2 What is Social Stratification? Social stratification – a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy.Stratification is a trait of society.It persists over generations.It is universal, but variable.It involves not just inequality, but beliefs.
3 Caste and Class Systems A caste system – social stratification based on ascription or birth.Birth alone determines one’s destiny.There is little opportunity for social mobility.A class system – social stratification based on both birth and individual achievement.Even blood relatives may have different social standings.Meritocracy – based on personal merit.
6 Wealth & Power: United States Top 1% of households owns 50% of the stock, financial securities, and trust equity; 66% of business equity, 36% of non-home real estateTop 10% owns 90% of the stock, financial securities, and trust equity; 75% non-home real estate
7 Ideology: The Power Behind Stratification We wonder how societies persist without sharing resources more equally.Ideology – cultural beliefs that justify social stratification.A belief that the rich are smart, and the poor are lazy, is ideological.
8 The Functions of Social Stratification Social inequality plays a vital role.The Davis-Moore Thesis – stratification has beneficial consequences for the operation of a society.Certain jobs can be performed by almost anyone.Other jobs demand the scarce talents of people with extensive training.The greater the importance of a position, the more rewards attached to it.
9 Stratification and Conflict Stratification provides some people with advantages over others.Karl Marx explained you can either own property, or work for others.Capitalism makes class conflict inevitable.In time, oppression and misery should drive the working majority to overthrow capitalism.
10 Dimensions of Class Income Wealth Social power Occupational prestige Occupational wages and earnings from investmentsWealthThe total value of money and other assets, minus any debtSocial powerThe ability to control, even in the face of resistanceOccupational prestigeJob-related statusSchoolingKey to better career opportunities
11 Social Classes The upper class The middle class The working class 5 % of the populationThe middle class40-45% of the populationThe working class33% of the populationThe lower classThe remaining 20% of people
12 A Middle Class Society Everyone stands equal under the law We celebrate individualityWe interact mostly with people like ourselvesMost do not know “superrich” or or those in “poverty”The U.S. Is an affluent societyBelief that everyone is financially comfortableSocioeconomic status (SES) reflects money (income, wealth & power), occupational prestige and schooling
13 Upper Class The upper-uppers The lower-uppers The blue bloods Membership almost always based on ascriptionThey have “old money”They are set apart by the amount of wealth their families controlMuch time devoted to community activitiesThe lower-uppersThe working rich peopleThe “new rich” by “old money” standardsCan still find themselves excluded from certain organizations and clubs
14 Social Stratification & Birth AncestryBorn to privilege or poverty makes a big differenceGenderMore poor families are headed by womenRace and ethnicityDisparity still exist when comparing majority and minority groups on social and financial variablesReligionMembers of protestant denominations (Episcopalians and Presbyterians) are identified as the most affluent
15 Middle Class More racial and ethnic diversity Upper-middles $80,000 to $160,000 yearly incomeEducation is importantHigh occupational prestigeInvolvement in local politicsAverage-middlesLess prestige in occupationFew white collar, or high-skilled blue collar jobsIncome provides modest security50% kids attend state-sponsored colleges
16 Working Class Marxist “industrial proletariat” $25,000 to $40,000 annual income“Blue-collar” routine jobs with less satisfactionHalf own their own homesFewer children go to college (only one-third)Vulnerable to financial problems caused by unemployment or illness
17 Lower Class 31.1 million Americans classified as poor in 2000 Others are “working poor” minimum wage jobsHalf complete high school, one in four attend collegeOwn homes in less desirable inner city neighborhoods or rural south
18 The Difference Class Makes HealthAmount and type of health careCultural valuesVary with positionPoliticsConservative or liberalDegree of involvementFamily and genderType of parental involvementSocialization practicesRelationships and responsibilities