File Name: differences between social stratification and social mobility .zip
- Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Volume 23
- Understanding Social Stratification: Social Class
- Social mobility
- Social Stratification and Inequality
Social mobility is the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between social strata in a society.
Social class , also called class , a group of people within a society who possess the same socioeconomic status. Besides being important in social theory, the concept of class as a collection of individuals sharing similar economic circumstances has been widely used in censuses and in studies of social mobility. The term class first came into wide use in the early 19th century, replacing such terms as rank and order as descriptions of the major hierarchical groupings in society. This usage reflected changes in the structure of western European societies after the industrial and political revolutions of the late 18th century.
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Volume 23
When he died in , Ted Rogers Jr. In his autobiography he credited his success to a willingness to take risks, work hard, bend the rules, be on the constant look-out for opportunities, and be dedicated to building the business. Ted Rogers Sr. However, Ted Sr. His mother took Ted Jr. The family was still wealthy enough to send him to Upper Canada College, the famous private school that also educated the children from the Black, Eaton, Thompson, and Weston families.
Ted seized the opportunity at Upper Canada to make money as a bookie, taking bets on horse racing from the other students. Then he attended Osgoode Hall Law School, where reportedly his secretary went to classes and took notes for him.
He bought an early FM radio station when he was still in university and started in cable TV in the mids. The CBC program noted that 85 percent of the inmates in the prison were of Aboriginal descent, half of whom were involved in Aboriginal gangs. Moreover the statistical profile of Aboriginal youth in Saskatchewan is grim, with Aboriginal people making up the highest number of high school dropouts, domestic abuse victims, drug dependencies, and child poverty backgrounds.
In some respects the Aboriginal gang members interviewed were like Ted Rogers in that they were willing to seize opportunities, take risks, bend rules, and apply themselves to their vocations. They too aspired to getting the money that would give them the freedom to make their own lives.
The consequence of that was to fall into a lifestyle that led to joining a gang, being kicked out of school, developing issues with addiction, and eventually getting arrested and incarcerated. How do we make sense of the divergent stories? Canada is supposed to be a country in which individuals can work hard to get ahead.
There are no formal or explicit class, gender, racial, ethnic, geographical, or other boundaries that prevent people from rising to the top. People are free to make choices. But does this adequately explain the difference in life chances that divide the fortunes of the Aboriginal youth from those of the Rogers family? The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu defined ones habitus as the deeply seated schemas, habits, feelings, dispositions, and forms of know-how that people hold due to their specific social backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences The Aboriginal gang members display a certain amount of street smarts that enable them to survive and successfully navigate their world.
Street smarts define their habitus and exercise a profound influence over the range of options that are available for them to consider — the neighborhoods they know to avoid, the body languages that signal danger, the values of illicit goods, the motives of different street actors, the routines of police interactions, etc.
The habitus affects both the options to conform to the group they identify with or deviate from it. Ted Rogers occupied a different habitus which established a fundamentally different set of options for him in his life path. How are the different lifeworlds or habitus distributed in society so that some reinforce patterns of deprivation while others provide the basis for access to wealth and power?
As Bourdieu pointed out, habitus is so deeply ingrained that we take its reality as natural rather than as a product of social circumstances. Sociologists use the term social inequality to describe the unequal distribution of valued resources, rewards, and positions in a society. Key to the concept is the notion of social differentiation. Social characteristics — differences, identities, and roles — are used to differentiate people and divide them into different categories, which have implications for social inequality.
Social differentiation by itself does not necessarily imply a division of individuals into a hierarchy of rank, privilege, and power. However, when a social category like class, occupation, gender, or race puts people in a position in which they can claim a greater share of resources or services, then social differentiation becomes the basis of social inequality.
The term social stratification refers to an institutionalized system of social inequality. It refers to a situation in which the divisions and relationships of social inequality have solidified into a system that determines who gets what, when, and why.
The people who have more resources represent the top layer of the social structure of stratification. Other groups of people, with progressively fewer and fewer resources, represent the lower layers of our society. Social stratification assigns people to socioeconomic strata based on factors like wealth, income, race, education, and power. The question for sociologists is how systems of stratification come to be formed. What is the basis of systematic social inequality in society?
