5. Social Inequality.docx

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16 Mar 2012
Social Inequality
Variations in Society’s Ways of Differentiating
- Two perspectives on differentiation
o 1. Emphasizes class distinctions between dominant and subordinate
o 2. Emphasizes differences based on some scale
Stratification: a structured ranking of entire groups that perpetuates an unequal
distribution of economic rewards and power in a society
5 Aspects of Differentiation Melvilletumin
1. A social phenomenon which exists in all groups
2. Criteria for differentiation and the rewards allocated follow a pattern known to the
3. Some form has existed in all societies
4. Differentiation comes in a variety of forms
5. Position in the hierarchy has consequences and effects all aspects of one’s life
4 Things to look at in Evaluating Stratification Patterns
1. How is status determined? (Achieved/Ascribed)
2. How is the system justified/legitimized?
3. Is social mobility possible?
4. What is the potential for social change?
Variations in Social Differentiation Caste
Caste Slavery Class
Status: Ascribed Ascribed Achieved
Legitimized: Beliefs Legal System Ideology
Mobility: Closed Limited Open
Social Change: Very Difficult Difficult Possible
Theories of Inequalities
Karl Marx: Class
- Fundamental division in society is between 2 groups:
o 1. Those who own/control economic resources
o 2. Those who are excluded from ownership/control
- Economic system influences all other social institutions and relations
Max Weber: Wealth, Status and Access to Power
1. Wealth: influences access to social valued goods
2. Status: level of prestige based on position in society
3. Access to Power: through membership in influential groups and political sphere
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