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SOCI 2110 Society

social inequality

the unequal distribution of wealth, power, or prestige among members of a society

social stratification

a society's system of ranking categories of people in a hierarchy

social class

a category of people who have similar social standing or rank in society

social mobility

change in a position within the social hierarchy

caste system

social stratification based on ascription or birth

closed system

social system with very little opportunity to move from one class to another

class system

stratification based on both birth and meritocracy


social stratification based on personal merit

open system

social system with ample opportunities to move from one class to another

Upper Class

5% of the U.S. population

Middle Class

40-45% of U.S. population

Working Class

30% of U.S. population

Lower Class

20% of U.S. population

status consistency

degree of consistency in a person's social standing across various dimensions of social inequality


cultural beliefs that justify stratification

Davis-Moore Thesis

social stratification is universal because of its functional, even beneficial consequences

Karl Marx

bourgeoisie and proletariat

Max Weber

class status is the product of wealth/class, prestige/status, and power

relative poverty

lack of resources of some people in relation to those who have more

absolute poverty

lack of resources that is life-threatening

Feminization of Poverty

trend of women making up an increasing proportion of the poor

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