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Social Stratification

a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy

social mobility

a change in position within the social hierarchy

caste system

social stratification based on ascription, or birth

class system

social stratification based on both birth and individual achievement


social stratification based on personal merit

status consistency

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

structural social mobility

a shift in he social position of large numbers of people due more to changes in society than to individual efforts


cultural beliefs that justify particular social arrangements, including patterns of inequality

Davis-Moore Thesis

the assertion that social stratification exists in every society because it has beneficial consequences for the operation of society


people who own and operate factories and other businesses in pursuit of profits


working people who sell their labor for wages


the experience of isolation and misery resulting from powerlessness

blue-collar occupations

lower-prestige jobs that involve mostly manual labor

white-collar occupations

higher-prestige jobs that involve mostly mental labor

Socioeconomic Status (SES)

a composite ranking based on various dimensions of social inequality

conspicuous consumption

buying and using products with an eye to the "statement" they make about social position


earnings from work or investments


the total value of money and other assets, minus outstanding debts

intragenerational social mobility

a change in social position occurring during a person's lifetime

intergenerational social mobility

upward or downward social mobility of children in relation to their parents

relative poverty

the deprivation of some people in relation to those who have more

absolute poverty

a deprivation of resources that is life-threatening

feminization of poverty

the trend of women making up an increasing proportion of the poor

global stratification

patterns of social inequality in the world as a whole

high-income countries

the richest nations with the highest overall standards of living

middle-income countries

nations with a standard of living about average for the world as a whole

low-income countries

nations with a low standards of living in which most people are poor


the process by which some nations enrich themselves through political and economic control of other nations


a new form of global power relationships that involves not direct political control but economic exploitation by multinational corporations

multinational corporation

a large business that operates in many countries

Modernization Theory

a model of economic and social development that explains global inequality in terms of technological and cultural differences between nations

Dependency Theory

a model of economic and social development that explains global inequality in terms of the historical exploitations of poor nations by right ones


the personal traits abd social positions that members of a society attach to being female or male

gender stratification

the unequal distribution of wealth, power, and privilege between men and women


a form of social organization in which females dominate males


a form of social organization in which males dominate females


the belief that one sex is innately superior to the other

gender roles

attitudes and activities that a society links to each sex


any category of people distinguished by physical or cultural difference that a society sets apart and subordinates

intersection theory

the interplay of race, class, and gender, often resulting in multiple dimensions of disadvantage

sexual harassment

comments, gestures, or physical contacts of a sexual nature that are deliberate, repeated, and unwelcome


the advocacy of social equality for women and men, in opposition to patriarchy and sexism


a socially constructed category of people who share biologucally transmitted traits that members of a society consider important


a shared cultural heritage


any category of people distinguished by physical or cultural difference that a society sets apart and subordinates


a rigid and unfair generalization about an entire category of people


an exaggerated description applied to every person in some category


the belief that one racial category is innately superior or inferior to another


a person or category of people, typically with little power, whom other people unfairly blame for their own troubles


unequal treatment of various categories of people

institutional prejudice and discrimination

bias built into the operation of society's institutions


a state in which people of all races and ethnicities are distinct but have equal social standing


the process by which minorities gradually adopt patterns of the dominant culture


biological reproduction by partners of different racial categories


the physical and social separation of categories of people


the systematic killing of one category of people by another

social institution

a major sphere of social life, or societal subsystem, organized to meet human needs


the social institution that organizes a society's production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services

postindustrial economy

a productive system based on service work and high technology

primary sector

the part of the economy that draws raw materials from the natural environment

secondary sector

the part of the economy that transforms raw materials into manufactured goods

tertiary sector

the part of the economy that involves services rather than goods

global economy

economic activity that crosses national borders


an economic system in which natural resources and the means of producing goods and services are privately owned


an economic system in which natural resources and the means of producing goods and services are collectively owned

welfare capitalism

an economic and political system that combines a mostly market-based economy with extensive social welfare programs

state capitalism

an economic and political system in which companies are privately owned but cooperate closely with the government


a prestigious white-collar occupation that requires extensive formal education


the social institution that distributes power, sets a society's goals, and makes decisions


the ability to achieve desired ends despite resistance from others


a formal organization that directs the political life of a society


power that people perceive as legitimate rather than coercive

routinization of charisma

the transformation of charismatic authority into some combination of traditional and bureaucratic authority


a political system in which a single family rules from generation to generation


a political system that gives power to the people as a whole


a political system that denies the people participation in government


a highly centralized political system that extensively regulates people's lives

welfare state

a system of government agencies and programs that provides benefits to the population

pluralist model

an analysis of politics that sees power as spread among many competing interest groups

power-elite model

an analysis of politics that sees power as concentrated among the rich

Marxist political-economy model

an analysis that explains politics in terms of the operation of a society's economic system

political revolution

the overthrow of one political system in order to establish another


acts of violence or the thread of violence used as a political strategy by an individual or a group


organized, armed conflict among the people of two or more nations, directed by their governments

military-industrial complex

the close association of the federal government, the military, and defense indurstires


biological distinction between females and males

primary sex characterisitics

genitals, organs used for reproduction

secondary sex characteristics

bodily development, not genitals, females wide hips, breasts, lower voice


is an element of culture and refers to the personal traits and patterns of behavior that a culture attaches to being female or male

intersexual people

people whose bodies (including genitals) have both female ad male characteristics (same as hermaphrodite)


people who feel they are one sex even though biologically they are the other

incest taboo

a norm forbidding seual relations or marriage between certain relatives

sexual counterrevoltion

conservative call for a return to family values and a change from sexual freedom back toward the sexual responsibility that had been valued by earlier generations.

sexual orientation

a person's romantic and emotional attraction to another person


sexual attraction to someone of the other sex


sexual attraction to someone of the same sex


sexual attraction to people of both sexes


no sexual attraction to people of either sex


discomfort over close personal interaction with people though to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual


sexually explicit material intended to cause sexual arousal


selling of sexual services


expression of power, a violent act, that uses sex to hurt, humiliate, or control another person

queer theory

growing body of research findings that challenges the heterosexual bias in US Society


a view that labels anyone who is not heterosexual as queer


deliberate termination of pregnancy

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