chapter 10.odt

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10 Apr 2012
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Chapter 10: Social Stratification
Textbook Notes
examining social inequality in Canada
Social stratification: a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy, is
based on four basic principles:
1. social stratification is a trait of society, not simply a reflection of individual differences:
neither the poor or the rich created social stratification, yet this system shapes the lives of us
2. social stratification carries over from generation to generation: some individuals, especially
in high-income societies, do experience social mobility: a change in position within the social
hierarchy stratification is universal but variable: what is unequal and how unequal it is, varies
from one society to another
4. social stratification involves not just inequality but beliefs as well: it gives some people
more than others, and defines this as equal.
Caste and class systems:
caste system: social stratification based on ascription, or birth
pure caste system is closed because birth alone determines a person's entire future,
allowing little or no social mobility based on individual effort.
Caste systems are typical of agrarian societies
class system: social stratification based on both birth and individual achievement
meritocracy: refers to social stratification based on personal merit
status consistency: is the degree of consistency in a person's social standing across various
dimensions of social inequality
ideology: cultural beliefs that justify particular social arrangements, including patterns of
According to Plato, every culture considers some type of inequality fair.
Marx criticized capitalist societies for defending wealth and power in the hands of a few as “a law
of the marketplace.”
Davis-Moore thesis: social stratification has beneficial consequences for the operation of a
Socioeconomic status: to refer to a composite ranking based on various dimensions of social
conspicuous consumption: to refer to buying and using products because of the “statements” they
make about social position.
Lecture Notes:
The titanic e.g the manifest of the ship, the more money you have, the more higher class you are
determined by income – dependent upon occupation – dependent upon education
Class – Occupation, Education, Income
females, facing inequality over men
membership in certain categories affect those for life. e.g being female, or a member of a
lower social class
struggle and conflicts, are what people do to stop the suffering it is associated with
women are more likely to be saved by men in society
the titanic replicated the society
norm: women and children first.
Women and children first, is not a legal but a social norm
it regulates the conduct of the rich and powerful men
the richer you are, the more valuable you are, and the more valuable you are, the more entitled
you are to get onto the lifeboat.
Stratification based on the titanic
stratification is a property of society, the systems exist in society
stratification: a system in which society ranks groups of people
they are ranked high to low in terms of prestige, power, income, goals, etc
they are universal, exist in all societies
inequalities exists in all societies, but it is variable, more in some, less in others
less inequality in Canada and the US
Sharing – Hunter/Gatherers
they shared everything
lived a peaceful life
created a surplus, which lead to inequalities
very few people had power over the many, that were powerless
they had power over the surplus
Marx wanted a universal egalitarian society
it didn't work out
stratification associated with belief, inequality plus beliefs
if the beliefs support the ones at the top and the ones at the bottom, come into conflict with them,
that will create ideological/ideoligies
inter-generation stratification: passed on from one generation to another
rich people have rich sons, who have rich children
social mobility: the movement from one social class to another
upper: lower to higher class
downward: higher to a lower class
Class groupings: categorizing people who have the same income and share a similar way of life
they are social classes
different socio-economic groups
e.g in India, there is a class system, e.g the Brahmins are at the top
birth determines if you are a Brahmin, or a member of a lower class
it cannot be changed during your lifetime
varies with ethnicity
ethnicity with crime
can lead to racism
people pick different parts to this
take into account the parents social class position and education
Structuralist/Functionalist – Davis/Moore
Conflict – Marx/Weber
Class (economic)
Status (prestige)