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SOCA01H3 (591)
Lecture 6

week 6 - stratification.doc

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Malcolm Mac Kinnon

Stratification Social stratification – refers to persistent patterns of social inequality in society: how wealth, power & prestige are socially distributed and transmitted from one generation to the next - exists in all societies Complexity & Inequality - Some sociologists say that politics is primarily responsible for equality - Or that social complexity is most significant - Occupational complexity – - In hunter-gatherer societies, division of labour is men hunt & women gather – they share everything - In Inuit culture, the old ppl walk out in the blizzard and don’t come back b/c they feel like they’re a burden to society - The legitimacy argument – occupations try to legitimize what they make, using excuses such as skill, time, dangers Mosca on the Inevitability of Inequality - Mao tried to impose equality and the death toll was 40 million - His book “the ruling class” - Inequality is inevitable because societies can’t exist w/o politics - Politics – form of decision making & coordination - Societies are organized and politics does the organizing - Inequality must exist - Anarchism – political ideas that is suspicious of power & authority - Believe that inequality is the source of all social problems - In favour of equality - First you have political organization, then you have inequalities of power - When power differences are inevitable, material & inequality is inevitable - if you have more power, you use it to your advantage - ppl say Mosca is too pessimistic, synic - Michels (conflict & elite theorist) - Iron law of oligarchy - it doesn’t matter what any political leader promises you, once they get into power, they end up being like everybody else b/c of the nature of power – it corrupts - Inequalities of power encourage corruption - Stratification – process by which categories of ppl are ranked by socially differentiated characteristics Class Structure - class is a group of ppl who have about the same access to economic resources - class structure refers to a relatively stable & prominent hierarchy of classes - the existence of classes has been questioned recently because some scholars believe that material inequalities are decreasing The big 3 of social stratification - wealth, prestige & power - wealth – holdings in liquid & non-liquid asset - prestige – your social standing in society - power – if you can determine the fate of other ppl, then you have power - usually all 3 go together, however there are a few exceptions (ex. John Gotti had wealth & power but no prestige) Occupational Prestige in Canada 1) Supreme court judge 2) Professions: physicians, lawyers, teachers, engineers, technicians, etc 3) White collar: successful entrepreneurs, executive, managerial, supervisory 4) Skilled trades: electricians, carpenters, mechanics, etc 5) Semi-skilled: machine operat
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