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Social Groups and Social Stratification (Miller Chapter 7)

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Presentation on theme: "Social Groups and Social Stratification (Miller Chapter 7)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Groups and Social Stratification (Miller Chapter 7)

2 The BIG Questions What is the range of cross-cultural variation of social groups? What is social stratification, and what are its effects on people? What is civil society?

3 What is a social group? A social group is a cluster of people beyond the domestic unit who are usually related on grounds other than kinship, although kinship relationships may exist between people in the group

4 Social group and responsibilities
Members of all social groups have a sense of rights and responsibilities in relation to the group which, if not maintained, could mean loss of membership

5 Categories of social groups
Primary group – consisting of people who interact with each other and know each other personally Secondary group – consisting of people who identify with each other on some common ground but who may never meet with one another or interact with each other personally

6 Types of Social Groups Friendship Clubs and fraternities
Countercultural groups Work groups Cooperatives Self-help groups

7 Friendship Friendship refers to close social ties between at least two people that are informal, are voluntary, and (usually) involve personal, face-to-face interaction Friends are mutually supportive of each other, psychologically and sometimes materially

8 Friendship Vary cross culturally Influenced by technology
e.g. Racial segregation, gender segregation may limit possibilities for friendships Influenced by technology Cell phones, internet May play important roles in economic survival In low income communities Sharing, swapping goods (food and clothing), baby sitting, lending money between individuals Often refer to each other by kin terms to signify the importance and significance of these relationships

9 Related to microcultural factors such as gender, age, class, ethnicity, and institutions
May contribute to economic security among the poor Friendship Maintained through balanced exchange Usually between social equals

10 Clubs and Fraternities
Clubs and fraternities are social groups that define membership in terms of a sense of shared identity and objectives May comprise of people of the same… Ethnic heritage Occupation or business Religion Gender Often some sort of initiation to be accepted Anything from paying monetary dues to gang rape

11 Clubs and Fraternities
Have a variety of functions Sociability Psychological support Economic and political roles Sponsoring special events Responding to emergencies Collecting food or money to distribute to those less fortunate Volunteering in the community in other ways etc.

12 Clubs and Fraternities

13 Clubs and Fraternities

14 Countercultural Groups
People who resist conforming to the dominant cultural pattern – are outside the “mainstream” of society Hippies Youth gangs Body modification groups Importance of bonding through shared initiation and other rituals

15 Youth gangs Youth gang refers to a group of young people, found mainly in urban areas, who are often considered a social problem by adults and law enforcement officials Are not always violent May be very formally organized or informally organized

16 Street gangs Street gangs are a formal variety of a youth gang, often involved in unlawful activities Have leaders and a hierarchy of membership roles and responsibilities There are a variety of theories for why individuals join street gangs

17 Body Modification Groups
Include people who have a sense of community strengthened through forms of body alteration Doing something that sets apart from others, to identify with a certain body modification group Often not accepted by the “mainstream”

18 Work Groups Work groups are groups organized to perform specific tasks
Prominent in horticultural and agricultural communities Building homes, roads, land preparation, harvesting, or repair of irrigation canals require large inputs of labor that exceed the capability of a single household unit May provide labor for chiefs Often made up of youths Can be informally or formally organized

19 Work Groups

20 Cooperatives Cooperatives are a form of economic group with three key features Co-ops are owned and controlled by their primary users Surpluses are shared among the members Decision making follows the democratic principle of one vote per person May be beneficial economically and may provide a source of mutual strength and support

21 Self-Help Groups Self-help groups are groups formed to achieve specific personal goals Coping with illness or bereavement Lifestyle change Trying to exercise more or lose weight Numbers have proliferated in recent years Can occur in person or online

22 Self-Help

23 Social Stratification
Social stratification consists of hierarchical relationships between different groups – as though they were arranged in layers or strata

24 Social Stratification
A person’s position or standing in society is referred to that person’s status

25 Social Stratification
All social stratification systems have several commonalities People in groups in higher positions have privileges not experienced in lower-echelon groups Those with greater entitlements are dominant those with lesser entitlements Members of the dominant groups tend – consciously or unconsciously – to seek to maintain their position In spite of efforts to maintain systems of dominance, instances of subversion and rebellion do occur, indicating the potential for agency among the oppressed

26 Social Stratification

27 Social Stratification
Status in society may be… Ascribed Based on qualities of a person gained through birth More “closed” in terms of mobility within the system “Race” Ethnicity Gender Age Physical ability Achieved Based on qualities of a person gained through action More “open” in terms of mobility within the system Class

28 Social Stratification
Hierarchical relationships among different groups including outright discrimination. Achieved Status Ascribed Status Class “Race” Ethnicity Caste

