Social Stratification: a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy.
a. Social stratification is a trait of society, not simply a reflection of individual differences. Example: Is not that rich people like BMW more than poor people.
b. Social stratification carries over from generation to generation. Most people stay in the same social position as their parents.
c. Social stratification is universal but variable. Distance between individuals may very but it's universally applied.
d. Social stratification involves not just inequality but beliefs as well. It's not that we believe the pyramid is real but that we also view it as fair.
System of social stratification
2. Caste system—rigid/endogamy: Social stratification based on ascription or birth. Allows little change in position. Example: Born into royalty or a peasant.
b. South Africa—“Apartheid”, Greek
3. Social Class System—Open Mobility: Social stratification based on both birth and individual achievement. Permit much more social mobility.
Example: Born into a family that never went to college but you end up going that improves your standing.
a. Meritocracy: Social stratification based on personal merit or achievement. Does not exist anywhere in the world.
b. Status consistency: The degree of consistency in a person's social standing across various dimensions of social inequality.
Ideology—power behind stratification
Ideology: cultural beliefs that justify particular social arrangements, including patterns of inequality.
1. Structural functional theory
Davis-Moore Thesis: social stratification has beneficial consequences for the operation of a society (different jobs, some jobs important than others, rewarded more, motivate to seek)
2. Social-conflict theory: inequality
1) Karl Marx
Bourgeoisie/capitalists—farm owners: people who own and operate factories and other businesses in pursuit of profits.
Proletariat—workers: people who sell their labor for wages.
2) Max Weber: 3ps social economic status
3. Symbolic interaction
Conspicuous consumption: refer to buying and using products because of the “statement” they make about social position.
Stratification and technology
1. Hunting & gathering
Hunters and gatherers produce only what is necessary for day-to-day living.
2. Pastoral & Horticultural
Inequality in U.S.