Presentation on theme: "Class and Stratification in the United States"— Presentation transcript:
1Class and Stratification in the United States Chapter 7Class and Stratification in the United States
2Social Stratification Hierarchy of social groups based on control over resources.Sociologists examine social groups that make up the hierarchy in a society to determine how inequalities persist over time.
3Life ChancesAccess to resources such as food, clothing, shelter, education, and health care.Affluent people have better life chances because they have greater access to:quality educationsafe neighborhoodnutrition and health carepolice protection
4Systems of Stratification Open system - boundaries between hierarchies may be influenced by people’s achieved statuses.Closed system - boundaries between hierarchies are rigid, people’s positions are set by ascribed status.No stratification system is completely open or closed.
5Open and Closed Systems Differ in the Availability of … Social Mobility Process of changing one's social class.IntergenerationalIntragenerational
6SlaveryThroughout recorded history 5 societies have been slave societies:Ancient GreeceRoman EmpireUnited StatesCaribbean and Brazil.
7Characteristics of Slavery in the U.S. It was for life and was inherited.Slaves were considered property, not human beings.Slaves were denied rights.Coercion was used to keep slaves “in their place”.
8Caste SystemStatus is determined at birth based on parents’ ascribed characteristics.Cultural values sustain caste systems and caste systems grow weaker as societies industrialize.Vestiges of caste systems can remain for hundreds of years after they are “officially” abolished.
9In Caste Systems … Perpetuation of class is assured because: Persons must follow the same occupations as their parentsPersons must marry within their own casteOne may not have any social relations with members of other castes
10The Class SystemA type of stratification based on the ownership and control of resources and on the type of work people do.Horizontal mobility occurs when people experience a gain or loss in position and/or income that does not produce a change in their place in the class structure.Vertical mobility is movement up or down the class structure is.
11Is stratification unfair? It creates inequality. In the U.S. we view stratification as unfair if it is based upon ascribed statuses. Why?It runs counter to our value of equal opportunity.
12How does this come about? U.S. culture values achievement more than inherited wealth and status, and our occupations are not directly inherited. Yet, people tend to have occupations of a status similar to that of their parents.How does this come about?
13The influence of family on social class As a general rule, children have occupations of a status similar to that of their parents because the family’s status and income determine children’s aspirations and opportunities.
14Marxian Criteria for Class Structure Ownership of the means of production.Employing others.Supervising others on the job.Being employed by someone else.
16Max Weber: Wealth, Prestige, and Power Wealth is the value of a person’s or family’s economic assets, including income, personal property, and income-producing property.Prestige is the regard with which a person or status position is regarded by others.Power is the ability of people or groups to achieve their goals despite opposition from others.
17Socioeconomic Status (SES) A combined measure that, in order to determine class location, attempts to classify individuals, families, or households in terms of factors such as income, occupation, and education.
18Weberian Model of the Class Structure Upper Class - comprised of people who own substantial income-producing assets.Upper-Middle Class - based on university degrees, authority on the job, and high income.Middle Class - a minimum of a high school diploma or a community college degree.
19Weberian Model of the Class Structure Working Class - semiskilled workers, in routine, mechanized jobs, and workers in pink collar occupations.Working Poor - live just above to just below the poverty line.Underclass - people who are poor, seldom employed, and caught in long-term deprivation.
20Weber’s Multidimensional Approach to Social Stratification
22Middle Class and the American Dream Four factors have eroded the American Dream for this class:Escalating housing pricesOccupational insecurityBlocked mobility on the jobCost of living squeeze that has penalized younger workers, even when they have more education and better jobs than their parents.
23Pink-collar Occupations Relatively low-paying, nonmanual, semiskilled positions primarily held by women, such as day-care workers, checkout clerks, cashiers, and waitpersons.
24UnderclassThose who are poor, seldom employed, and caught in long-term deprivation that results from low levels of education and income and high rates of unemployment.
26Income and WealthIncome - wages, salaries, government aid, and propertyWealth - value of economic assets, including income and property.Wealth can generate income.
27Income inequality is higher in the United States than in most nations. Why do you think this might be the case?
