Sociology 1021E Lecture Notes - Social Stratification, Poverty In Canada, Social Mobility

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SOCIAL STRATIFICATION
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
hierarchy.
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.
IMPORTANT CONCEPTS
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
Social mobility
o Ability to change status up or down
Status inconsistency
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
a. Open
b. In time, you can move. Social mobility!
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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
SOCIAL STRATIFICATION
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:
a. Class-
b. Status-
c. Power-
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.
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Document Summary

Definition of stratification: it is a system by which a social ranks categories of people in a hierarchy. 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: it is a trait of society- not simply a reflection of individual differences, it persists over generations, it is universal, but variable, it involves both inequality and beliefs about inequality. Ascription based stratification system: people"s location in that system is determined at birth. Achievement-based stratification system: determined by achievements; can change. Social mobility: ability to change status up or down. Status inconsistency: the social gratification for a job is higher paid; two opposing factors within an occupation or status. Caste versus class systems: caste system- amount to social stratification based on ascriptions or birth. Closed: no social mobility; in marriage, employment, living conditions, etc, ie.

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