1) What is social stratification?
2) Theoretical Perspectives of Stratification
3) Inequality in Canada
4) Social Classes in Canada
5) Social Mobility in Canada
6) Poverty in Canada
1) WHAT IS SOCIAL STRATIFICATION?
DEFINITION OF STRATIFICATION: It is a system by which a social ranks categories of people in a
Refers to way in which society is organized in layers or strata ; pyramid shaped because there
are usually more people at the bottom than the top!
It involves 4 basic principles:
a) It is a trait of society- not simply a reflection of individual differences.
b) It persists over generations
c)It is universal, but variable
d) It involves both inequality and beliefs about inequality.
ascription based stratification system
o people’s location in that system is determined at birth.
Achievement-based stratification system
o Determined by achievements; can change
o Ability to change status up or down
o The social gratification for a job is higher paid; two opposing factors within an
occupation or status
CASTE VERSUS CLASS SYSTEMS
a) CASTE SYSTEM- amount to social stratification based on ascriptions or birth. Closed
a. No social mobility; in marriage, employment, living conditions, etc
b. Ie. In India
b) CLASS SYSTEM- social stratification based on both birth and individual achievements/ merit
b. In time, you can move. Social mobility! 2
c) MERITOCRACY- With the rise of industrial capitalism = the rise of the belief in meritocracy, or the
notion that success is based on merit. This defines wealth and prestige as prises to be won by
those who exert the most effort in society.
a. Based ENTIRELY on your own achievements
2) HOW IS SOCIAL STRATIFICATION EXPLAINED? THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON
a) STRUCTURAL FUNCTIONALISM
- Social stratification is a vital part of the operation of society. It serves a positive function in the
overall maintenance of society.
b) CONFLICT PERSPECTIVE
CAPITALISM = INEQUALITY
Social stratification is rooted in people’s relationship to the means of production in society.
WHY HAS REVOLUTION FAILED TO OCCUR?
c) WEBER- CLASS, STATUS AND POWER
Weber- agrees with Marx that social stratification causes class conflict, but he thought that the two-
class model envisioned by Marx was too simplistic. Instead he thought that social stratification
stemmed from interplay between three forms of inequality:
SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS- a composite ranking based on various dimensions of inequality.
3) INEQUALITY IN CANADA
CANADIAN SOCIETY- is highly stratified.
- Many people think of Canada as a middle class society, but that is not the case. 3
A) INCOME, WEALTH AND POWER
b) OCCUPATIONAL PRESTIGE
- Beyond generating income, the type of work one performs is also important in terms of generating
High prestige jobs:
Low prestige jobs:
2001- 28% if those aged 30-34 had no education beyond high school and 50% had received a
certificate, diploma or degree from a college or university
Better jobs tend to require more schooling
D) RACE/ETHNICITY AND GENDER
The families that we are born into play a huge role in our placement in the social stratification
hierarchy-at least half of the riches individuals in the US derived most of their fortunes from
Inherited poverty also shapes the future of others.
Race and ethnicity are also linked to one’s social position in Canada
2000- the average income was $43,298, but visible minorities averaged at $37,597 (21 percent less).
Aboriginal income is 34% less than the national average. Despite high levels of education, visible
minorities have lower income
On average, women make less money, have less prestige than men
4) SOCIAL CLASSES IN CANADA
1) UPPER CLASS
Less than one percent of the population
Membership is always the result of birth (old money)
Exclusive neighbourhoods, private schools, volunteer organizations
b) LOWER UPPERS
They are the working rich. Their primary source of incomes earnings rather than inheritance
“New rich” do not gain access into the social affairs of the “old” rich
2) MIDDLE CLASS
40-45% of the