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SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - Social Stratification, Underconsumption, Forego

Course Code
Robert Brym

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Nov. 17/2010
Social Stratification I
Seemingly something about the structure of society that leads to inequality
Under some circumstances, class differences can be insignificant
Social Stratification: Layering of society into different classes of people
Davis & Moore
Suggest that some jobs are more important than others (judge is more important
than a janitor because a judge contributes more to society than a janitor does; in order
to become a judge; one must go through a great deal of training & sacrifice a lot pay a
lot of money, forego income & pleasure)
To motivate people to sacrifice a lot to become judges, etc., you offer them more
High level of inequality is necessary in society, if you dont offer people rewards
for certain jobs than no one will being to do these important jobs, thus society will not
Social stratification has beneficial consequences; w/o it the most talented people
would not have the incentive to become doctors, lawyers, etc.
Attack of the Class-Specific Killer Virus
For ex. There is a virus that kills all the doctors, & the farmers survive
The society is thus less well off w/o doctors to treat them (cant become doctors
On the other hand, if the virus kills off all of the farmers, & the doctors dont
become farmers then they will starve
Suggests that the society cannot survive w/o farmers, however they can survive
w/o doctors but not in such an elevated state
One class is more important than the other, but its not the class that you think
(not the doctors)
None of the esteemed jobs that exist today would be possible w/o the jobs that
were done by the less important classes
What is an important job?
Through the ages, governments & religious authorities used taxes & tides; then
they would use force to extract items of value from the broad population
The surpluses (tax, tides) extracted from the peasants were used to create
universities, sustain the aristocracy, the church, etc
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