2Discussion Outline I. Patterns of Social Stratification II. American Class InequalityIII. Social Mobility and Poverty
3What is Social Stratification? Why are Sociologists interested in studying social strata and social class?
4I. Systems of Stratification Stratification-A structured ranking of entire groups of people.perpetuates unequal economic rewards and power in society-Some suffer while others benefitSocial Inequality- members of society have differing amounts of wealth, prestige, and power
5Systems of Stratification Review:Ascribed status vs. Achieved statusGeneral Systems: Any stratification system may include elements of more than one type(1) Slavery (2) castes (3) social classesOpen vs. Closed systems
6Dimensions of Stratification Economic Standing (measures)1. Wealth- money and other economic assets that a person or family owns, including property and incomeWealth is cumulative, is passed on to the next generation, ensures economic security and future prosperity, and produces income2. Income?
7Dimensions of Stratification PrestigeHow do individuals and groups alert others of their level of prestige?PowerWhat does it mean that an individual or group is powerful in society?
8Is there modern day economic inequality in the richest, most powerful nation in the history of the world?
9II. The American Class System The gap between the rich and the poor in U.S. is larger than any other wealthy/industrialized nationGrowing inequality since 1960’s and accelerated in 1980’s under president ______ and economic principle of “trickle down economics”.What was the principle of trickle down economics?Inequality continues to grow- Income and wealth gaps
10Economic Inequality (Income) A growing gap between rich and poor90’s profits reaped by upper classStagnant wages for 8/10 AmericansCEO CompensationTrickle down-economicsDid it work?
11Economic Inequality (Wealth) Importance of wealth?Greater than income inequality and expandingIn 2007, the wealthiest 1% of household owned more than the bottom 90% of households combinedCorporate Wealth
13Why do Americans tolerate such massive concentrations of income and wealth? Are the richest Americans the hardest working?Do CEO’s deserve what they get paid?
14The land of opportunity The American Dream is one of the most powerful concepts and constructions in American societyMeritocracy“Rags to Riches”The land of opportunity
15??? Why do some believe that the American Dream is a myth? Is it? Do we live in a true meritocracy?How are people rewarded for their hard work?Do all individuals have an equal chance at discovering their talents? Equality of opportunity?Are the richest individuals/families the hardest working?
16The Significance of Social Class Life ChancesSocial Mobility
17PovertyThe wealthiest country in the world also has the highest rates of poverty. What country?Absolute poverty—not having enough money to afford the most basic necessitiesRelative poverty—not having enough money to maintain an average standard of livingWhy is poverty such a problem in the richest nation in the world?How much money should a family of four make to live above the poverty line?
18Poverty LinePoverty line—the minimal level of income that the federal government considers necessary for basic subsistenceUsed to determine eligibility for government assistanceIn 2010, the poverty line was _______for a family of four.
19Who are the Poor? Children (35% of the poor) Women (57% of the poor) African Americans, American Indians, and Latinos (Poverty rates are much higher than for whites.)The “new poor”How is povertyExplained?
20Causes of Poverty? Deficiency vs. Structural theories Deficiency Theories: Blame the IndividualInnate InferiorityCultural InferiorityStructural Theories: Blame societyInstitutional DiscriminationA capitalist economy
21Theoretical Explanations for Social Stratification The Functionalist theory of StratificationThe Conflict Theory of Stratification