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Lecture 16

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David Young

Fox 1 Lecture 16 SOCIOL 2S06 Monday November 11, 2014  A Structural Functionalist Theory of Stratification cont.: 2. Consensus on the Ranking of Positions - There is a consensus on occupational positions - According to Davis and Moore, this ranking is based upon 2 particular criteria o Ranking occupational positions based on: the `functional importance` of the occupation to society o The `differential scarcity` of people with the training and talent to fill that occupation  Some jobs require more training and skills than other jobs which is factored into the ranking - i.e. Medical Doctor o ranked highly o important for the functioning of society o few people have the necessary education and skill - i.e. Truck Driver o ranked much lower because most would see it as less functionally important o less functionally important for society o many people have the necessary skills 1. unequal rewards based on the ranking - differences in money and prestige - they argue that this is necessary to motivate people to fill those occupations that are most functionally important and that require the most training and talent - we have to offer more money to motivate those to take on those highly ranked job - i.e. medical doctors need to be given more money and recorded higher prestige than truck drivers because their job is more functional within society - this is an important aspect of their argument but they also argue that people get slotted into their occupations based on their efforts and ability o if people work hard and are really bright, they can be medical doctors o on the other hand, if they don’t want to work that hard or put in effort and if they are not that bright they can be truck drivers  this is how they are slotted into the occupational hierarchy 2. Consensus on the Perceived Justice of Unequal Rewards - Members of society generally agree that it is acceptable to have a hierarchy in which some occupations are given a lot more rewards than others - This is backed up in some ideas in certain countries o i.e. in Canada and U.S. there is a lot of value of meritocracy- you will find a place in society based on merit  focus on individual achievement  we suggest that there is equal opportunity- everyone has the same shot at a job but it is whether they take it and can do it or not A. Some Criticisms of the Theory 1. The inequality of women and minorities - As we have seen, the theory suggests that effort and ability determines a person’s place in the stratification system - If that is the case, that raises a number of questions o If you take courses on sociology of gender, you know that there is a lot of evidence that women and minorities are unfortunately slotted into a lower end of the occupation hierarchy o Why is that? o The answer with this theory is that they lack ability and effort- they haven’t tried and don’t have a lot of skill but clearly this is not the case, what is going on is structured inequality- they are disadvantaged within society 2. The functional importance of certain jobs - This theory cannot explain why certain jobs are highly rewarded than others
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