Presentation on theme: "Social Stratification and Inequality. Social Stratification Big Questions Is inequality inevitable or is it socially constructed? Has inequality existed."— Presentation transcript:
Social Stratification Big Questions Is inequality inevitable or is it socially constructed? Has inequality existed throughout human history? How has it changed over time? Is the level of inequality increasing or decreasing in Canada? Is the level of inequality increasing or decreasing Globally?
Social Stratification Origins Social stratification has been occurring since hunter-gatherer times over 5000 years ago Little separation of wealth in hunting and gathering societies Some stratification base on age and sex (ie power held by older males) As agriculture evolved societal groups had a reliable food source for the first time As technology increased excess food could be produced and “sold” or traded This created and economy where some people came to be significantly more wealthy than others This wealth gap became more intensified during the industrial age. People working in factories were significantly poorer than their employers but significantly richer than people not working or working in lower paying jobs. THE MIDDLE CLASS WAS BORN….
Social Stratification Today Along what lines does social stratification occur Canada What mechanisms are different today than in 1900? What role might technology play in social stratification
Systems of Social Stratification Closed Systems Allow for little change in social position Boundaries between levels are rigid, and people’s positions are set by ascribed status Examples are Slavery and Indian Caste System Open Systems Permit considerable flexibility and may be influenced (positive or negatively) by achieved status Some degree of social mobility possible (up or down) Example is the Class system Can move within the hierarchy based on achievement that is either intergenerational (from one generation to the next) or intergenerational (within your life time)
Marx and Weber Studied the inevitability of conflict between social groups According to conflict theory inequality is bad, avoidable and unnecessary Marx theorized that from and economic context that the rich (bourgeoisie) who own the means of producing wealth in industrialized society, and the poor (proletariat) would ultimately clash due to the inequality This uprising of the people was to lead into a free abd classless society Weber to a more inclusive view and looked at more than just economic wealth as an indicator of social status Weber separates class (wealth) from status (social prestige) and power (influence ones will over others) Does this apply to Canadian society today?
A Functionalist’s Perspective Inequality is not only inevitable but necessary for society to function (Emile Durkheim) How can inequality contribute to the stability of a functioning soceity? All societies have functions that must be accomplished and certain positions that must be filled Some positions are more important than others (for survival) The most important positions must be occupied by the most qualified people Positions are the most important for society and that require scarce talent, extensive training or both must be highly rewarded The most highly rewarded positions should be those that are functionally unique and on which other positions rely for expertise, direction or financing Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore **The overall effect of a system of unequal rewards is a more productive society
Class in Canada Canada’s Upper Class represents 3-5% of the population and holds approximately 45% of the wealth Canada’s Middle Class and Working Classes represents 60- 70% of the population and about 50% of the wealth Canada’s Lower class represents 15% of the population and less than 5% of the wealth
POVERTY ABSOLUTE POVERTY In ability for a person to meet the basic needs for survival Food, Water, Shelter, Health Care, Clothing Internationally recognized as earning less than $1.50/day RELATIVE POVERTY Measure of the deprivation of some people compared to those who have more Statistics Canada uses low income cut offs (LICO). A measure of how much basic food, accommodation, and clothing costs In 2009 (Canada) 3 159 000 did not meet the the LICO (9.6%) 1/5 of these people were children (under 18)
Ascription and Inequality Ethnicity and Race Visible minorities at higher risk of poverty Social Background Students of working class families less likely to attend post secondary education Gender Women still earn less in the workplace than men (83.3 cents per dollar in 2008) How much of this difference is “choice”? Age Seniors largest demographic living in poverty Youth highest unemployment Physical and Mental Disability Historically excluded from mainstream society More inclusion since 1982 (constitution reform)