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Canada (162,457)
Sociology (152)
SOCI 100 (54)

Social Stratification & Inequality

3 Pages

Course Code
SOCI 100
Debra Pentecost

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Social Stratification and Inequality 01-14-2013 What is social stratification?  Social stratification – a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy. Four basic principles: 1. Social stratification is a trait of society, not simply a reflection of individual differences. o Social standing is NOT in terms of personal talent or effort o Exaggerates the extent to which we are in control of our destinies 2. Social stratification carries over from generation to generation. o Social mobility – a change in position within the hierarchy o Structural social mobility – a shift in the social position of large numbers of people due more to changes in society than to individual efforts 3. Social stratification is universal but variable. o What is unequal and how it is unequal vary from one society to another 4. Social stratification involves not just inequality but beliefs. o Defines the extent to which inequality is “fair” o Why people should be unequal – differs amongst societies Class and Caste System The Caste System  Social stratification based on birth or ascription  Little or no social mobility  Rigid categories  Closed system  People marry within their caste rankings – endogamous marriage  Shape members’ beliefs  Guides everyday life by keeping people in “their own kind” The Class System  Social stratification based on birth AND individual achievement  Open system  Socially mobile – those that are able to receive an education  Greater individuality  freedom in selecting marital partner Meritocracy o Social stratification based on personal merit o Expand equality of opportunity, but there is inequality of outcomes o Pure meritocracy – would blur lines of social categories o Caste : loyalty :: Meritocracy : Ability Status Consistency o The degree of consistency in a person’s social standing across various dimensions of social inequality o Caste – high status consistency o Class – less status consistency o Low status consistency = classes are less well defined than castes Ideology: The Power Behind Stratification  Ideology – cultural beliefs that justify particular social arrangements, including patterns of inequality  Plato: “every culture sees some type of inequality fair”  Marx: “culture and institutions combine to support a society’s elite, which is why established hierarchies last a long time”  Rise of new ideology, industrial cap
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