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Social Stratification Chapter 6. Discussion Outline I. Patterns of Social Stratification II. American Class Inequality III. Social Mobility and Poverty.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Stratification Chapter 6. Discussion Outline I. Patterns of Social Stratification II. American Class Inequality III. Social Mobility and Poverty."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Stratification Chapter 6

2 Discussion Outline I. Patterns of Social Stratification II. American Class Inequality III. Social Mobility and Poverty

3 What is Social Stratification? Why are Sociologists interested in studying social strata and social class?

4 I. Systems of Stratification Stratification-A structured ranking of entire groups of people. perpetuates unequal economic rewards and power in society-Some suffer while others benefit – Social Inequality- members of society have differing amounts of wealth, prestige, and power

5 Systems of Stratification Review: – Ascribed status vs. Achieved status General Systems: Any stratification system may include elements of more than one type (1) Slavery (2) castes (3) social classes – Open vs. Closed systems

6 Dimensions of Stratification Economic Standing (measures) – 1. Wealth- money and other economic assets that a person or family owns, including property and income Wealth is cumulative, is passed on to the next generation, ensures economic security and future prosperity, and produces income – 2. Income?

7 Dimensions of Stratification Prestige How do individuals and groups alert others of their level of prestige? Power What does it mean that an individual or group is powerful in society?

8 Is there modern day economic inequality in the richest, most powerful nation in the history of the world?

9 II. The American Class System The gap between the rich and the poor in U.S. is larger than any other wealthy/industrialized nation Growing 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

10 Economic Inequality (Income) A growing gap between rich and poor – 90’s profits reaped by upper class – Stagnant wages for 8/10 Americans – CEO Compensation – Trickle down-economics Did it work?

11 Economic Inequality (Wealth) Importance of wealth? Greater than income inequality and expanding In 2007, the wealthiest 1% of household owned more than the bottom 90% of households combined Corporate Wealth

12 Growing Inequality in the U.S.

13 Why 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?

14 The American Dream is one of the most powerful concepts and constructions in American society The land of opportunity Meritocracy “Rags to Riches”

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? 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?

16 The Significance of Social Class Life Chances Social Mobility

17 Poverty The 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 necessities – Relative poverty—not having enough money to maintain an average standard of living Why 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?

18 Poverty Line Poverty line—the minimal level of income that the federal government considers necessary for basic subsistence – Used to determine eligibility for government assistance – In 2010, the poverty line was _______for a family of four.

19 Who 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 poverty Explained?

20 Causes of Poverty? Deficiency vs. Structural theories – Deficiency Theories: Blame the Individual 1.Innate Inferiority 2.Cultural Inferiority – Structural Theories: Blame society 1.Institutional Discrimination 2.A capitalist economy

21 Theoretical Explanations for Social Stratification The Functionalist theory of Stratification The Conflict Theory of Stratification


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