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Dr. Seuss and Social Stratificaton “When the Star-Belly children went out to play ball, Could a Plain Belly get in the game? Not at all. You only could.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Seuss and Social Stratificaton “When the Star-Belly children went out to play ball, Could a Plain Belly get in the game? Not at all. You only could."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Seuss and Social Stratificaton “When the Star-Belly children went out to play ball, Could a Plain Belly get in the game? Not at all. You only could play if your bellies had stars And the Plain-Belly children had none upon thars.” -The Sneetches and other Stories The “Sneetches And Other Stories” by Dr. Seuss is a story about two groups of “sneetches”. One group has stars on their bellies, and the other doesn’t. The star- bellied sneetches are looked at as superior to the inferior plain-bellied sneetches, and as a result of this, plain- bellies are shunned from picnics, parties, and events that star-bellies regularly attend. However having a star or not has no technical advantage, so should they stratify their society as such?

2  In the beginning of the book, the author says "All animals are created equal.”  In the end of the book, the author says “All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others.”  The pigs take over the classless barnyard and make it their own, with their rules. › They mock the tendency of humans to form ranks.  They write their rules against humans › “ Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy, No animal shall wear clothes. No animal shall sleep in a bed. No animal shall drink alcohol.”  Whoever goes against it is outlawed from the group, and seen as inferior to the rest of the group. › The pigs are seen as superior and never seem to make mistakes and can bend the rules themselves.


4  Ranking of people or groups according to their unequal access to scarce resources.  Most important resources are:  Income  Wealth  Power  Prestige

5 What is social stratification? ● A hierarchy of relative privilege based on power, income,wealth, and prestige Some power, property, and prestige Very little power, property, or prestige. Lots of power, property, and prestige

6 Social Class ● Max Weber argued that class was a combination of property, prestige, and power. ● Is this a better way of thinking about social class? ● Why do you need all three in order to understand social class? ● Usually, if you have one, you can get the others… PropertyPowerPrestige

7 Bill Gates - Property ● He has property - $58 billion as of 2008 ● Does he have prestige? ● Just spoke at TED ● What about power? Property Power Prestige

8 Bill Clinton - Power ● He had power as president ● Does he have property? ● Made $35,000 per year as governor of Arkansas prior to running for president ● Standard speaking fee today - $150,000; makes around $10 million per year ● What about prestige? Property Power Prestige

9 Michael Phelps - Prestige ● Gained prestige as an Olympic athlete ● Does he have property? ● Makes millions via endorsements ● Net worth is somewhere around $6-$10 million ● His contract with Speedo, which has been extended through 2009, is estimated to be worth about $9 million. ● What about power? Property Power Prestige

10 Consequences of Social Class ● Does social class matter? ● How? ● Physical Health ● Poorer are less likely to have health insurance (Brian) ● This reduces access to healthcare ● Reduces life expectancy ● Also tend to have poorer eating and exercising habits ● Mental Health ● Greater stresses in life translate into worse mental health ● Poorer classes have worse mental health than wealthier classes

11 Consequences of Social Class ● Family Life ● Choices of husbands and wives is particularly important – Prestige, respect, and tradition matter – This also helps maintain money among the moneyed ● Divorce – Higher odds of divorce among the poorer classes – Result of stresses ● Child Rearing – Talked about different socialization – working class push obedience; upper classes push creativity

12 Consequences of Social Class ● How does class affect education? ● How are primary and secondary education funded in the U.S.? ● What significance does this have for educational attainment and quality of education? ● What about college and graduate school? How are they funded? ● What significance does this have for educational attainment and quality of education? ● Think about it in terms of a race…

13 If equally skilled, the student in the poorer district never catches up To catch up, the only option available to the poorer student is to run faster Student in wealthy district has a head start So, is the educational system in the US fair? The Runner Example

14 Consequences of Social Class ● Religion ● Some connection to class, but diminishing – we’ll talk more about this later ● For now, just note that more conservative religious groups (e.g., Pentecostals, Baptists) tend to attract people from lower classes… ● Politics ● Higher social classes tend to vote conservative and Republican – Why? ● Intriguing interaction – more conservative religious groups tend to attract lower socioeconomic classes, who then vote conservatively – Why is this not in their best interest? – Why do they do it?