29 Social Class Social class refers to a person’s or group’s position in society defined primarily in economic terms In many cultures, class is a key factor in determining a person’s status, whereas in others, it is less important than, for example, birth into a certain family Is a secondary group

30 Social Class Prevailing ideology in U.S. is that of meritocratic individualism The belief that rewards go to those who deserve them Individual has the option of moving up in class if they work hard Structurists point to the power of economic class position in shaping a person’s lifestyle and his/her ability to choose a different one Lack of money and other economic resources Leads to inability to easily afford higher education Leads to inability to easily overcome poverty

31 “Race”, Ethnicity, Gender, and Caste
Are secondary groups Highly determined at birth (ascribed), but there is a slight degree of maneuverability within the system Degree of maneuverability often depends on the cultural-context Degree of discrimination against these groups differs depending on the cultural context

32 “Race”

33 Problem with the Traditional Concept of “Race”
Racial categories have no basis in biology Biologically, race is not a valid concept, especially from a genetic perspective Impossible to tell biologically where one race ends and another begins Genetic variation within racial groups is much greater than the genetic variation between racial groups

34 Modern Day Understanding of Race in Everyday Life
Race has been traditionally used as a biological term, but it has enormous social significance. Influence social identity (along with age and gender) Plays a huge role in how someone is initially perceived and judged by others Still a widespread perception that certain physical characteristics are associated with various cultural attributes

35 Modern Day Understanding of Race in Everyday Life
Racial classifications based on skin color, depth of skin tone, skin texture, hair color, facial features, other physical features Levels of income, levels of education, amount of money may influence racial categorizations “Money whitens” in many areas People with the same physical features may be considered to be in different “races” depending upon how much money they have

36 Racism Based on false belief that intellect and cultural factors are inherited with physical characteristics. Uses culturally defined variables to typify all members of particular populations. Assumes that one's own group is superior. Racism is a cultural phenomenon (not a biological one) that is found worldwide.

37 Racism Pretending that racism doesn’t exist may allow it continue
1994 – end of apartheid in South Africa Official end of laws supporting segregation Existence of racism is denied Led to lack of public discussions about racism Allows racial discrimination to continue in subtle but often just as harmful ways

38 Racism

39 Example: post-apartheid recovery in South Africa

40 Racism Racism exists not only between different “races”
Racism exists even within “races” There has been a debate within the last few years on whether Obama is black enough…

41 Ethnicity Ethnicity is a sense of group membership based on a shared sense of identity Often self-defined versus categorizing people in a particular “race” which is defined by others May be based on the perception of shared history, territory, language, religion, or a combination of these May experience discrimination based on ethnicity In extreme cases may experience ethnocide = the annihilation of the culture of an ethnic group by a dominant group

42 Gender and Sexism Gender inequalities are based on perceived differences between people born male or female or somewhere in between Varies cross culturally Patriarchy – male dominance in economic, political, social, and ideological domains Common but not universal cross culturally Varies in severity and results Honor killings are an extreme case Killing a woman whose behavior dishonors her family

43 Gender and Sexism Matriarchy – female dominance in economic, political, social, and ideological domains Much more rare Found among the pre-colonial Iroquois Minangkabau

44 Caste System The caste system is a social stratification system linked with Hinduism and based on a person’s birth into a particular group Is an ascribed system Most associated with India Divided into four varnas (their term for their major social categories) Brahmans - priests Kshatriya - warriors Vaishya - merchants Shudras – laborers Within each of these varnas are hundreds of locally named social categories called castes

45 Caste System There is a fifth group of people called the dalits, or untouchables. There are about 150 million dalits living in India today Are the lowest grouping Sometimes placed outside the varnas system because they are seen as not even being human Discrimination based on caste is illegal in the Indian constitution, but in practice discrimination persists

46 India’s Varna System: Basic of the Caste/Jati System

47 Brahmin priests of India

48 Civil Society Civil society consists of diverse interest groups that function outside the government to organize economic, political, and other aspects of life Can either support or oppose the state Activist groups Are formed with the goal of protesting certain conditions such as political repression or human rights violations

49 Interaction between Civil Society, Government, and Business

50 New Social Movements New social movements refers to activist groups of the late 20th and early 21st century Often formed by oppressed minorities Indigenous peoples Ethnic groups Women Poor Many use cybertechnology to involve networks wider than their immediate social group Use cybernetworking to… Broaden their membership Exchange ideas Raise funds


52 The BIG Questions Revisited
What is the range of cross-cultural variation of social groups? What is social stratification, and what are its effects on people? What is civil society?

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