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Encyclopedia > Social stratification

social stratification is the division of people of a particular society on the basis if occupation, income, power, prestige, authority, status, dignity, education, class, castle, gender, race and ethnicity Image File history File links Broom_icon. ...


In sociology, social stratification is the hierarchical arrangement of social classes, castes and strata within a society. While these hierarchies are not universal to all societies, they are the norm among state-level cultures (as distinguished from hunter-gatherers or other social arrangements). Sociology (from Latin: socius, companion; and the suffix -ology, the study of, from Greek λόγος, lógos, knowledge) is an academic and applied discipline that studies society and human social interaction. ... A hierarchy (in Greek: , derived from — hieros, sacred, and — arkho, rule) is a system of ranking and organizing things or people, where each element of the system (except for the top element) is subordinate to a single other element. ... Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. ... Caste systems are traditional, hereditary systems of social restriction and social stratification, enforced by law or common practice, based on endogamy, occupation, economic status, race, ethnicity, etc. ... Young people interacting within an ethnically diverse society. ... In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ...

Contents

Critical overview

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Social stratification is regarded quite differently by the principal perspectives of sociology. Proponents of structural-functional analysis suggest that since social stratification exists in most state societies, a hierarchy must therefore be beneficial in helping to stabilize their existence. Talcott Parsons, an American sociologist, indicated that stability and social order is achieved by a universal value consensus. Functionalists indicate that stratification exists solely to satisfy the functional prerequisites necassary for functional proficiency in any society. Conflict theorists consider the inaccessibility of resources and lack of social mobility in many stratified societies. They conclude, often working from the theories of Karl Marx, that stratification means that working class people are not likely to advance socioeconomically, while the wealthy may continue to exploit the proletariat generation after generation. Marx identified that the social classes are stratified based on their connection to the means of production and thus the ruling class, bourgoisie, and working class, proletariats, maintain their social positions by maintaining their relationship with the means of production. This maintenance of status quo is achieved by various methods of social control employed by the bourgeoisie within many aspects of social life, eg.ideologies of submission promoted through the institution of religion. However, some conflict theorists, mainly Max Weber and followers of his weberian perspective, also critique Marx's view and point out that social stratification is not purely based on economic inequalities but is equally shaped by status and power differentials. They proceed to examine the basis and structure of stratification in society along all of the three axes. On these bases Weber has indicated the failure on the part of Marx to account for the presence of a middle class and the structural fractioning of strata that exists in every social class society. Weber therefore moved on to indicate the presences of four social classes from which he refers to as the propertied upper class, the property-less white colour workers, the petty bourgeoisie, and the working class. Another important factor to note is found in the work of Francois Adle who stated that, "The advancement [of] technology has changed the structure of mobility completely" Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Shortcut: WP:NPOVD Articles that have been linked to this page are the subject of an NPOV dispute (NPOV stands for Neutral Point Of View; see below). ... In the social sciences, specifically sociology and sociocultural anthropology, functionalism (also called functional analysis) is a sociological paradigm that originally attempted to explain social institutions as collective means to fill individual biological needs. ... Talcott Parsons Talcott Parsons (December 13, 1902–May 8, 1979) was for many years the best-known sociologist in the United States, and indeed one of the best-known in the world. ... In sociology, conflict theory states that the society or organization functions so that each individual participant and its groups struggle to maximize their benefits, which inevitably contributes to social change such as changes in politics and revolutions. ... Social mobility or intergenerational mobility is the degree to which, in a given society, an individuals social status can change throughout the course of his or her life, or the degree to which that individuals offspring and subsequent generations move up and down the class system. ... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a 19th century philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... The term working class is used to denote a social class. ... Upper class refers to the group of people at the top of a social hierarchy. ... The term exploitation may carry two distinct meanings: The act of utilizing something for any purpose. ... Means of production (abbreviated MoP; German: Produktionsmittel), also called means of labour are the materials, tools and other instruments used by workers to make products. ... For the politician, see Max Weber (politician). ...