15 Consequences of Social Class ● Crime and the Judicial System ● The lower your social class, the higher your odds of being arrested for a crime ● Social Class and the Changing Economy ● Does globalization – the spreading of a global culture and the development of a world economy – equally affect the different classes? ● Why/Why not? ● Who are the lower classes competing with for jobs? ● What does this do to their wages? ● Increasingly it isn’t the lower classes competing…

16 Income Th amount of money or its equivalent received during a period of time in exchange for labor or services, from the sale of goods or property, or as profit from financial investments.

17 Wealth -The greater amount of money or the valuable items possessed by an individual or group.

18 Bill Gates vs. Average Family Income

19 P OWER Definition: the ability to control the behavior of others, even against their will Can be given( through elections for example) and/or inherited (monarchy system) There is some form of power in every society Those in power often use corrupt ways to push their policies and beliefs

20 Power ● Paris Hilton arrested on DUIs ● Jail cell description, a special section “reserved for police officers, public officials, celebrities and other high-profile inmates” in Century Regional Detention Facility, an all female jail in Lynwood, California ● How does this reflect power?

21 Prestige 1. reputation or influence arising from success, achievement, rank, or other favorable attributes. 2. distinction or reputation attaching to a person or thing and thus possessing a cachet for others or for the public: An Example: The system, run by the Jordanian king himself, enjoys an unlikely prestige.

22 Why does Social Stratification Happen ?Structural Functionalism ● Why is social stratification “universal”? ● Davis and Moore’s Explanation ● Society must make sure all necessary positions are filled (e.g., garbage collector) ● Some positions are more important than others – Is this true? ● More important positions are filled by more qualified people – Again, is this true? And, what is meant by “qualified”? ● To motivate qualified people, they must be rewarded – Is this true? Evidence from Soviet Union ● Tumin’s Critique of Davis and Moore ● How do we know which positions are most important? ● Stratification should lead to an actual meritocracy ● Stratification should to benefit everyone ● Do we need stratification?

23 W HAT IS IT ? It explains that social, political, and material inequality exists because some people are willing to exploit others Inequal people

24 SOCIAL CLASS IN AMERICA  Social class is a controversial issue in the United States, having many competing definitions, models, and even disagreements over its very existence. Many Americans believe in a simple three-class model that includes the "rich", the "middle class", and the "poor". More complex models that have been proposed describe as many as a dozen class levels; while still others deny the very existence, in the strict sense, of "social class" in American society. Most definitions of class structure group people according to wealth, income, education, type of occupation, and membership in a specific subculture or social network.


26 Functionalist Theory Of Stratification It recognizes that some jobs are more important than others, and that these jobs often require special training or special talents. Usually the more qualified people fill the most important positions.

27  Only 1 percent population.  The top is “aristocracy” Represents the old- money families whose names appear in high society.  For membership its most elite in blood rather than sweat and tears.  Seldom marry outside their class. The rich is talking about how the poor man is nothing in society.

28 Lower Upper Class- New Money This is the bottom end of the upper class. Most people in the lower upper class have gotten there wealth from some type of athletic or business achievement. Being born into or inheriting wealth is not as common. Certain jobs such as doctors, lawyers and business men can also be categorized in this class. An average income for the lower upper class would be $100,000 and up.

29 Working-Poor Class According to the US Census Bureau, in 2010, 21 million people lived in working-poor families. 9.6 percent of all American families living below 100 percent of poverty have at least one family member working. Truck drivers unload trucks or small part time jobs.

30  The working class (sometimes called "proletariat") consists of all people who must work for someone else in order to make money with which to survive. This includes factory workers, maintenance people, programmers, cooks, dishwashers, secretaries, firemen, etc.  Usually work long hours for enough money to get by

31  Essentially, members of the working class work in unskilled or semiskilled professions for wages which are typically low. Typically, working class work environments are distinguished by very rigid schedules with penalties for workers who run late or slack on the job, and they are often organized in a very hierarchical way, with a clear delineation between workers, managers, and employers. The term also includes dependent family members of someone working in such an industry.

