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Types of stratification

Social stratification, social inequality

1

Social stratification

Division of society into categories, ranks or classes
-can be divided according to ascribed or achieved status

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Social inequality

Unequal sharing of scarce resources and social rewards

3

Things to know about social inequality

-social inequality in a closed system
*movement between the strata is impossible
-social inequality in an open system
*movement between the strata is allowed

4

Two types of stratification systems

-caste system
-class system

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Caste system

-resources and social rewards are distributed on the basis of ascribed statuses
*child's caste is determined by the parents
*effort and talent may effect position in caste but not move you to a higher caste
-has norms for interaction among castes
*exogamy
*endogamy
-example: ancient India (each caste is divided into thousands of subcastes based on occupations)
*Brahmans
*Kshatriyas
*Vaisyas
*Sudras
*Harijans
-India today

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Exogamy

Marriage outside one's caste (is forbidden)

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Endogamy

Marriage within one's social category (is practiced)

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Brahmans

Priests and scholars

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Kshatriyas

Rulers, nobles and soldiers

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Vaisyas

Merchants, bankers and business people

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Sudras

Laborers and artisans

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Harijans

Group of outcasts considered unclean and given undesirable tasks

13

India today

-adopted 1950
-movement among castes is legal
-government assistance is given to lower caste members
-Harijans not discriminated against

14

Class system

-distribution of scarce resources and rewards is determined on the basis of achieved status
-Karl Marx
-max weber

15

Karl Marx

-conflict theorists
-bourgeoisie
-proletariat

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Bourgeoisie

People that own the means of production

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Proletariat

People who sell their labor in exchange for wages

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Max weber

-class consists of three factors
*property
*prestige
*power

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Social class

Grouping of similar people with similar levels of wealth, power and prestige
-wealth
-power
-prestige

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Wealth

The assets (value of everything a person owns) and income (money earned)

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Things about wealth

-held by small majority in US
-distributed unequally: top 1% earned over 21% of the national income

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Power

Ability to control the behavior of others, with or without consent

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Things to know about power

-force, possession of a skill or knowledge, social status, personal characteristics or custom/tradition

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Prestige

Respect, honor, recognition or courtesy an individual receives from others

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Things about prestige

-occupation, education, family background, area of residence, etc.
-occupation most important in US
-socioeconomic status (SES)

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Socioeconomic status (SES)

Calculated rating that combines social factors with income

27

Functionalist perspective

-stratification is necessary in the social structure
-certain roles need performed to maintain society
*higher rewards for these roles
*the more important the role and the more skill needed the higher the reward
-weaknesses of the theory

28

Weaknesses of functionalist theory

-fails to consider that not everyone has equal access to resources
-assumes that positions that offer higher rewards are more important

29

Conflict theory

-competition over scarce resources leads to inequality
-Marxist theorists
-American theorists
-weaknesses in theory

30

Marxist theorists

Social stratification is a result of class exploitation
-upper class exploits the lower class

31

American theorists

-mills, Horowitz and domhoff
-groups compete for scarce resources
-if a group gains power, it can shape public policy and opinion

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Weaknesses in conflict theory

-fails to recognize that unequal rewards are based somewhat on talent, skill and desire
-"find the right person for the job"

33

Determining social class

-social advancement
-most agreed upon systems

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Social advancement

Moving up through the ranks of the class system

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Most agreed upon classes

-upper
-upper middle
-lower middle
-working class
-working poor
-underclass

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Technique 1

Reputational method
-individuals in a community are asked to rank other members of the community based on knowledge of them
-suitable only for small communities where everyone knows everybody else
-findings can't be used to make conclusions about other communities

37

Technique 2

Subjective method
-individuals are asked to determine their own social rank
-most people don't like to put themselves in upper or lower class
-if choices to pick from are expanded, it offers a better representation

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Technique 3

Objective method
-define social class by income, occupation and education
-statistical basis makes it least biased
-problem: selection and measurement of social factors (what factors do you use?)

