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Social Stratification Chapter 8
Social Stratification • Social stratification – the creation of layers (or strata) of people who possess unequal shares of scarce materials. • Most important factors are power, income, and wealth • Opened or closed system?
Social Class • Social class – each layer in a social stratification system. • A segment of a population who’s members hold similar amounts of scarce resources and share values and norms and a identifiable life style. • Usually 2 or 3 classes.
Karl Marx • Capitalism is evil – social classes forced by a struggle (conflict theory). • His idea workers v. owners • Bourgeoisie – owners/capitalists (means of production) • Proletariat – workers (labor) • Capitalists control education, government, and legal areas. • Eventually, the workers would overthrow the owners. Leading to a classless society where everything is shared.
U.S. Income and Property • • • • • •
Income – money received in a given time period Wealth – all economic resources income and assets 2010 – 44 million in poverty 2010 – family of four poverty line $22,000 10 million millionaires, 50 billionaires Wealthiest 1% own 40% of the wealth and 49% of the income in the U.S.
Power • Power – ability to control the behavior of others, even against their will. • Money = power • Education = power • Legal/political skills = power • Gun = raw power • * people can overcome lack of wealth to gain power by having numbers of people on their side. Ex: Hitler.
Prestige • Prestige – recognition, respect, and admiration attached to social position. • Must be given to people, not given to yourself. • Given to persons in positions of power and wealth • Job list pg 247
Section 2: Explanations of Stratification • Functionalists • Assures most qualified people fill the most important positions. • Inequality exists because certain jobs are more important and involve more training and talent. • Better jobs require more sacrifice. • Ex: Doctor/lawyer receive better pay than a bus driver.
Conflict Theory • Inequality exists because some people are willing to exploit others. • Stratification is forced, not voluntary. • Rich stay in control by putting out false consciousness • Rich are in control and use schools, media, government and churches to help the stay in control.
Symbolic Interactionism • Children are taught that a person’s social class is a result of talent and effort. • Those on top worked hard and used abilities. Those on the bottom have a lack of talent and motivation. • Lower class has poor self-esteem. Higher class high self-esteem. • The classes self-concepts help the system stay in place.
Section 3: Social Classes in America • Americans never developed a sense of class consciousness, which is a sense of identification with the goals and interests of the members of a particular social class.
Upper Class: 1% of U.S. • Upper/old money – born rich, families that have been rich for generations. Rarely marry outside their class. (Rockefellers) • Lower/new money – earned their money with hard work.
• Old money families looks down at new money families. • Involved in national political affairs.
Middle Class 40% U.S. • • • •
Upper middle – 14% great business, political, and military people. They live well and have money saved. College educated – involved in community political affairs. Middle class – 30% small business owners, smaller doctors/lawyers, clergy, fire/police, teachers, managers. High school education, some college. Do not live as well as upper middle. Involved in some political affairs
Working Class 1/3 of U.S. • Construction workers, truck drivers, and other blue-collar jobs. • Might make more money than some middle class jobs. • Unstable employment, lack of income, lack of benefits, and lack of insurance.
Working poor 3% U.S. • Low level skill jobs – laborers and fast food workers. • They live in poverty.
Underclass 12% U.S. • Unemployed, families have a history of unemployment. Part time jobs if anything/ unload trucks. • On public assistance • Lack of education. • Sometimes physical/mental disabilities. • Can get here by birth, old age, loss of marriage, and more. • Q 1- 4 p. 257
Section 4: Poverty • Absolute poverty – is the absence of enough money to secure life’s necessities. Food, clothing, shelter. • Relative poverty – is when you compare the economic condition of those at the bottom of society with the economic conditions of other member of that society • So, poverty varies all over the world different in the U.S. and India.
Reasons for Falling into Poverty
Poverty • U.S. a family of 4 the poverty line is $22,000 a yr. (2010). • Poverty effects minorities, female single mothers, elderly, children under 18, people with disabilities, and people living with nonrelatives. • Feminization of poverty – women take care of children and get paid less.
War on Poverty 1960s • Before 1960’s the U.S. did not care about poverty • War on poverty goal – to help the poor by selfimprovement. 60% of the money was set aside for youth and work experience programs. • Some say that helping the poor is a bad idea because they would want to stay poor and receive money and supplies from the government.
Poverty today • Aid to families with dependant children AFDC 3% of the U.S. budget – gone now. • Food stamps 1% of the U.S. budget. • 1996 welfare reform. • Cash was cut to unwed teen mothers if they did not stay in school and live with a parent. • Cash was cut to able bodied workers if they could not find a job after 2 years. • Gave more welfare powers to the states.
Did you know? • Myth: People on welfare are usually black, teenage mothers who stay on ten years at a time. • Fact: Most welfare recipients are non-black, adult and on welfare less than two years at a time.
Did welfare reform work? • Welfare enrollment has dropped since 1996, but has seen an increase again since 2009. • But people who make $7 an hour with no government help cannot advance in social class. • Many children with health problems and poor schools. • No insurance, rent money, and food shortage.
Section 5: social mobility • Social mobility – movement of people between social classes • Horizontal mobility – movement within the same social class. – Ex: cab driver to bus driver.
• Vertical mobility – movement up or down to another social class. – Ex: cab driver to teacher. Pro football player to a truck driver.
Social Mobility • Intergenerational mobility – mobility that happens over a generation. (up or down). • Ex: dad is a plumber, son is a doctor. • Mom is a college professor, daughter is a bus driver.
Caste system • Caste system – you cannot change your social class. It is ascribed at birth and stays the same. You marry your same class. • Ex. India. Roots keep the system in place
Open system • Open system – based on achieved status. You can move up and down. Also, you can marry outside your class. – Example: U.S.
• But system is flawed, restrictions are placed on some people … racism.
• Very hard to do, sometimes need luck. • Before WWII few rose, after WWII many good factory jobs. • Over the years good jobs are being hurt by technology and globalization. Cost effective for businesses. • More people are now experiencing downward mobility.
Downward mobility • Katherine Newman – belief in hard work in rewards are preventing the middle class from realizing that many of them will be heading toward downward mobility. • Self-worth = occupational status. • Downward mobility brings lower self-esteem, despair, and depression.