32 Underclass  Underclass are people, typically unemployed, who came from families that have been poor for generations.  They lack an education and skills  Many are single mothers with little to no income  Some underclass people work in part-time mental jobs (unloading trucks, picking up litter, etc.), in addition physical and mental disabilities are common.  There are many routes to this class- birth, old age, loss of a marriage, lack of education, alcoholism, physical or mental disabilities, however, there are very few paths out.

33 Absolute Poverty -The absence of enough money to secure life’s necessities like enough food, a place to live, clothing, etc. -Receive the minimum amount of income. -Poverty is measured in an annual income level. -People below the average income level are considered as “absolute poverty”


35 Jasmine Hoff

36  A relative measure of poverty is essentially a measure of inequality in the lower half of the income distribution.

37  A nation’s relative poverty rate is determined largely by three things: wage inequality among individuals in the bottom half of the distribution, employment inequality among households in the bottom half, and the generosity of the public safety net.


39  Relative poverty measurements can sometimes produce odd results, especially in small populations

40 Poverty Cycle Endless continuation of poverty. Once a person or community falls below a certain level of resourcefulness, a chain of events starts to occur that tends to perpetuate the situation Leading to lack of employment opportunities. Effects (Snowball Effect)- Leads to criminal activity (such as sale of illegal drugs) for survival, leading to addiction, shattered health, early death, and breakup of family, leading to even bleaker future for the next generation... and so on. This cycle continues until someone intervenes by providing worthwhile means (not handouts) for people to climb out of destitution, and by ensuring children's health and education. See also poverty trap.

41 Refer to horizontal mobility Denotes movement from one position to another Within same social level Change jobs without altering occupational status Movement of individuals, families, groups through system of social hierarchy, stratification = American Culture

42 Percent of Population Living on Less than $1 per day - 2006


44 Horatio Alger Influential writer who used his rags to respectability formula for many books that gave credence to the American dream.

45 Examples of social inequalities Education: who has access to the best education possible Health care: who gets the newest medicines and attention Jobs: who has the best opportunities for the best jobs Technologies: who has access to the newest devices to help in everyday life Home ownership: who is able to own or rent a place to live

46 In 1996 5.1 million families were on welfare by 2004 the amount of families dropped to less than 2 million. 63% of welfare receiving mothers got a job within 3 years of welfare reform. Former welfare recipiants averaged $8 dollars an hour wages which means many received over minimum wage.

47 Welfare Reform The process of reforming the framework of social security and welfare provisions

48 What is the nature of Welfare Reform? 23% social security, 19% national defense, 12% Medicare, 11% Net Interest, 6% other means tested entitlements, 7% Medicaid, 6% Other Mandatory Benefits to children of unwed teenage mothers are denied unless mother remains in school and lives with adult Cash aid to able bodied adults will be terminated if they fail to get job after 2 years

49 1 Example of a wealthy American who pays little taxes Warren Buffett One of America’s wealthiest men Upper 1% Only pays 11% tax Favors paying higher tax with Obama tax cuts Secretary currently pays more tax than him

50 Description An Open Class System is the stratification that facilitates social mobility, with individual achievement and personal merit determining social rank. The hierarchical social status of a person is achieved through their effort. Any status that is based on family background, ethnicity, gender, and religion, which is also known as ascribed status, becomes less important. There is no distinct line between the classes and there would be more positions within that status. Core industrial nations seem to have more of an ideal open class system.

51 Vertical Mobility When a person’s occupational status or social class moves upward or downward Example of upward: a cubical workers becomes a CEO Example of downward: a Doctor becomes unemployed Vertical Mobility

52 In many societies, norms about clothing reflect standards of modesty, religion, gender, and social status. Clothing may also function as a form of adornment and an expression of personal taste or style.

53 Muslim men traditionally wear white robes and a cap during prayers


55 In some societies, clothing may be used to indicate rank or status. In ancient Rome, for example, only senators were permitted to wear garments dyed with Tyrian purple.

