Presentation on theme: "Lecture Seven Social Stratification: The growing gap between the have and the have-nots."— Presentation transcript:
1 Lecture SevenSocial Stratification: The growing gap between the have and the have-nots
2 Understanding Social Structure & Inequality System of Stratification: individuals and groups are ranked according to their group’s social category and given unequal access to rewards and resources in societySystems of stratification emerge as social categories of difference that are socially constructed in society are given meaning through our social interactionsThese social categories create structures of privilege and disadvantage in society
3 Caste System : Closed Stratification In caste systems social status is bestowed for life with rigid social positions that provide limited social mobilityApartheid South Africa ( ) is a modern example of a caste system based on raceThe rules of Apartheid dictated that people be legally classified into racial groups-- the main ones were Black, White, Coloured and Indian – with unequal rights.Education, housing, medical care, employment, and voting rights were segregated
4 Apartheid South Africa Blacks legally became citizens of one of ten homelands that were nominally sovereign nations and were forced to reside in these areasEducation, medical care, and other public services were segregated, and those available to Black people were of an inferior standard
5 City of Johannesburg in South Africa: White Dominated
6 Soweto Township: A Black Homeland in South Africa
7 Legacy of Apartheid in Democratic South Africa The many years of Apartheid created a legacy of racial inequality in South Africa that greatly affects the country todaySouth Africa has one of the highest rates of income inequality in the worldThe white South African minority tends to be considerably wealthier than the rest of the populationStatistics South Africa reported that in 1995 the average white household earned 4 times as much as the average African householdIn 2000 the average white household was earning 6 times the average African household
8 Class System: Open Stratification In contrast to a caste system, we also see what is called a class system, whereby positions in the system of stratification are based on economics and achievementSocial mobility and advancement is open to everyonePeople are ranked on the basis of achieved characteristics – merit, talent, ability, past performanceInequality is not systematic, like it is in a caste-system. Not based on skin color, gender, age or other ascribed characteristics…
9 Is the US a Class or Caste System? Most American’s believe that we live in a pure class system: According to a 2000 NYT poll 85% of American’s believe “it is possible in America to pretty much be who you want to be”.However, when we examine the system of stratification and inequality in American society we see that our class position is generally determined by BOTH our individual hard work and intelligence as well as characteristics (such as race and gender) that we have no control over
10 US: Mixed-class System Ideology: Beliefs that justify the way things areMarx: Controlling IdeasDominant ideology to keep the status quoSocial class penetrates out consciousness…there is a psychology to itAmerican IdeologyHoratio Alger mythAuthor in the late 1800’sMark Twain wrote parody story…“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps”Individual determination equals successFailure is individualAmerican Dream“Everyone can make it.”Level playing fieldClass = position a person occupies in the social structureLife chances based on both ascribed and achievedThe main determinants of class position in American society are not equally distributed by gender, race, or immigration statusDeterminants of class positionMix together in interesting ways, we tend to think of class position as purely based on economics, but we can also think of the role of status.Mother Teresa versus Bill GatesIncomeWages that we earn that allow great access to other resources in society: housing, education etc.77K a year now to support a family of four in the bay area just above povertyWealthFinancial assets like savings, homes, etc.Discrimination in terms of home ownership. Etc.EducationMore schooling you have the higher income, wealth and occupationOccupationSalaried versus non salaried workersBenefits and health insuranceHigh status positions versus low status positionsGarbage collectors get paid more than college professors, but different statusWhite men with prison records receive far more offers for entry-level jobs in New York City than black men with identical records, and are offered jobs just as often - if not more so - than black men who have never been arrested, according to a new study by two Princeton professors.Even though we believe that we are pure class system, we are a mixed class system, whereby both ascribed and achieved characteristics determine class position in societyAscribed characteristics: race, gender, immigrant status, geography, sexual orientationAchieved characteristics:, initiative, determination, intelligence
11 Opportunity in a Mixed-Class System Looking at social stratification in a mixed-class system we can examine the opportunity structure, which determines the opportunities that are available to different individuals and groups depending on their position in the overall social structure of societyThose who are born at the top and the bottom of the opportunity structure are more likely to stay in the same class position throughout their lives
12 American Opportunity Structure Resources for Social MobilityWealthHigh IncomeGood NeighborhoodGood SchoolsGood JobsAccess to Health Care→ → → →↑↓→ → → →
13 Economic MobilityThe American opportunity structure – options for social mobility – are largely determined by individual and group access to economic resourcesResources such as income and wealth enable individuals to access good neighborhoods, good schools, good jobs, and therefore higher income and wealth
14 What affects our access to economic resources? In a mixed-class system, our access to economic resources is largely determined by our master status position, which is a social category that takes priority over all other positions and usually determine ones position in the system of stratificationMaster status positions in American society are socially constructed categories such as race/ethnicity and gender
15 Race: An American Master Status Position? Devorah Pager, a sociologist at Princeton University asked the following questions in her study:Does race matter when ex-felons are looking for jobs?Beginning in February 2004, Pager sent 13 white, black and Latino men posing as ex-convicts to more than 3,500 job interviews throughout the city, most of them in Manhattan. Saying they had completed only high school, they applied for a broad spectrum of jobs, from couriers to cashiers, deli clerks to telemarketers.What her study found is that the achieved status position of “Felon” could not override the ascribed status position of “Black Male” in the job market.
