Social Class and Social Stratification

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Why is the US considered a \”High Income Nation?\”
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The United States has 1. a highly industrialized economy 2. technologically advanced industrial, administrative, and service occupations. 3. it has a relatively high level of national income. (per person)
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What are some other high income nations?
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Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the European Nations.
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What does \”status\” mean?
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A socially defined position in a group or society.
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What is social differentiation?
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The process in which different statuses develop in any group, or society.
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What is social stratification?
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How an individual is ranked based on their net worth and value of their possessions. (lower, upper, middle)
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Is social stratification fixed?
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Yes, a person is normally born (ascribed) into their status, and it is arranged by a hierarchy.
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What characteristics do all stratified systems share?
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Rankings are applied to categories of people who share common characteristics, such as a persons life experiences and opportunities depend heavily on how they are ranked. Ranks change very slowly over time.
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What are the four systems of stratification?
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1. Slave system 2. Caste system 3. Estate system 4. Class system
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Slave System
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Free people or legal property of others. This is the most extreme form of inequality. *
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Caste System
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Ascribed status determined by one’s family. This system is for life, or is permanent. Movement and marriage between classes is prohibited.
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Estate System
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Social Hierarchy is centered on the monopoly (one gov) and ownership of land by elites.
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Class System
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(WHAT WE ARE) Positions are held relative to societies economic, social, cultural and political resources.
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What is social mobility?
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Movement from one social class to another.
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What are the two types of social mobility?
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1. Intergenerational 2. Intragenerational
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Intergenerational Mobility
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Movement from social classes from one generation to the next.
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Intragenerational Mobility
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Movement that occurs over one’s entire lifetime.
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What two systems are involved with social mobility?
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1. Open system 2. Closed system
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Open System
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Movement is allowed. Ample opportunities.
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Closed System
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Movement is not allowed. Little or no opportunities.
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Horizontal Mobility
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Movement WITHIN a social group.
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Vertical Mobility
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Movement UP or DOWNWARD.
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Structural Mobility
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Very large scale movements up or down BETWEEN entire stratifications and not just classes.
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What is social class?
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The position a group holds relative to their societies resources. Social class provides access and disadvantages to individuals based on their group.
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What four reasons make a class system different?
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1. Class systems are fluid. 2. Class systems are in some part achieved. 3. Class is economically based. 4. Class systems are large scale and impersonal.
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What does it mean for a class system to be fluid?
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They are not established by legal or religious provisions. The boundaries are never clear cut, and there are no formal restrictions such as intermarriage between classes.
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What does it mean for a class system to be in some part achieved?
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The class is not normally assigned at birth, therefore mobility can occur.
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What does it mean for class to be economically based?
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Groups are based off of economic material resources, rather than individual worth.
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What is Classism?
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How the rich and wealthy perceive the poor. A form of \”racism\” between classes.
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What is Socioeconomic Status?
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A persons rank is based on income, occupational prestige (worth), level of education and neighborhood.
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What five categories determine social class ranking?
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1. Income 2. Wealth 3. Prestige 4. Power 5. Authority
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Income
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An individuals wages, salaries, investments, government aid, income transfers, or dividends.
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Wealth
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An individuals TOTAL value of assets. Including property, stock, bonds, insurances, real estate, etc.
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Prestige
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Evaluating individuals by the work they do. How they’re occupation is valued. (Which job is worth more, a CEO or a Janitor?)
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Power
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Those with more wealth have more \”power\” in society. These people hold powerful positions in political, business, and military areas as well.
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Authority
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The power people see as \”legitimate\” rather than \”coercive.\” This authority has wide spread social power because it is obeyed by people who believe those who exercise it really work.
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What are the FIVE social classes here in the US?
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1. Upper Class 2. Upper-Middle Class 3. Lower-Middle Class 4. Working Class 5. Lower Class
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Upper Class splits into what two other classes?
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Upper-Upper and Lower-Upper.
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Upper-Upper Class
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Less than 1% of the population. $295k or more. Net worth in the millions and billions. (Richest 400 people were worth 1.37 trillion; 54 billion.) Household wealth is not their only resource. Almost always ASCRIBED. Called \”bluebloods,\” \”blue book,\” or the \”social Register.\” Breaks up into Old money, New money, and Ordinary community millionaires. Live in expensive neighborhoods Use private-exclusive banks Children attend private schools/ Ivy League colleges Often highly educated, cultured and influential. Women often volunteer for charity work.
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Old Money
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Ascribed meaning they can trace their family history. Wealth goes back at least one century. Listed in Social Registry. Homogenous Attended colleges, resorts, social clubs, etc. Tend to marry other Upper-Uppers.
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New Money
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First generation rich. 70% of these people are millionaires. Most of their wealth is in stocks and bonds they own. EX: Bill Gates, Oprah and The Waltons (own walmart) ACHIEVED not typically ascribed.
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Ordinary Community Millionaries
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$250k annually Lottery winners, bank owners, prominent government officials, sports celebrities, media celebrities, CEO’s etc. Have no elite family background. **
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Upper Class
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Less than 5% of the population. Account for more than 50% of US income and dominates corporate america. Have disproportional influence over politics, education, and religion. Strong sense of solidarity. Children attend prep schools and Ivy League Colleges. EX: Business owners, CEO’s, Government officials etc.
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Lower Upper Class
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3-4% of population. $185K Called the \”working rich\” aka they work for their wealth they don’t inherit it. Live in expensive neighborhoods Own vacation homes Children attend private schools / good colleges EX: CEO’s and college presidents.
