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Social Class-Chapter 11.docx

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SOC 1100
Linda Gerber

Social Class in Canada- Chapter 11 Social stratification: a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy Social mobility: a change in position within the social hierarchy Caste System: social stratification based on ascription or birth Class system: social stratification based on both birth and individual achievement Meritocracy: social stratification based on personal merit Status consistency: the degree of consistency in a person’s social standing across various dimensions of social inequality. Wealth- the total amount of money and other assets, minus outstanding debts. Dimensions of Social Inequality Social Stratification involves many dimensions:  Income- Earnings from work and investments are unequal, with the richest 20% of families earning eight times as much as the poorest 20% of families.  Wealth- The total value of all assets minus debts, wealth is distributed more unequally than income, with the richest 20% of families holding 85% of the wealth  Power- income and wealth (assets such as stock or real estate) are important sources of power.  Occupational Prestige- Work generate not only income but also prestige. While collar jobs generally offer more income and prestige than blue- collar jobs. Many lower-prestige jobs are performed by women and visible minorities.  Schooling- schooling affects both occupation and income. Some categories of people have greater opportunities for schooling than others. Canadian Stratification: Merit and Caste  Although Canada is a meritocracy, social position in this country involves some caste elements.  Ancestry- Being born into a particular family affects a person’s opportunities for schooling, occupation, and income.  Race and Ethnicity- Families of European ancestry enjoy high social standing based on income and wealth. In contrast, Aboriginal and most visible minority families are disadvantaged.  Gender- on average, women have less income, wealth and occupational prestige than men. Social Classes in Canada  Defining social classes in Canada is difficult because of low status consistency and relatively high social mobility. But we can describe 4 general rankings: o The upper class- 3-5% of the population. Most members of the upper class inherited their wealth. The loew upper class work at high-paying jobs. o The middle class- 40-50% od the population. People in the upper middle class have significant wealth and almost all attend university; average middles have less prestige; do white collar work, and are likely to be high school graduates. o The working class- 30-35% of the population. People in the lower- middle class do blue collar work; their children are less likely to attend university o The lower class- 20% of the population. Most people in the lower class lack financial security due to low income; ma
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