Social Stratification Theories





The answer is determined by the type of society you live in and is related to both:
individual outcome --* your position in life
structure and character of society --* how work is organized

The study of social stratification is the study of class, caste, privilege, status that is characteristic of a particular society. It varies according to how society is organized especially in terms of production and work. We will emphasize class.
What is the connection between the question: what do you want to be when you grow up and social stratification (especially the class character of the society you live in)? Your position in society and the rewards that will be associated with it. It has an impact on your possibility of realistically meeting your opportunities for mobility. Mobility refers to the likelihood that you can achieve a class, caste different from where you come from, your roots. Mobility and stratification are related.
What image does strata invoke as a model of the social world? Strata comes the natural sciences. Dr. Brush argues that it is interesting that sociologists use a natural phenomena to talk about social phenomena. It seems to contradict the main message of the course: our world is socially constructed phenomena and not a natural process. Thus, stratification is not equal to natural accretion.
Hypothesis posed by a classmate: society needs stratification to be healthy and keep the peace. Which of the three main sociological perspectives supports this statement? The functionalist perspective. Most stratification arguments come out of this perspective. The second part of the hypothesis (to keep the peace) relates more to the conflict perspective.
Stratification and egalitarianism are related. In a sociological sense strata is a category that\'s associated with social hierarchy. That is, people are ranked according to their rank, class, authority. If a society has ranks then it is a stratified society. If it does not, then it is an egalitarian society. Keep in mind, that these are relative terms.
Last week we drew a picture that tells the story of how societies are organized around work. As societies move from simple to complex organization, they start to get levels of inequality that would need stratification to keep the peace. The differences are not natural, neutral nor random. They are ranked and constitute a hierarchy along the lines of race, gender, age, income among others.
Class is about how society organizes production and the outcomes that it creates for people; this a combination of a Marxian (stratification) and Weberian (organization) understanding.
Empirical question: What does the class system look in the U.S.?
Your position in the social world determines what you can see. The project of 19th century thought was to find a point from where to look at the world and see its social relations unaffected by the observer\'s position (the objectivist perspective). Subjectivist epistemology, on the other hand, holds that where you are leads to what you see.
Gardner and Gardner conducted a study in 1941 to investigate how people perceive social class. They used six categories to desegregate the concept.
Visions of class structure held by the upper upper class
Upper upper class: old aristocracy
Lower upper class: aristocracy but not old(new rich)
Upper middle class: nice respectable people
Lower middle class: good but nobody
Upper lower class: po\' whites (white trash)
Lower lower class: po\' whites (white trash)
Visions of class structure held by the lower lower class
Upper upper class: society folks with money
Lower upper class: society folks with money
Upper middle class: society folks with money
Lower middle class: way high ups
Upper lower class: snobs trying to pushup
Lower lower class: people just as good as anybody
These are two different pictures of the class structure. There is great variation in the perception according to where they are. The terms used are loaded ones.
This is a classic set of stratification; one of gradations of prestige. It fits nicely with a functionalist perspective. Wealth, power, prestige are components of gradational class model. A relational example of stratification follows from how people relate to the modes of production.

There is a difference between a model of class and how the class structure actually works. Whose model is empirically correct? Having other kind of data will