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Flashcards in Social Stratification Deck (31)
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open system

- Position influenced by achieved status
- Social mobility is possible
- Ex. US, Canada


closed system

- Position influenced by ascribed status
- Social mobility is limited
- Ex. US in 1850's, India's caste system


systems of social stratification

- the way in which valued resources (ie. Wealth, power, prestige) are distributed and transmitted from one generation to the next
- institutionalized inequality
- ex. slavery and castes (closed); social class (open)


social position

where you stand compared to others


Karl Marx's views on social position

can be determined by 2 classes (didn't foresee the middle class): bourgeoisie and proletariat



- Owns the means of production
- Capital
- Factory owners
- "upper class"



- No access to means of production
- Labour
- Factory workers
- "lower class"


Max Weber's views on social position

- can be determined by 3 elements: class, status, and power
- If you have all 3 -> status consistency, if you don't -> status inconsistency


class vs. status vs. power

- Class: wealth and income
- Status: prestige or lifestyle
- Power: impose own will despite opposition


socioeconomic status

- most popular measure of social position today
- Education + Income + Occupational status
- StatsCan asks people to rank various jobs to determine which ones are prestigious (NOC)


social differentiation

Social characteristics (differences, identities, and roles) are used to differentiate people and divide them into different categories, which have implications for social inequality


equality of opportunity vs. equality of condition

- equality of opportunity: everyone has equal chance at success (dominant ideology in Canada)
- equality of condition: everyone has similar level of wealth, status, and power



individual merit determines social standing


endogamous vs. exogamous marriage

- endogamous: marrying within your own caste/social standing
- exogamous: marrying outside your own caste/social standing


class system

- fairly open system (class hierarchy itself remains stable, but people move up and down using education, marriage, etc.)
- based on social factors and individual achievement
- has structural inequality (built into organization of the economy)


petite bourgeoisie

- employ few workers but still rely on their own labour to survive
- ex. farmers, shopkeepers, contractors



- chronically unemployed or irregularly employed
- aka "reserve army of labour" -> potential labourers who are a surplus to the needs of production at a particular time



law stating that all property will be inherited by the first-born son


standard of living

- the level of wealth available to acquire the material necessities and comforts to maintain its lifestyle
- based on factors such as income, employment, class, poverty rates, and affordability of housing
- Canada's standard of living has risen over the last century, but a very small % of population has highest standard of living -> distribution of wealth is uneven


Weber's definition of class

- “life chances,” or opportunities to acquire rewards
- based on possession of property, goods, or opportunities for income
- defined with respect to markets rather than the process of production -> marketability of one’s products/skills determines life chances


3 (plus 1) components of social class

1. group’s position in the occupational structure
2. group’s position in the authority structure (i.e., who has authority over whom)
3. group’s position in the property structure (i.e., ownership or non-ownership of capital)
- also has subjective component (how people perceive their place in class hierarchy)


living wage

the amount needed to meet a family’s basic needs and enable them to participate in community life


social mobility

- ability to change positions within a social stratification system
- high degree of mobility (up or down) suggests that system is open


upward vs. downward mobility

- upward: increase in social class (ie. through marriage, education)
- downward: decrease in social class (ie. through divorce, job loss)


intergenerational vs. intragenerational mobility

- intergenerational: different social classes between different generations of a family (ie. parents and kids)
- intragenerational: different social classes between different family members in the same generation (ie. siblings)


structural mobility

- when societal changes enable a whole group of people to move up or down the social class ladder
- ex. in 20th century, industrialization expanded the Canadian economy, leading to higher standard of living and upward structural mobility


class traits/class markers

- typical behaviours, customs, and norms that define each class
- indicate level of exposure a person has to a wide range of cultures
- indicate the amount of resources a person has to spend on items like hobbies, vacations, and leisure activities


Davis-Moore thesis

- the greater the functional importance of a social role, the greater must be the reward
- social stratification represents the inherently unequal value of different work -> certain tasks are more valuable, so qualified people who do them must be rewarded more


proletarianization of the middle class

in terms of income, property, control over working conditions, and overall life chances, the middle class is becoming more and more indistinguishable from the wage-earning working class


cultural capital

- cultural “assets” such as education and taste are accumulated and passed down between generations in the same manner as financial capital or wealth
- this marks individuals from an early age by things like knowing how to wear a suit or having an educated manner of speaking
- high cultural capital = high privilege (and a way to reproduce this privilege in future generations)