Social Stratificaton - Refers to the ranking of member in a society in terms of the amounts of power, weath and prestige which they posses.



Upper Class

Upper Upper

Lower Upper

Upper Upper

Middle Upper

Lower Upper

Middle Class Upper Middle

Lower Middle

Upper Middle

Middle Midddle

Lower Middle

Lower Class Upper Lower

Lower Lower

Upper Lower

Middle Lower

Lower Lower

The Major Dimensions of Stratification: (Max Weber)

a) Power - the degree to which a person can control other people.

b) Weath - Objects or symbols owned by human beings which have value attached to them.

c) Prestige - The degree of respect, favorable regard or importance accorded to an individual by members of society.

Approaches to the Study of Stratification:

1. Subjective Approach - The technique which determines the class structure of a group of individuals by having individuals indicate the social class to which they belong.

2. Reputation Approach - Individuals in a group are asked to rank other members of the group into various social classes.

3. Objective Approach - Individuals are placed into social classes by using indicators of their social class such as: income, education, occupation.

Social Mobility - refers to movement within the social class system.

Vertical Mobility - refers to a major movement up and down in social class position. The term is generally only used to refer to a movementfrom one major social class to another.

Horizontal Mobility - Refers to movement within a social class. In general, there is no overall change in the social class status of an individual involved.

Type of social status:

Ascibed Status - The social class position allocated to an individual by society as a result of factors over which the individual has no control (Ex. sex, race, family background.)

Achieved Status - The social class position which an individual acquires as a result of his/her own activities. (, occupation.)

Societies and Stratification Systems:

Caste Society - Closed social classes; ascribed status only; no vertial mobility; horizontal mobility; no achieved status.

Mixed Society - Ascribed status and achieved status; vertical and horizontal mobility.

Open Class Society - Achieved status only; no ascribed status; vertical and horizontal mobility.

Karl Marx - Viewed history as a "Class Struggle":

Bourgeoisie - The social class made up of a small group of individualswho own the means of production.

Proletariat - The social class made up of the masses or workers who must sell their own labor in order to survive.

Power Elite - A concept developed primarily by the sociologist "C. Wright Mills." The term refers to a small number of individuals who possess extreme amounts of power and make decisions which effect an entire culture.

Thorestein Veblen - A sociologist who wrote extensivelyabout upper class in the U.S. His best known work, "The Theory of The Leisure Class," was published in 1899.

Conspicuous Consumption - A concept developed by "Thorestein Veblen" which refers to the practice of using wealth to purchase things to show others you have wealth.

Some web sites to visit:

Bay Area Homelessness Project

Goodwill Industries International,Inc.Home Page

Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP)

Polarization of American Society

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