56 Who uses this class structure? East Asian countries such as: 1. South Korea 2. Japan 3. Taiwan

57 2010 Poverty Thresholds, Selected Family Types Single Individual Under 65 years $ 11,344 65 years & older $ 10,458 Single Parent One child $ 15,030 Two children $ 17,568 Two Adults No children $ 14,602 One child $ 17,552 Two children $ 22,113 Three children $ 26,023

58  Intergenerational Mobility for any individual is primarily determined by two factors. One factor is the amount of opportunity in society. Another is the rate of economic growth associated change in occupational structure.  Opportunity is defined as a degree to which income and social status are determined by the innate skills and ambitions of the individual and not inherited advantages and disadvantages.  The more closely a person’s socioeconomic status is determined by parent’s status, the less opportunity exists  The more independent the two parents are, the more opportunity is present. Children with equal abilities will have equal chances to succeed.

59  The United States determines the official poverty rate using poverty thresholds that are issued each year by the Census Bureau. The thresholds represent the annual amount of cash income minimally required to support families of various sizes.  The methodology for calculating the thresholds was established in the mid-1960s and has not changed in the intervening years. The thresholds are updated annually to account for inflation.[

60 In the late 1950s, the poverty rate for all Americans was 22.4 percent, or 39.5 million individuals. These numbers declined steadily throughout the 1960s, reaching a low of 11.1 percent, or 22.9 million individuals, in 1973. Over the next decade, the poverty rate fluctuated between 11.1 and 12.6 percent, but it began to rise steadily again in 1980. By 1983, the number of poor individuals had risen to 35.3 million individuals, or 15.2 percent. For the next ten years, the poverty rate remained above 12.8 percent, increasing to 15.1 percent, or 39.3 million individuals, by 1993. The rate declined for the remainder of the decade, to 11.3 percent by 2000. From 2000 to 2004 it rose each year to 12.7 in 2004.

61 Statistics In 2010, 46.2 million people were in poverty, up from 43.6 million in 2009—the fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people in poverty. The poverty rate in 2010 (15.1 percent) was the highest poverty rate since 1993 but was 7.3 percentage points lower than the poverty rate in 1959, the first year for which poverty estimates are available. Between 2009 and 2010, the poverty rate increased for non- Hispanic Whites (from 9.4 percent to 9.9 percent), for Blacks (from 25.8 percent to 27.4 percent), and for Hispanics (from 25.3 percent to 26.6 percent). For Asians, the 2010 poverty rate (12.1 percent) was not statistically different from the 2009 poverty rate

62 Cont. The number of people in poverty in 2010 (46.2 million) is the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published. Between 2009 and 2010, the poverty rate increased for children under age 18 (from 20.7 percent to 22.0 percent) and people aged 18 to 64 (from 12.9 percent to 13.7 percent), but was not statistically different for people aged 65 and older (9.0 percent). The official poverty rate in 2010 was 15.1 percent — up from 14.3 percent in 2009. This was the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate. Since 2007, the poverty rate has increased by 2.6 percentage points, from 12.5 percent to 15.1 percent.

63  In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty” expands the government’s role in providing housing, education, and health care to the poor.


65  The Indian caste system is a system of social stratification and social restriction in India in which communities are defined by thousands of endogamous hereditary groups called Jātis.

66 The untouchables were the outcastes, or people beyond the caste system. Their jobs or habits involved “polluting activities” including: -Any job that involved ending a life, such as fishing. -Killing or disposing of dead cattle or working with their hides. -Any contact with human emissions such as sweat, urine, or feces. This included occupational groups such as sweepers and washer men. -People who ate meat. This category included most of the primitive Indian hill tribes. Untouchables were often forbidden to enter temples, schools and wells where higher castes drew water. In some parts of southern India, even the sight of untouchables was thought to be polluting. The untouchables forced to sleep during the day and work at night.

67 Age and Social Class 9.1% of people 55 and over are below poverty; the other 90.9% are at or above. 27% of children 18 and under suffer from poverty. 18% of adults 19-64 suffer from poverty. Older people have always been wealthier than the young. Older people have been racing ahead, helped by government retirement benefits. Young people are running in place, partly because they're delaying careers to get more education. Ages 55-59: Median income rose 52% in the last 15 years. Ages 35-39: Median household net worth fell 28% to $48,940. Median income fell 10%.

