners of the means of production


Karl Marx's term for the working class in a capitalist society

class consciousness

in Karl Marx's view, a subjective awareness held by members of a class regarding their common vested interests and need for collective political action to bring about social change

dominant ideology

a set of cultural beliefs and oractices that helps to maintain powerful social, economic, and political interests

false consciousness

a term used by Karl Marx to describe an attitude held by members of a class that does not accurately reflect their objective position


a group of people who have a similar level of economic resources

status group

people who have the same prestige or lifestyle, independent of their class positions


the capacity to organize to accomplish some particular goal

cultural capital

our tastes, knowledge, attitudes, language, and ways of thinking that we exchange in interaction with others


the respect and admiration that an occupation holds in a society


the reputation that a specific person has earned within an occupation

socioeconomic status (SES)

a measure of class that is based on income, education, occupation, and related variables


wages and salaries measured over some period, such as per hour or year


the total of a person's material assets, including savings, land, stocks, and other types of property, minus his or her debt at a single point in time

absolute poverty

a mininum level of subsistence that no family should be expected to live below

relative poverty

a floating standard of deprivation by which people at the bottom of a society, whatever their lifestyles, are judged to be disadvantaged in comparison with the nation as a whole

life chances

the opportunities people have to provide themselves with material goods, positive living conditions, and favorable life experiences

digital divide

the relative lack of access to the latest technologies among low-income groups, racial and ethic minorities, rural residents, and the citizens of developing countries


Structured ranking of entire groups of people that perpetuates unequal economic rewards and power in a society

Rossides' five-class model to describe U.S. class system:

- Upper class
- Upper-middle class
- Lower-middle class
- Working class
- Lower class

Social relations depend on...

who controls the primary mode of production

Material resources are...

economic resources we own or control

Social resources are...

prestige based on position we occupy and social network connections

Cultural resources are...

our tastes, language, and way of looking at the world


Long-term poor who lack training and skills

social stratification

a trait of our society; it is not a reflection of our individual differences

social stratification persists....

over generations

social stratification is controversal....

but variable

social stratification is not just inequality...

it is about beliefs

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