Social Stratification, Social Class, and Ethnicity
Social Stratification A system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy based on their access to scarce resources.
Four Basic Principles of Social Stratification: It is a characteristic of society, not simply a reflection of individual differences. It persists over generations. It is universal but variable. It involves not just inequality but beliefs.
Cultural beliefs serve to justify social stratification. That is part of the reason why it persists.
Types of Stratification Systems Caste System- social stratification based on ascribed status. India and South Africa Class System- social stratification based on achieved status.
Interpretations of Stratification Functionalist Meritocracy Social Conflict (Marx) Max Weber Wealth, Prestige, Power Socioeconomic status- An individual’s comparative status in a society based on factors (education, income and occupation).
People in the US are stratified based on the following: Income Prestige Wealth Education Power
Income Wages or salaries from work and earnings from investments. Distribution of Income in the US –Top 5 th 47% –Next 5 th 24% –Third 5 th 16% –Fourth 5 th 10% –Bottom 5 th 4%
Wealth Total value of money and other assets, minus outstanding debts. Distribution of Wealth in the US –Top 5 th 80% –Next 5 th 15% –Third 5 th 5% –Fourth 5 th less than 1% –Bottom 5 th less than 1%