68 Systems of Social Stratification – Caste System ● Status in the social hierarchy is determined by birth; generally life-long ● India’s Religious Castes ● Brahman – priests and teachers ● Kshatriya – rulers and soldiers ● Vaishya – Merchants and traders ● Shudra – Peasants and laborers ● Dalit – outcastes; degrading laborers (clean up waste) ● Abolished in 1949, but still continues at some levels ● South Africa - apartheid ● Divided by “race” – blacks, whites, mixed, and Asians; determined social status in hierarchy and jobs – ended in 1990s ● U.S. Racial Caste System ● Informal/formal system – considered “higher status” if white; for some groups, this continues until today (hate groups)

69 Psychological cost of downward mobility The consequences are enormous for people in a society that measures self- worth by occupational status. Downwardly mobile people experience lowered self-esteem, despair, depression, feelings of powerlessness, and a loss of a sense of honor.

70 Capitalism and Stratification ● Does capitalism lead to stratification? ● What checks and balances do we have on capitalism in the U.S.? ● Regulation, anti-monopolization legislation ● Why does capitalism seem to be winning around the world? ● Capitalism leads to competition ● Competition (think evolution) leads to change, generally toward more advanced technologies ● Competition gives capitalist countries the edge over non-capitalist countries – in both money and technology ● Capitalism (and overspending) destroyed Soviet communism

71 How do elites maintain stratification? ● Do elites try to maintain stratification systems? ● Why would they? ● How do they do it? ● Ideologies and Force ● Religion? – Eternal life ● Media? – Hugo Chaves in U.S. media – Who owns the media companies in the U.S.? ● NBC – owned by GE; CBS – was owned by Westinghouse, now by National Amusements, Inc.; ABC – Walt Disney company; Fox – News Corporation ● All of these companies own businesses other than news; Why? ● Force? – Kill or imprison those who criticize – Free press – necessary?

72 Social Mobility ● Refers to changes in class - generally changes between one generation and the next ● Does this happen? ● 1/3 of children end up in the same social class as their parents (that means going up and down) ● Correlation of.4 between incomes of parents and incomes of children ● NOTE: The U.S. – the alleged land of “rags to riches” – has less social mobility than many other developed countries (except the U.K.).

73 What is poverty? ● What does it mean to be poor? ● Relative poverty – A sense of relative deprivation – you feel like you have less than others ● Absolute poverty – You cannot afford the basic necessities of life ● The U.S. government draws a line for poverty in the U.S…


75 Myths about the poor ● Most are lazy ● Half are too old or young to work ● What about the other half? ● 30% work part time; many others don’t make enough working ● Poor are trapped and few escape ● For most, poverty (by federal definition) is short-lived ● Most are Latino and African-American ● Disproportionate percentage, but most are white ● Most are single mothers and kids ● Only about 38% ● Most live in inner city ● About 42% ● Most are on welfare ● 25% of poor people’s income comes from welfare; 25% from Social Security; the balance is from wages

76 Culture of Poverty ● Are the poor just a bunch of welfare mothers who abuse the system? ● Very few fit that stereotype… ● Most want to work ● We should be asking a different question: Why aren’t there enough jobs?

77 Why are people poor? ● Features of society deny opportunity to certain groups ● Education, social mobility, job market, selfishness, etc. ● Unemployment is a necessary component of capitalism ● We even punish and penalize the poor – Welfare reform in the mid 1990s limited time on welfare ● Are all the poor “undeserving”? ● Is there such a thing as “deserving” poor? ● Who?