16 The Color of Opportunity What Pager’s study found is that:Black men whose job applications stated that they had spent time in prison were only about one-third as likely as white men with similar applications to get a positive response."It takes a black ex-offender three times as long to receive a callback or a job offer," said Devah PagerHowever, most astonishing was that they found that White men who are ex-felons are more likely to be hired that Black men without a criminal recordMore than 630,000 people nationwide leave prison each yea.Nationwide, one in three black men with only a high school diploma will go to prison before turning 40, Professor Pager said.Beginning in February 2004, Professor Pager and the study's other author, Bruce Western, also a sociology professor, sent 13 white, black and Latino men posing as ex-convicts to more than 3,500 job interviews throughout the city, most of them in Manhattan. (The study did not form any conclusions about Latino ex-convicts.) Saying they had completed only high school, they applied for a broad spectrum of jobs, from couriers to cashiers, deli clerks to telemarketers.The study's authors said they took pains to minimize all applicants' nonracial differences - in personality, interpersonal skills, education levels, work history and the neighborhoods where they said they lived.For every 10 white men without convictions who got a job offer or callback, more than 7 white men with prison records also did, the study found. But the difference grew far larger for black applicants: For every 10 black men without criminal convictions, only about 3 with records got offers or callbacks."It takes a black ex-offender three times as long to receive a callback or a job offer," said Devah Pager, an assistant professor of sociology and one of the study's two authors.
17 A growing problem of Inequality? Pager’s study is critically important to understand the system of stratification and the opportunity structure in American society, especially as more people than ever before in are under correctional control in the USWe now have more than 7 million people under correctional control or 1 in 31 AmericansHowever, black men are more likely to be incarcerated than any other social group
20 Barriers to Mobility?Master status positions (which are ascribed) lead to social exclusion, whereby individuals and social groups are cut off from mechanisms that allow social mobility in a societyIncome/wealth are the main lubricants of social mobility in American society, however we see that their distribution in becoming increasingly unequal
21 Polarization of Income and Wealth in 2002 Income: economic gain from wages (or rent)Top 20% = 50% of total incomeBottom 20% = 4% of total incomeWealth: value of all economic assets – property, income, income generating property0.5% own 35% of nations wealth90% at bottom own 28% of national wealthIncreasing gap between the rich and poorRatio of CEO-worker pay in 2005 was 262 to 1; while in 1965 it was 24 to 1
22 Black/White Wealth Gap As the wealth/income gap grows we see a growing “equity inequity” between racial and ethnic groupsAverage white family has a net worth 7 times that of the average Black familyThis gap has grown since the 1960’s when the Civil Rights Movement brought about political equalityThe wealth gap accounts for many of the racial differences in socioeconomic achievementWhen economic resources are equal, the wage and education gap between Whites and Blacks disappears
23 Who is most likely to be in Poverty? 58% of Americans will live poverty for at least 1 year1 in 3 will experience extreme poverty for at least one year27% will experience poverty before age 30Higher rates of poverty among non-whitesWhite- 8%Black – 25%Hispanic – 22%American Indian – 25%
24 Feminization of Poverty Women are disproportionately represented among the poorMore likely to be in low-pay service jobsWomen still make $0.76 for every man’s dollar42% of female-headed households are in poverty, compared to 9% of two-parent familiesChildren are more likely to live in poverty than adults – 35% of US poor are children
25 Where do we go from here?We see a shrinking middle-class in our mixed-class system of stratification as the gap between the rich and poor growsHowever, we see that the burden of poverty and inequality is not shared equally among all racial/ethnic groups nor men and womenAs our country is currently debating how to rebuild our economy we can consider where exactly our consumer economy (and therefore consumer culture) has brought us today and if this reflects our true American valuesHow shall we rebuild and who should our economy work for?