28How can we measure income inequality? One way is to look at the way income is distributed.
29Income distribution in the United States Richest 20% receives 50% of all incomeNext 20% receives 23% of all incomeNext 20% receives 15% of all incomeNext 20% receives 9% of all incomePoorest 20% receives 3% of all income
30What do we mean by income distribution What do we mean by income distribution? Let’s say we have ten people in a room. How much income inequality do we have in the room?Person 1 income is $20,000Person 2 income is $60,000Person 3 income is $25,000Person 4 income is $110,000Person 5 income is $80,000Person 6 income is $200,000Person 7 income is $15,000Person 8 income is $250,000Person 9 income is $40,000Person 10 income is $50,000
31How can we measure inequality? In addition to income, we might also look at the way wealth is distributed.The richest 20% of the U.S. population currently hold 84% of all wealth.
32Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity in the United States
33Defining PovertySociologists distinguish between absolute and relative poverty.Absolute poverty exists when people do not have the means to secure the most basic necessities of life.Relative poverty exists when people may be able to afford basic necessities but are still unable to maintain an average standard of living.
35Official Poverty LineThe federal income standard that is based on what is considered to be the minimum amount of money required for living at a subsistence level. This is $19,157 for a family of four.
36% Distribution of Poverty in the U.S. EducationAll RacesWhiteAfrican AmericanHispanicNo diploma21.815.734.826.7High School Graduate11.99.422.015.4Some college8.57.011.510.6College degree (or more)184.108.40.206.5
37% Distribution of Poverty in the U.S. AgeAllWhiteAfrican AmericanHispanicUnder 1817.810.533.628.918–2418.114.528.122.625-4411.27.820.218.445-648.87.016.814.465 and above9.87.523.918.7
38Feminization of Poverty The trend in which women are disproportionately represented among individuals living in poverty.Women bear the major economic and emotional burdens of raising children when they are single heads of households but earn 70 and 80 cents for every dollar a male worker earns.More women than men are unable to obtain regular, full-time, employment.
39What are the causes of poverty? “The Culture of Poverty” : A set of values that emphasizes living for the moment, rather than thrift, investment in the future or hard work is what keeps the poor from upward social mobility.Changing labor market: De-industrialization. “If there are no good jobs available, then we don’t need to psychoanalyze people to figure out why they are poor.”Job Deskilling: A reduction in the proficiency needed to perform a specific job that leads to a corresponding reduction in the wages for that job.
40Functionalist Perspective: Davis-Moore Thesis Societies have tasks that must be accomplished and positions that must be filled.Some positions are more important for the survival of society than others.The most important positions must be filled by the most qualified people.
41Functionalist Perspective: Davis-Moore Thesis The positions that are the most important for society and that require scarce talent, extensive training, or both must be the most highly rewarded.The most highly rewarded positions should be those that are functionally unique (no other position can perform the same function) and on which other positions rely for expertise, direction, or financing.
42MeritocracyA hierarchy in which all positions are rewarded based on people’s ability and credentials.
43Conflict Theory’s Response? Can we really rank positions in terms of their value to society?Even if we could, do the rewards attached to positions really reflect their “value to society”?Is there a scarcity of talent?
44What are symbolic interactionists interested in with respect to inequality? How are inequality and unequal status symbolically communicated in interactions between people?The use of “deference”Judith Rollins’ study, page 221
45Sociological Explanations of Social Inequality in the U.S. FunctionalistSome social inequality is necessary for the smooth functioning of society and thus is inevitable.ConflictPowerful individuals and groups use ideology to maintain their favored positions in society at the expense of others. Wealth is not necessary in order to motivate people.Symbolic interactionistThe beliefs and actions of people reflect their class location in society.
46U.S. Stratification in the Future Many social scientists believe that trends point to an increase in social inequality in the U.S.:The purchasing power of the dollar has stagnated or declined since the early 1970s.Wealth continues to become more concentrated at the top of the U.S. class structure.Federal tax laws in recent years have benefited corporations and wealthy families at the expense of middle and lower-income families.