2 social stratification

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social inequity
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the condition whereby people have unequal access to valued resources, services, and positions in society. NOT RANDOM. inequality is related to differing positions in a social structure
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social stratification
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means that inequality has been hardened or institutionalized, and there is a system of social relationships that determines who gets what and why -inequality is not random, but rather it is built into a structured system -some structural positions (which tend to be inhabited by particular groups) receive larger shares of valued social stuff
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3 main dimensions of stratification
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-race -class -gender
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Functionalism analysis of stratification
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-why do different positions in the social structure carry different degrees of prestige and reward? motivates people to preform important positions i.e. doctors -how do individuals get into those positions?
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how inequality is functional
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\”social inequality is thus an unconsciously evolved device by which societies ensure that the most important positions are conscientiously filled by the most qualified persons.\”
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two determinants of positional rank
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-differential functional importance -differential scarcity of personnel **how might a conflict theorist respond?
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visualizing stratification
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see slide!!
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wealth
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even more unequally distributed than income -wealth: real estate, corporate stock and bonds, other assets. -63.5% of the total net worth of all US families is owned by just 5% of those families
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4 basic principles of stratification/inequality
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1. social stratification is a trait of society (not simply a reflection of individual differences) 2. stratification is universal but variable 3. stratification involves not just inequality but beliefs 4. social stratification persists over generations
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1. Social stratification is a trait of society
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-not simply a reflection of individual difference -we tend to exaggerate the extent to which we control our own fate -\”people born into wealth families are more likely than children born into poverty to enjoy good health, achieve academically, succeed in life’s work, and live a long life.\”
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2. Stratification is universal but variable
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stratification is found everywhere but what is unequal and how equal it is vary from one society to another -i.e.: some societies are stratified by religion affiliations; some societies are less stratified by class, while others are stratified much more rigidly
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3. Stratification involves not just inequality but beliefs
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-any system of inequality not only gives some people more than others, it defines these arrangements as fair
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ideology
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a set of beliefs that explains and justifies some potential or existing social arrangement
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Legitimating rationale (example of ideology)
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widely accepted beliefs that something is fair and just- that the inequalities that exist in a particular society (differences in power, wealth, prestige, etc.) are essentially right and reasonable -i.e. in the US, individualism and the presumed association between work ethic and outcomes justify our stratification system
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4. Social stratification persists over generations
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parents pass their social position on to their children **there is some social mobility -people can move up or down, but most often move horizontally
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social mobility
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change in one’s position in the social hierarchy
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example of upward mobility
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post WWII boost
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example of downward mobility
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great depression
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*absolute mobility
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in an absolute way, where you are compared to your parents
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*relative mobility
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takes into account factors of society. where are you compared to society in relation to your parents -can be better off than parents but relative to society not upward
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class system
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social stratification based on both birth and individual achievement, generally on economic standing
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*Marx and Conflict Theory on social stratification
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-Capitalists (owners of the means of production) vs. the Proletariat (workers who sell their labor) -saw society as a struggle between 2 groups -where does someone stand in relation to means of production?
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Max Weber
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-author of \”Class, Status, Party\” -must also take into account degree of social status (prestige); amount of social honor -such research generally focuses on occupations
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occupational prestige status
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-supreme judge highest, dr, lawyer -lowest- shoe shiner -shows how highly people are regarded based on the kind of work they do. probably also related to the amount of money they make
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Status groups
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-tastes help distinguish them from people in other social positions -*members of status groups signal their rank by means of material and symbolic culture* -they seeks to distinguish themselves from others by displays of taste in fashion, food, music, literature, manners, travel, etc
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Class as lived experience
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class is how you think, feel, act, look, dress, talk, move, walk, what stores you shop at, restaurants you eat in, etc -research has shown that social class largely determines one’s tastes: the kind of music, entertainment, fashion, kind of vacations, and leisure activities they take part in
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SES
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-Socioeconomic status -sociologist usually measure stratification using SES -measures of SES look at people’s income, education, occupational prestige, and wealth and provide some overall assessment of their place in the stratification system

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