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Upper Middle Class
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20% of population. Between $170k and $300K Have advanced college degrees (above bachelor) Live in elegant homes (may own second home) Often belong to country clubs Active in local politics and community affairs. Own several cars Have investments 2/3 of children graduate college Maintain high prestige occupations such as: EX: Engineers, accountants, attorneys, physicians, stock brokers, college professors, white-collar management, and medium sized business owners.
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Lower Middle Class
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40% of population. Between $49K and $170K Some college degrees. Live in most homes, (rent but don’t own) \”Plays it safe\” before, but now they try to \”Keep up with the Jones.\” Account for 40% of rise in debt. Parent’s are members of PTA Drive SUV’s Children play non-school related sports. Less prestigious occupations EX: Teachers, bank employees, sales people, nurses, legal secretary, medical secretary, high blue collar jobs, electricians, carpenters, non-retail sales, hair stylist, fire fighters and police.
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Working Class
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20% of population Between $29,257 and $49,543 Most vulnerable to lay offs Jobs usually don’t offer benefits or pensions. Have financial problems caused by unemployment and illness. Few have more than high school education. Lower level of literacy. Have little or NO wealth. 1/2 of these people own homes. 1/3 of children attend college. Jobs such as EX: truck drivers, machine operators, factory operators, food and day care workers, cashiers, maids, clerical and retail sales.
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Lower/Under Class (POOR)
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15% of population. $25K for Lower class. $15k for Under class. Usually work at least 27 weeks per year. Called the \”working poor\” 4% below poverty line in 2011. 1/2 complete high school. 1/4 go to college. 40% own their homes. Receive a total of 3.6% of the US income. Owe more in debt than they make. Lower 5% makes less than $7500. Work 2-3 minimum wage jobs with no benefits. Occupations for Lower: Service workers, lowest paid manual retail. Occupations for Under: Part time and seasonal jobs.
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What are some myths about poor people?
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\”Poor are Lazy\” \”People on Welfare have it Good\” \”Welfare is Draining us\” \”Welfare turns people into Lazy, Dependent Deadbeats.\”
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Who are the poor?
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Families headed by females have a greater probability of being poor. The US has highest rate of children living in poverty. Poverty rate is higher outside rural areas than inside urban areas. The South has the highest regional poverty rate of 27.4% Poverty rates vary by age, race and gender.
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Poverty and Age (over 65)
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8.7% or 3.5 million
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Poverty and Age (under 18)
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21.9% or 15.7 million
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Poverty and age (18-24)
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18.2% or 12 million
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Poverty and Race/Ethnicity
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African American- 27.6% or 10.9 million Hispanic- 25.3% or 13.2 million Caucasian- 9.8% or 19.2 million Asian- 12.3% or 2 million
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Poverty, Health and Nutrition
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The US has some of the BEST high tech medical facilities in the world. 1/2 of people below the poverty line receive medicaid. About 30% have no health insurance. Lack of proper medical and dental insurance can be fatal. Good nutrition is expensive, the poor are forced to buy cheap unhealthy foods. 4 million children under 12 go hungry during some part of the year.
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Deamonte Driver
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The 12 year old boy who died because of a tooth ache his mother could not get fixed because she was unable to find a dentist that accepted medicaid.
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Education of the Poor
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Lower the income, lower level of education. Children of poor families experience discrimination. Teachers have different expectations for students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. The poor are less likely to have gratifying school experiences.
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Homelessness
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A person lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime resident or their primary residence is one of the following: a temporary place for people about to be institutionalized. any place not meant for regular sleeping by humans (the street), a supervised temporary shelter.
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Reasons for Homelessness
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Lack of affordable housing. (no more than 30% of income) Increasing number of foreclosures. Decreasing number of low income housing unit. 12 million americans use more than 50% of salaries for housing. Only 1/3 of low income workers receive housing assistance, and then must wait 35 months to get. Increasing poverty rates.
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Other MAJOR causes for Homelessness
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1. Mental Illness 2. Veterans (middle aged, mostly men) 3. Domestic Violence (typically battered women) 4. Lack of affordable Health Care (3 times more likely to become ill) 5. Addiction (drugs and alcohol) 6. Family problems (run aways, kicked out, foster, etc) 7. The \”Ghetto\” (substandard homes)
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Homelessness and American Girls Doll: Gwen Thompson
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Father left the family and Mother lost her job and now she is homeless. Is it appropriate? Can children at young ages understand and identify poverty?
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\”I am your Welfare reform\” by Annie Downey
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A woman of two children with different fathers, one father makes over 2 grand a month where the other owns blue-chip stock in Disney, AT&T and Campbells. She has never married either. She slices meat for $5.50 an hour, nine hours a day, five days a week. On welfare she went from teen mom to woman with education; she published two magazines, became an editor and a teacher. She writes prose. She received welfare along with Section 8 Housing and Reach Up. She is one of 12 million who are 1% of the federal budget. She is one of the 26% of AFDC recipients who are mothers, and of the 36.6% who are white. She is one of the 68% of teen mothers who were sexually abused. She is $600 a month below the poverty level for a family of 3.
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\”Nickel and Dimed\” Barbara Ehrenreich
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Woman who leaves her normal life to go live the life of the working poor. Finds an apartment she shares with one roommate for $500. Works two jobs, waitressing and housekeeping. QUITS and can’t do it ultimately when ten person table is rude.
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\”The Saints and The Roughnecks\” William Chambliss
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The saints were wealthier, yet got in trouble with the law more, for drinking heavily, driving drunk, vandalizing and pranking. The Roughnecks were less wealthy and got in trouble for theft, drinking and fighting. Whereas the saints never fought. 6 saints were on an athletic team whereas 2 roughnecks were. Ron the Roughneck was injured when trying to rob a gas station Roughnecks were passed in school because the teachers did not want to teach them again.

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