Presentation on theme: "Social Class: The Structure of Inequality"— Presentation transcript:
1 Social Class: The Structure of Inequality Chapter 8
2 Social Inequality The unequal distribution of: Wealth Power Prestige Due to meritocracy or social stratification
3 Social Stratification Social hierarchyDivision of society into groupsUpperMiddleLowerSocial stratification is a characteristic of society; it persists over generations, and it is maintained through beliefs that are widely shared by members of society. In a stratified society, groups at the top of the hierarchy have greater access to goods and services in a society than members of groups at the bottom.
4 Social Stratification Criteria for Stratification:RaceClassGenderAgeWhatever is socially important.
5 4 Principles of Social Stratification Characteristic of societyPersists over generationsAll societies stratify their membersMaintained through beliefs (ideology)Divine right of kingsWhite man’s burdenWork hard and you will achieve
6 3 Major Systems of Stratification 1. Slavery2. Caste system3. Social class
8 1. Slavery Most extreme form of stratification People are property Can be bought and soldProvide labor
9 2. Caste system: Status determined by heredity (birth) Religious EconomicPoliticalPhysical characteristicsCannot be changedApartheid in South Africa ( )India is the country most closely associated with the caste system. Another example of a caste system was the apartheid system, the system of segregation of racial and ethnic groups that was legal in South Africa between 1948 and 1991.
10 Apartheid Colour Classification 4 official groups:BlackWhiteIndianColoured
16 Professionals and Managers Upper-middle classProfessionals and ManagersExecutivesManagersWell-educatedCollege or postgraduate degrees14% of the U.S. populationInterestingly, most Americans would call themselves middle class, whether they make $25,000 per year or $250,000 per year. Middle class seems to be a social norm that people want to identify with even when they really are not part of that class.
32 Two General Economic Models CapitalismSocialismNo nation completely one or the other
33 Economic Systems Capitalism Socialism Private ownership of means of productionProduction based on profitCompetitionSelf-interestLimited government influencePublic ownership of the means of productionProduction based on human needsEquality of all peopleDemocracyCommon good
34 U.S. considered a Capitalist system Most businesses are privately ownedGovernment: Large role in the economyPublic Ownership:SchoolsHighwaysParksMuseums
36 Theories of Social Class: Conflict Theory Karl Marx: Two main social classes in capitalist societies:Capitalists (or bourgeoisie)Own the means of productionWorkers (or proletariat)Sell their labor for wagesRemember, Marx was a conflict theorist, so he was interested in the conflict between these two classes. He believed that eventually the workers would revolt against the capitalists because of the oppression they felt.
37 Theories of Social Class: Conflict Max Weber: Social Class has 3 components:Class (Wealth: money, investments)Status (Prestige)Party (Power)Sometimes this is referred to as “The 3-Ps” or the “Three Pronged Image of Power.” Wealth might be considered money and investments (earned or inherited), power is political power or ability to make changes in the system, and prestige is the social honor people are given because of their membership in well-regarded social groups. Sometimes a person may have one of these but not the others, but often the most powerful or successful people have all three.
38 Social Prestige of Selected Occupations in U.S.
39 Social Prestige of Selected Occupations in U.S. White CollarScoreBlue CollarWhite CollarScoreBlue Collar
40 Symbolic Interactionist Perspective Erving Goffman: Social class indicated by:ClothingSpeechGesturesPossessionsFriendsActivitiesYou might notice that you wear similar brands of clothing or eat at similar restaurants as your friends. You’ll also notice that there are other people that wear or eat things that are very different from you. These preferences might say something about the class that you belong to or associate with.
41 Structural Functionalism Motivates people to achieveAllocates people into jobsPoor provide jobs for othersSocial service
43 Socioeconomic Status and Life Chances Consequences of belonging to a certain social class:EducationEmploymentMedical care (health)Think about which people in society tend to have greater access to these resources. Not everyone has an equal chance of getting into Harvard, or being operated on by the best surgeon, or even becoming the President of the United States, despite what children are told in school. People also tend to marry someone whose social and cultural backgrounds are similar to their own, mainly because they are more likely to encounter people like themselves.
44 Social MobilitySocial mobility: Movement within the hierarchal system of social classesMove up or move downClosed system little opportunity to move from one class to anotherOpen system opportunities to move from one class to anotherHow to marry richAmerica technically has an open system (it is legal and permissible for people to move between classes) but we notice structural patterns where people tend to stay very close to the class they were raised in. If we have an open system, why do we see a lack of opportunities to move between classes?
45 Social Mobility Intergenerational mobility Intragenerational mobility Movement between social classesFrom one generation to the nextIntragenerational mobilityOver an individual’s lifetimeAn example of intergenerational mobility would be a plumber who has a daughter that becomes a doctor. There was class movement between generations. An example of intragenerational mobility would be a man who is a secretary, but then goes back to school to become a lawyer. The mobility in that situation would be within his own lifetime and would likely change his social class.
48 Social Mobility Horizontal social mobility Vertical social mobility Occupational movement within a social classVertical social mobilityUpward or Downward movementHorizontal social mobility, which is fairly common, refers to the changing of jobs within a class: a therapist who shifts careers so that he can teach college experiences horizontal mobility. Vertical social mobility is movement up or down the social ladder, and thus is often called upward or downward mobility. If this same therapist marries a president of a large corporation, he might experience upward mobility. On the other hand, if he or his wife gets laid off, he might experience downward mobility. People are far more likely to experience horizontal than vertical social mobility. However, most Americans strive for upward social mobility.
49 Social MobilityStructural mobility: Changes in social status due to structural changes in societyExample: Creating new kinds of jobsIndustrialization—Improved social statusIncreases in educationNew technologyComputersDuring periods of economic recession, we may see downward social mobility for many people at once due to layoffs and company closures.
50 Defining PovertyFor a family of 4, official poverty line was an annual income of $23,0502012: 46.2 million people in poverty15% of the population povertyResidential segregation, political disenfranchisement, and the use of law enforcement to control the homeless can make poverty invisible to many Americans.