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Social classes in the United States (percentages)

Upper class-1%
Upper middle-14%
Lower middle-30%
Working class-30%
Working poor-22%
Underclass-3%

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Upper class

-old money
-new money
-typically comes with great power and influence

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Old money

Families that have been wealthy across generations
-most of wealth was inherited
-accustomed to privileged life

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New money

Acquired wealth through their own efforts rather than inheritance
-less prestigious
-looked down upon by old money

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Upper middle class

-high-income business people and professionals
-have college education and most have an advanced degree
-membership based on income rather than assets
-career oriented
-politically and socially active
*limited to community level

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Lower middle class

-hold white-collar jobs; don't involve manual labor
-requires less education than upper middle
-have a comfortable life but work hard to keep what they have achieved

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Working class

-some jobs involve manual labor; blue-collar jobs
-jobs carry less prestige even though they make as much, if not more, than lower middle
-blue collar examples
-pink collar examples
-have few financial reserves

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Blue collar examples

Factory, tradespeople, service workers

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Pink collar examples

Clerical, lower-level sales
*traditionally women hold these positions

48

Working poor

-lowest paying jobs
-often temporary and seasonal
*housecleaning, migrant farm work, day laboring
-rarely make a living wage
-many depends on government-support programs
-most are high school drop outs; lack education
-typically not involved politically

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Underclass

-have experienced unemployment and poverty over several generations
-usually have undesirable, low-paying jobs
-income is usually public assistance
-only 50% of children make it to a higher class

50

Social mobility

Movement between or within social class

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Things to know about social mobility

-horizontal mobility
-vertical mobility
*intragenerational mobility
*intergenerational mobility
-rarely move up more than one class

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Horizontal mobility

Movement within a social class

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Vertical mobility

Movement between social classes (can be upward or downward)
*intragenerational mobility
*intergenerational mobility

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Intragenerational mobility

Changes in social position during one's life

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Intergenerational mobility

Status differences between generations in the same family

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Structural causes of upward mobility

-advances in technology
-merchandising patterns
-increase in level of education

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Advances in technology

-jobs available change

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Merchandising patterns

-large increase in credit industry
-greater emphasis on insurance
-increased real-estate transactions
-exponential growth in personal services

59

Increase in level of education

-smaller number with no high school diploma
-larger number going to college

60

Structural causes of downward mobility

-personal factors
-changes in economy

61

Personal factors

-illness, divorce and retirement

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Changes in economy

-technology changes demand for labor; workers become unemployed
-economic recession

63

Defining poverty in U.S.

-13% of the population lives below the poverty line (2010); 14.5% (2013)
-poverty
-poverty level
-modern definition of poverty

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Poverty

Standard of living that is below the minimum level considered adequate by society

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Poverty level

Minimum annual income needed for a family to survive
-based on cost of providing an adequate diet
-adjusted every year
-modified for number of people in the family: (2015)

66

Poverty level 2015

-$11,770 for individuals
-$15,930 for a family of two
-$20,090 for a family of three
-$24,250 for a family of four
-$28,410 for a family of five
-$32,570 for a family of six
-$36,730 for a family of seven
-$40,890 for a family of eight

67

Modern definition of poverty

Based on providing the necessities of food, clothing, housing and "a little bit more"

68

Variations in American poverty

-children have largest percentage in poverty
*33%
*level is twice as high for African American and Hispanic
-women-57% of poor are women
*head about 1/2 of all poor families
*african American and Hispanic are more likely than Caucasian

69

Life changes

-likelihood that individuals have of sharing opportunities and benefits of society
-includes health, length of life, housing and education
-vary by social class; effects poor most

70

Vary by social class; effects poor most

-higher health concerns for the poor (diabetes, heart disease, pneumonia, etc.)
-have shorter life expectancies (average number of years a person can expect to live)
*inadequate nutrition
*less access to medical care
*environment they work and live in
*educational opportunities limited

71

Patterns of behavior

-divorce rates are higher among low-income families
-more likely to be arrested, convicted and sent to prison
-more likely to commit crimes that police pursue aggressively
*violent crime and crimes against property

72

Government responses to poverty

-37 million still live in poverty (2010); 46.5 million (2012)
-increased social security benefits and introduction of Medicare
*helped decrease number of elderly in poverty

73

Social welfare programs

-transfer payments
-government subsidies
-personal responsibility and work opportunity reconciliation act (1996)

74

Transfer payments

Redistribute money within society by funneling a percentage of tax revenues to groups that need public assistance
-examples: SSI and TANF

75

Government subsidies

Transfer of goods and services
-examples: food stamps, housing, school lunches and Medicaid

76

Personal responsibility and work opportunity reconciliation act (1996)

-turned some welfare programs over to states
-limited time they can receive payments