Non-stratified societies

Anthropologists have confirmed that social stratification is not universal as once thought[citation needed]. Non-stratified egalitarian societies exist which have little or no concept of social hierarchy, political or economic status, class, or even permanent leadership. Also known as acephalous (or "headless") societies, the best examples of egalitarian cultures all have hunter-gatherer economies, although not all hunter-gatherers can be considered egalitarian. Anthropology (from Greek: ἀνθρωπος, anthropos, human being; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of humanity. ... Egalitarianism is the moral doctrine that equality ought to prevail among some group along some dimension. ... Anthropologists use the term Acephalous (Greek for headless) society to refer to societies which lack political leaders or hierarchies. ... In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ...


Kinship-orientation

Anthropologists identify egalitarian cultures as "Kinship-oriented," because they value social harmony more than wealth or status. These are contrasted with Economically-oriented cultures (including States) in which status is prized, and stratification, competition, and conflict are common. Kinship-oriented cultures actively work to prevent social hierarchies from developing which could lead to conflict and instability. They do this typically through a process of reciprocal altruism. Kinship is the most basic principle of organizing individuals into social groups, roles, and categories. ... A state is a political association with effective dominion over a geographic area. ... Social hierarchy, a multi-tiered pyramid-like social or functional structure having an apex as the centralization of power. ... In evolutionary biology, reciprocal altruism is a form of altruism in which one organism provides a benefit to another in the expectation of future reciprocation. ...


A good example is given by Richard Borshay Lee's [1] account of the !Kung San, who practice "insulting the meat." Whenever a hunter makes a kill, he is ceaselessly teased and ridiculed (in a friendly, joking fashion) to prevent him from becoming too proud or egotistical. The meat itself is then distributed evenly among the entire social group, rather than kept by the hunter. The level of teasing is proportional to the size of the kill--Lee found this out the hard way when he purchased an entire cow as a gift for the group he was living with, and was teased for weeks afterward about it (since obtaining that much meat could be interpreted as showing off). Richard Borshay Lee is an anthropologist who has studied at the University of Toronto and Berkeleys University of California, where he received a Ph. ... Khoisan (increasingly commonly spelled Khoesan or Khoe-San) is the name for two major ethnic groups of southern Africa. ...


Another example is the Indigenous Australians of Northwest Arnhem Land (and perhaps elsewhere in Australia), who have arranged their entire society, spirituality, and economy around a kind of gift economy called renunciation. In this arrangement, every person is expected to give everything of any consumable resource they have to any other person who needs or lacks it at the time. This has the benefit of largely eliminating social problems like theft and relative poverty. However, misunderstandings obviously arise when attempting to reconcile Aboriginal renunciative economics with the competition/scarcity-oriented economics introduced to Australia by Anglo-European colonists. Languages Several hundred indigenous Australian languages (many extinct or nearly so), Australian English, Australian Aboriginal English, Torres Strait Creole, Kriol Religions Primarily Christian, with minorities of other religions including various forms of Traditional belief systems based around the Dreamtime Related ethnic groups see List of Indigenous Australian group names Indigenous... Arnhem Land is an area of 97,000 km² in the north-eastern corner of the Northern Territory, Australia. ... A gift economy is an economic system in which goods and services are given without any explicit agreement for immediate or future quid pro quo. ... In evolutionary biology, reciprocal altruism is a form of altruism in which one organism provides a benefit to another in the expectation of future reciprocation. ... Face-to-face trading interactions on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. ...


