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CHAPTER 11 Stratification and Social Mobility
1. The Meaning of Stratification
A. Even in simple societies, some members achieve more and reap greater rewards than others. In complex societies, systems for distributing rewards result in the classification of social groups into well-defined strata.
1. Various strata are defined by wealth, occupation, and other aspects of life.
2. Social inequality becomes social stratification when people are ranked hierarchically according to such attributes as wealth, power, prestige, age, sex, ethnicity, and religion. People are grouped into social layers according to how they earn their living.
3. Societies that maintain rigid boundaries between social strata are said to have closed stratification systems. Those in which the boundaries are easily crossed are said to be open.
4. Movement from one stratum to another is called social mobility. Individuals or groups whose fortunes improve are said to be upwardly mobile; those whose fortunes decline are downwardly mobile.
5. Castes are social strata into which people are born and in which they remain for life. Caste membership is an ascribed rather than an achieved status.
4. Classes are based primarily on economic criteria. Within a class, status groups are defined by how much honor or prestige people receive from society in general.
C. The term life chances refers to the opportunities people will have or be denied throughout life. Stratification is a major deteminant of people's life chances. In fact, differences in income and wealth can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
II. Stratification and the Means of Existence
A. Stratification in Rural Villages
1. Most of the people in the world today live in villages where social strata are based on land ownership and agrarian labor.
2. There is much less social mobility in rural societies than in industrial societies.
B. Stratification in Industrial Societies
1. The industrial revolution largely eliminated the classes of peasants and farm laborers in some societies. Structural mobility refers to the elimination of an entire class as a result of changes in the means of existence.
2. The rise of city-centered institutions led to a tremendous increase in spatial mobility, the movement of individuals, families, and larger groups from one location to another.
III. Stratification and Culture
A. Every society appears to have ideologies that justify stratification systems and socialize new generations to believe that existing patterns of inequality are legitimate.
B. Stratification at the Micro Level
1. Status symbols-material objects or behaviors that convey prestige-indicate one's place in the society's stratification system.
2. Deference refers to how a person behaves in the presence of another who is of higher status.
3. Demeanor-the way we present ourselves through body language, dress, speech, and manners----conveys to others how much deference or respect we believe is due us.
4. Deferent behavior and the appropriate response affirm acceptance of the stratification system. Failure to carry out the rules of behavior can cause a person to be cast out of the "acceptable" strata of society.
IV. Power, Authority, and Stratiflication
A. Power is the ability to carry out one's own will despite resistance; authority is power that is recognized as legitimate.
B. Power and authority are major factors in maintaining existing relationships among castes or classes.
V. Stratification in the Modern Era
A. The Great Transformation
1 . The industrial revolution created markets that linked buyers and sellers in a system that governed the distribution of goods and services, human labor, and new forms of energy.
2. Goods, land, and labor became commodities whose value could be translated into money.
3. Relationships that had been based on ascribed statuses were replaced with relationships based on contracts.
4. The business firm or corporation replaced the family, the manor, and the guild as the dominant economic institution. Rural people were displaced from the land and began selling their labor for wages.
5. Demands for full political rights and equality of opportunity spread from the bourgeoisie to the new class of wage workers.
B. Class Consciousness and Class Conflict
1. An objective class is one that has a visible, specific relationship to the means of production. Subjective class depends on the extent to which people in a given social stratum perceive their situation as a class. Class consciousness is the awareness of belonging to a class.
2. Marx believed that conflict between the capitalist class or bourgeoisie and the working class or proletariat would inevitably produce revolutions. Socialism was the name given to the new social order that Marx believed would succeed capitalism. A socialist society would be classless because all the members of society would collectively own the means of production.
C. Social Mobility in Modem Societies: The Weberian View
1. For Weber and many other sociologists, prestige and power are as important as economic position in defining social class.
2. In addition to Marx's two great classes (workers and owners of the means of production), modem society has produced a large middle class. There is considerable movement from one class to another.
a. Intragenerational mobility refers to changing social classes within one's lifetime.
b. Intergenerational mobility is measured by comparing the social-class position of children with that of their parents.
VI. Theories of Stratification
A. Modem conflict theorists agree with Marx's claim that class conflict is a primary cause of social change, but they debate both the nature of the class structure and the forms taken by class conflict.
B. According to the functionalist view, an unequal distribution of rewards is necessary if a society is to match the most talented individuals with the most challenging, positions.
C. The interactionist perspective on stratification is essential to understanding the prestige stratification that occurs within social classes. The behaviors of status groups often define, reinforce, or challenge class divisions.
By the end of the chapter you should be able to:
1. Discuss the central concepts of social stratification: class, caste, ascribed and achieved status, open and closed societies, and social mobility.
2. Show that social class is closely related to the ways in which people gain their living in different types of societies.
3. Understand that ruling classes tend to develop ideologies that justify their privileges, while oppressed classes may develop ideologies that deny the right of ruling classes to assert their rule.
4. Summarize the concepts of power and authority, objective. and subjective class, and class consciousness, and show how they are related to stratification.
5. Use examples of deference and demeanor to highlight the interactionist perspective on stratification.
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the concept of life chances.