78 Poverty – final thoughts ● Cultural element – Delayed gratification ● Why is this important for poverty? ● How is this important? ● Who (which social class) teaches it to offspring? ● Is America the land of dreams, where anyone can go from “rags to riches”, like Horatio Alger claimed? ● How exactly would that work? ● We can’t all exploit someone…

79 Updating Weber

80 High development.8 to 1 Mid development.5 to.799 Low development.3 to.499

81 What is social class? ● People who rank close to one another on wealth, power, and prestige ● Wealth ● Distinction between wealth and income – Property (including cash) minus debts ● Distribution of wealth, property, and income (following slides) ● Power – the ability to carry out your will despite resistance ● Who has power in the U.S.? ● How do we know? ● Prestige – how much respect is leveled toward an occupation ● High prestige occupations generally: – pay more – require more education – entail more abstract thought – offer greater autonomy

82 Jains and Muslim men wear unstitched cloth pieces when performing religious ceremonies. The unstitched cloth signifies unified and complete devotion to the task at hand, with no digression.

83 Status Inconsistency ● Ordinarily wealth, power, and prestige are similar ● When they don’t match, can lead to more radical political views ● e.g., college professors – high prestige, low power and wealth – One of the most radical professions in their socio- political views ● Other examples?

84 Determinants of Social Class ● Max Weber argued that class was a combination of property, prestige, and power… ● How do you know who has “power”? ● Why do you need all three in order to understand social class?


86 WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM?  The American Dream is the traditional social ideals of the US, such as equality, democracy, and material prosperity.  The ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American.  A life of personal happiness and material comfort as traditionally sought by individuals in the U.S.

87 DYING DREAM CONTINUED  James Truslow Adams, published a definition of the American Dream, describes it as "a dream of a social order in which each man and each woman should be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." ABC News put out a poll showing that 62 percent of Americans are spending less on things like vacations, cars, and dining out. ○ Americans don’t want the high expensive items anymore, they feel like it would be best to back track to a more less appeal.

88 IS THE AMERICAN DREAM DYING?  American dream of success, fame and wealth through thrift and hard work. However, the industrialization began to erode the dream, replacing it with a philosophy of "get rich quick".  Graph: The debt of school loans, car insurance, taxes, marriage, and home insurance is not enough to sustain that throughout the years.  Too much spending, too expensive for America, having whatever we want is not appealing anymore. We want something that won’t bring us to spending our hard work.

89 HOW DID WE GET TO THE DECREASE OF THE “DREAM”?  Americans are struggling—squeezed by rising costs, declining wages, credit-card debt and diminished benefits, with little left over to save for retirement.  America’s money is increasing. We spend more as it increases throughout the years. Too much spending has brought the Americans to not want to spend as much money so they can look to the future of a better life for them and their families.

90 HOW IS THE “DREAM” TODAY?  5.9 million Americans ages 25 to 34 are living with their parents. Men are now twice as likely as young women to live with their parents.  There's not just one American Dream, but a multitude of American Dreams which a multitude of people are working toward.

91 BARRIERS TO THE AMERICAN DREAM  Government as Help or Hindrance: 72% of Americans believe that the government should actively work to help people achieve the American Dream. 45% believe the government has done more to hinder their pursuit of the American Dream than help. 85% say that local, state and federal government must work together to give people a fair shot at achieving the American Dream.  Two-thirds of the American people say the American Dream is becoming harder to achieve, especially for young families.

92 THE “DREAM” IN REAL LIFE  The earn, spend, earn era has come to an end for us," Patrick Wojtowicz says. "The idea of living a fuller, more satisfying life seems simple to us now. … Money, cash, credit, maybe they don't matter. Maybe, just maybe, it is those things that impede our ability to be truly happy…” People like Patrick see that what we earn should be used cautiously and not spend once we get the check. We shouldn’t splurge on what we think is a necessary product.

93 WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE IN THE FUTURE?  “…fewer facelifts…less Botox, less dyed hair…They will look more like people used to look, before perfection came in. Middle- aged bodies will be thicker and softer…The new home fashion will be spare: the good, frayed carpet; dogs that look like dogs and not a hairdo in a teacup..." America is retreating to what we used to have before everyone wanted to be perfected.

94 WHAT IS THE AMERICAN DREAM TO YOU?  s/what-is-the-american-dream s/what-is-the-american-dream This video shows what people in Washington, D.C. think the American Dream is to them. ○ We all have different perspectives on what it means to us and how we should live it. ○ Many people had a different answer, asked people of all different ages, and of different ethnicities, and probably different success rates.

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