Marx's inspiration

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According to Marvin Harris[2], Lewis Henry Morgan's accounts of the egalitarian natives of Hawaii formed part of Marx's inspiration for Communism. See Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State (ISBN 0-87348-261-1). But Marx's frame of reference was the highly stratified, economically-oriented society of industrial Europe. So, even though Marx was concerned with equality, his philosophy emphasizes materialism, economics, and politics. Many people argue that these are less important issues in an egalitarian society, where relative material and political equality result naturally from well-maintained, mostly non-competitive social relationships (kinship). Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Shortcut: WP:NPOVD Articles that have been linked to this page are the subject of an NPOV dispute (NPOV stands for Neutral Point Of View; see below). ... Marvin Harris Marvin Harris (August 18, 1927 – October 25, 2001) was an American anthropologist. ... Lewis Henry Morgan (1818-1881) was an American lawyer and amateur scholar best known for his work on cultural evolution and Native Americans. ... Official language(s) English, Hawaiian Capital Honolulu Largest city Honolulu Area  Ranked 43rd  - Total 10,931 sq mi (29,311 km²)  - Width n/a miles (n/a km)  - Length 1,522 miles (2,450 km)  - % water 41. ... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a 19th century philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ... Egalitarianism is the moral doctrine that equality ought to prevail among some group along some dimension. ...


The basic differences in attitude between Kinship-oriented and Economically-oriented societies may, in part, explain some of the difficulties met when implementing socialist ideals in an already stratified culture.


Weber's inspiration

Weber built on Marx's ideas, arriving at the three-component theory of stratification and the concept of life chances. Max Weber formulated a three-component theory of stratification, with social class, status class and party class (or politics) as conceptually distinct elements. ... Life chances (Lebenschancen in German) are the opportunities each individual has to improve their quality of life. ...


types of stratificaion

1. slavery 2. Estates 3. Social castes 4. Social classes


References

  1. ^ Lee, Richard B. (1976), Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers: Studies of the !Kung San and Their Neighbors, Richard B. Lee and Irven DeVore, eds. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  2. ^ Harris, Marvin (1968), The Rise of Anthropological Theory: A History of Theories of Culture ISBN 0-7591-0133-7

External links

  • On the Social Function of Caste: A Reply to Jared Diamond
  • Richard Lee's web page at the University of Toronto

See also


Egalitarianism (derived from the French word égal, meaning equal or level) is a political doctrine that holds that all people should be treated as equals from birth. ... Communism is an ideology that seeks to establish a classless, stateless social organization based on common ownership of the means of production. ... Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. ... Social hierarchy, a multi-tiered pyramid-like social or functional structure having an apex as the centralization of power. ... The word Caste is derived from the Portuguese word casta, meaning lineage, breed or race. ... Social inequality refers to disparities in the distribution of material wealth in a society. ... Elitism is the belief or attitude that the people who are considered to be the elite — a selected group of persons with outstanding personal abilities, wealth, specialised training or experience, or other distinctive attributes — are the people whose views on a matter are to be taken the most seriously, or... Theodor Julius Geiger (9 November 1891 in Munich, Germany - 16 June 1952 at sea between Canada and Denmark) was a German socialist lawyer and sociologist. ... Marxism is both the theory and the political practice (that is, the praxis) derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. ... Class stratification is a form of social stratification. ... Gemeinschaft ( ) and Gesellschaft are sociological categories introduced by the German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies for two normal types of human association. ... The Church of Satan is actively working on what it refers to as Pentagonal Revisionism, a plan consisting of five major goals: Social stratification Strict taxation of all churches (including themselves) No tolerance for religious beliefs secularized and incorporated into law and order issues Development and production of artificial human...

Social stratification: Social class
v  d  e
Bourgeoisie Upper class Ruling class Nobility White-collar
Petite bourgeoisie Upper middle class Creative class Gentry Blue-collar
Proletariat Middle class Working class Nouveau riche/Parvenu Pink-collar
Lumpenproletariat Lower middle class Lower class Old Money Gold-collar
Slave class Underclass Classlessness
Social class in the United States
Middle classes Upper classes Social structure Income Educational attainment

  Results from FactBites:
 
Social Stratification (668 words)
Social Stratification is the ranking of people in a vertical arrangement (hierarchy) that differentiates them as superior or inferior.
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Stratification is unjust, divisive, and a source of social instability or change" (p.
Social Stratification (923 words)
Social stratification lies at the core of society and of the discipline of sociology.
Social inequality is a fundamental aspect of virtually all social processes, and a person's position in the stratification system is the most consistent predictor of his or her behavior, attitudes, and life chances.
Social inequality is the primary focus of social stratification.
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