7.5C: Power and Inequality
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- Discuss the four basic assumptions of social stratification theory
- Social stratification is a concept involving the classification of persons into groups based on shared socioeconomic conditions.
- Conflict theories, such as Marxism, focus on the inaccessibility of resources and lack of social mobility found in stratified societies.
- Social stratification has been shown to cause many social problems, including homicide, infant mortality, obesity, teenage pregnancies, emotional depression, teen suicide, and a high prison population.
- In modern Western societies, stratification is broadly organized into three main layers: upper class, middle class, and lower class.
- Conflict theories, such as Marxism, point to the inaccessibility of resources and lack of social mobility found in stratified societies.
- In Marxist theory, the capitalist mode of production consists of two main economic parts: the substructure and the Superstructure. Marx
- Social stratification has been shown to cause many social problems.
- Marxist Theory: An economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry centered upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis–critique of the development of capitalism.
- Conflict Theories: Perspectives in social science that emphasize the social, political, or material inequality of a social group, critique the broad socio-political system, or otherwise detract from structural functionalism and ideological conservatism.
- Weberian: Of or relating to Max Weber (1864–1920), influential German sociologist and political economist.
Power and Inequality
Social inequality and stratification
- Social stratification is a trait of society, not simply a reflection of individual differences.
- Social stratification carries over from generation to generation.
- Social stratification is universal but variable.
- Social stratification involves not just inequality but beliefs as well.
Classifications of stratification
Social Stratification and Marxism
- Rankings apply to social categories of people who share a common characteristic without necessarily interacting or identifying with each other. The process of being ranked can be changed by the person being ranked, and it can differ based on race, gender, and social class.
- People’s life experiences and opportunities depend on their social category. This characteristic can be changed by the amount of work a person can put into their interests. The use of resources can influence others.
- The ranks of different social categories change slowly over time. This has occurred frequently in the United States ever since the American revolution—the U.S. Constitution has been altered several times to specify rights for everyone.