Chapter 13: Social Inequality and Stratification
Inequality: The extent to which culturally valued material and social rewards are allocated
disproportionately to individuals, families, and other groups
Rise of Inequality:
Social differentiation and stratification inevitably accompanies the emergence of a productive economy
based on agriculture:
-professions and trade specializations
At the very bottom of the pyramid are the mass of peasants, who produce for the benefit of a clerical,
military, and political elite.
Elman Service and Morton Fried
E.Service : -------Band--------tribe---------Chiefdom----------State-
M.Fried: -------Egalitarian -------ranked--------Stratification-----
There is a rough correspondence between the types of political organization, as schematized by Elman
Service, and the degree of equality and inequality, as devised by Morton Fried. Keep in mind: these are ideal-types, and therefore simplify reality, which tends to be more complex. We
are, in reality, always dealing with continua, and not clear-cut categories. Hence the horizontal arrows.
-Brahmins (priests and scholars)
- Kshatriyas (nobles and warriors)
- Vaishas (merchants and artisans)
- Shudras (farmers, craftspeople and labourers)
Untouchables (out-castes allocated menial work: street sweepers, latrine cleaners, laundresses,
tanners, skinners, gravediggers, etc.). Call themselves Dalits, which means ‘oppressed’.
Indian Caste system:
-A varna is a system of economic cooperation between members of a series of endogamous and
occupationally-specialized groups, organized at the local level as “jatis”…
-Solidarity is enhanced by close physical proximity and interaction, balanced by exaggerated sense of
social distance maintained by pollution beliefs and practices.
A varna is subdivided into