3 Lecture Outline Social Stratification Dimensions of Stratification Explanations of StratificationStratification in American SocietyConsequences of StratificationSocial Mobility
4 Social Stratification System in which large groups of people are divided into layers according to their relative power, property, and prestigeExists within societyAffects our life chances and orientations to life based on our classUnequal and relatively permanentClass: based primarily on the possession of money and material goods
5 Questions for Today What are the major social classes in the U.S.? For which class is inherited wealth most important?How are one’s education and occupation related to one’s social class?
6 Dimensions of Stratification The Economic DimensionMarx viewed economics as the foundation of social classes.Social class is determined by one’s relationship to the means of production.Bourgeoisie – the rulers; exploitProletariat – those who are ruled; revoltClassless societyBelieved that all other social institutionswere based on the economic structure
7 Dimensions of Stratification The Economic DimensionWeber identified several different social classes based on the consequences of their relationship to the economic institution.Wealth that consists of property (what we own) and income (money we receive).Likelihood of achieving education,housing, health, food, etc., based onaccess to economic resources.
8 Economic Inequality in America “CEO Pay Jumped 11%” by Joann Lublin (WSJ)For the past 30 years income inequality has been increasing.The U.S. is now the most economically unequal of all major Western countries.In 2009, 43.6 million people were living in poverty yet there were only 7 million millionaires and 800 billionaires.Between 1990 and 2005 CEO income increased about 300% while workers income increased just 4.3%
11 Dimensions of Stratification The Power DimensionPower is the ability to control others, even over their objections.Expert knowledge, special skills, fame, and social positionMills – “Power Elite”Big decision makersin U.S. society
12 Dimensions of Stratification The Prestige DimensionPrestige is the respect or regard people give to various occupations and accomplishments.In US occupations are the primary source of prestige.Occupations with highest prestige:Pay moreRequire more educationEntail more abstract thoughtOffer greater autonomyValuable = people must acknowledge it.
14 Explanations of Stratification Functionalist TheoryStratification is inevitablePositions have to be filled and some positions are more important than othersMore important positions need to be filled by more qualified people = greater rewardsCritical Thinking – Where does Functionalist theory fall short?Are some positions really more important?Example: Entertainer vs. President; Electrician vs. ProfessorBarriers to fair competition due to lack of access.Example: Racial/Ethnic groups, women, the disabled etc.Meritocracy?Example: Best predictor of College entrance is family income not abilityStratification is dysfunctional, thus not functional.
15 Explanations of Stratification Conflict TheoryStress that conflict, not function, is the basis of social stratificationStratification exists because those with more power and wealth are willing to exploit others with less.Critical Thinking – Where does conflict theory fall short?Conflict theory is based on the class conflict described by MarxMarx’s work not consistent with American system
16 Symbolic Interactionism and Stratification Social stratification persists only as long as its legitimacy is accepted.Symbols explain the existence of stratification to the young and the reasons for people being located in particular strata.Views of legitimacy are incorporated into an individual’s self-concept as well.
17 Theoretical Perspectives: Social Stratification
18 Stratification in American Society U.S. Class Structure-Gilbert and Kahl – Updated Weber’sModelCapitalist ClassThe Upper Middle ClassThe Lower Middle ClassThe Working ClassThe Working PoorThe UnderclassThe Homeless
20 Consequences of Stratification Life Chances –probability of achieving the positive things in life.Life ExpectancyHealth/Mental health; medical careLife StyleFamily LifeDivorceChild RearingPoliticsEducationCriminal Justice System
21 Social Mobility Movement up or down the social class ladder Difficult to do.Minorities have been denied the opportunity for advancementSignificantly impacted by intergenerational assistance.Upper class children = assistance from parents; less likely to move downLower class children = less likely to move up
22 Social MobilitySocial mobility – the movement of individuals or groups within a stratification structure.Intragenerational mobility – social class movement within the career of an individual.Intergenerational mobility – social class movement from one generation to the next.Horizontal mobility – change from one occupation to another at same status.Vertical mobility – occupational or social class moves upward or downward.
23 Systems of Social Stratification - Slavery CausesConditionsTemporaryNot Necessarily InheritableNot Necessarily Powerless and PoorSlavery in the New WorldSlavery Today
24 Caste Stratification System In a caste systemthere is no social mobilitysocial status is inheritedstatuses are ascribed or assigned at birth.Example – India’s Religious CasteExample – South Africa – ApartheidExample – US – Jim Crow Laws
25 Global InequalityThe United States has greater income inequality than most developed countries.The gross domestic product (GDP) is a good indicator of classifying a nation’s economic category (high, upper-middle, lower-middle, low).
26 How Do Elites Maintain Stratification? Soft Control vs. ForceControlling People’s IdeasControlling InformationControlling Technology
27 Comparative Social Stratification Social Stratification in Great BritainSocial Stratification in Former Soviet Union
28 Global Stratification: Three Worlds (Old Model) First World - Industrialized Capitalist NationsSecond World - Communist NationsThird World - Nations that Don’t Fit in First Two
29 Global Stratification: Three Worlds Most Industrialized NationsIndustrializing NationsLeast Industrialized Nations
30 How Did World’s Nations Become Stratified? ColonialismWorld System TheoryCulture of PovertyEvaluating the Theories
31 Maintaining Global Stratification NeocolonialismMultinational CorporationsTechnology and Global DominationRace Outcome PredeterminedUnintended Public Relations
32 Strains in the Global System Stream of Unanticipated EventsContradictions Rear UpCracks in Global Banking