November 9 , 2011
- Titanic example, importance of classes and social status
o Emerges as the movie progresses
o 1 class young woman and working class man.
- Society where class holds little importance, American dream.
- What are the sources of social inequality?
- Can we lower the level of inequality?
- 3 theories of stratification
o high levels of inequality if we are going to get things done
o we can actually live in a society without classes
o under some circumstances, we can act to decrease the level of
inequality although its hard
- Functional theory of Stratification
o Davis and Moore
- Which occupation is more important?
o Davis and Moore said that judges are more important than janitors
o Why are certain occupations more important than others? Some
occupations contribute to society more than others do.
o Undergo sacrifices, university is important, although its expensive.
o How do you motivate people to undergo these sacrafices?
Promise them high income once they finish
Judge, engineer, lawyer
Davis and Moore said that if high levels of inequality didn’t
exist, no one would become motivated to become a judge.
What motivates people is the mighty dollar.
- Though experiment:
o The Attack of the Class-Specific Virus:
Case 1: two classes of people; Farmers and Doctors
One day, people in this society wake up and a killer virus
attacks and this virus has a very off property and kills only
doctors. What happens to the society?
Over time, people’s life expectancy starts to fall. People can’t be
People are still able to survive because farmers can still make
Case 2: only the farmers die, only doctors remain.
After the food is gone, all the doctors will die, society can’t
Therefore, farmers are more important.- Money for the church came form the peasantry
- 10% of the earnings of the peasants came from the church
- The aristocracy began to tax them
- Surplus labour of the peasantry
- They had to produce a certain surplus which was taxed by the aristocracy
- This surplus enabled the church to get what they have
- Fund institution of higher learning (northern Africa, later in Italy)
- Where did the lawyers etc, get the means to be what they are?
o From the sweat of peasants
o They aren’t more important because they wouldn’t even exist without
the working class.
o The occupations that are more and less important are unclear and
- Criticism of the Functional Theory of Stratification
o The question is which occupations are more important