In Canada, the dominant ideological presumption about social inequality is that everyone has an equal chance at success. This is the belief in equality of opportunity , which can be contrasted with the concept of equality of condition. Equality of condition is the situation in which everyone in a society has a similar level of wealth, status, and power. Although degrees of equality of condition vary markedly in modern societies, it is clear that even the most egalitarian societies today have considerable degrees of inequality of condition.
Equality of opportunity, on the other hand, is the idea that everyone has an equal possibility of becoming successful. It exists when people have the same chance to pursue economic or social rewards.
This is often seen as a function of equal access to education, meritocracy where individual merit determines social standing , and formal or informal measures to eliminate social discrimination. Whether Canada is a society characterized by equality of opportunity or not is a subject of considerable sociological debate. His personal narrative is one in which hard work and talent — not inherent privilege, birthright, prejudicial treatment, or societal values — determined his social rank.
This emphasis on self-effort is based on the belief that people individually control their own social standing, which is a key piece in the idea of equality of opportunity.
Most people connect inequalities of wealth, status, and power to the individual characteristics of those who succeed or fail.
The story of the Aboriginal gang members, although it is also a story of personal choices, casts that belief into doubt. It is clear that the type of choices available to the Aboriginal gang members are of a different range and quality than those available to the Rogers family.
The available choices are a product of habitus. Sociologists recognize that social stratification is a society-wide system that makes inequalities apparent. While there are always inequalities between individuals, sociologists are interested in larger social patterns. Social inequality is not about individual inequalities, but about systematic inequalities based on group membership, class, gender, ethnicity, and other variables that structure access to rewards and status. In other words, sociologists are interested in examining the structural conditions of social inequality.
The larger question, however, is how inequality becomes systematically structured in economic, social, and political life. In terms of individual ability: Who gets the opportunities to develop their abilities and talents, and who does not? As we live in a society that emphasizes the individual — i.
Factors that define stratification vary in different societies. Usually the four factors coincide, as in the case of corporate CEOs, like Ted Rogers, at the top of the hierarchy—wealthy, powerful, and prestigious — and the Aboriginal offenders at the bottom — poor, powerless, and abject.
Many believe that teaching is a noble profession, so teachers should do their jobs for love of their profession and the good of their students, not for money. Yet no successful executive or entrepreneur would embrace that attitude in the business world, where profits are valued as a driving force. Cultural attitudes and beliefs like these support and perpetuate social inequalities.
Sociologists distinguish between two types of systems of stratification. Closed systems accommodate little change in social position. They do not allow people to shift levels and do not permit social relations between levels. Open systems, which are based on achievement, allow movement and interaction between layers and classes. Different systems reflect, emphasize, and foster certain cultural values, and shape individual beliefs. This difference in stratification systems can be examined by the comparison between class systems and caste systems.
Caste systems are closed stratification systems in which people can do little or nothing to change their social standing. A caste system is one in which people are born into their social standing and remain in it their whole lives. It is based on fixed or rigid status distinctions, rather than economic classes per se.
As we noted above, status is defined by the level of honour or prestige one receives by virtue of membership in a group. Caste systems are based on a hierarchy of ascribed statuses, based on being born into fixed caste groups. In a caste system, therefore, people are assigned roles regardless of their talents, interests, or potential.
Marriage is endogamous , meaning that marriage between castes is forbidden. An exogamous marriage is a union of people from different social categories. Instead the relationship between castes is bound by institutionalized rules, and highly ritualistic procedures come into play when people from different castes come into contact.
The feudal systems of Europe and Japan can in some ways be seen as caste systems in that the statuses of positions in the social stratifications systems were fixed, and there was little or no opportunity for movement through marriage or economic opportunities. In early European feudalism, it was still possible for a peasant or a warrior to achieve a high position in the clergy or nobility, but later the divisions became more rigid.
In Japan, between and , the mibunsei system divided society into five rigid strata in which social standing was inherited. Beneath them were four classes or castes: the military nobility samurai , peasants, craftsmen, and merchants.
The merchants were considered the lowest class because they did not produce anything with their own hands. In the Hindu caste tradition, people were also expected to work in the occupation of their caste and to enter into marriage according to their caste. Originally there were four castes: Brahmans priests , Kshatriyas military , Vaisyas merchants , and Sudras artisans, farmers.
Accepting this social standing was considered a moral duty. Cultural values and economic restrictions reinforced the system. Caste systems promote beliefs in fate, destiny, and the will of a higher power, rather than promoting individual freedom as a value.
A person who lived in a caste society was socialized to accept his or her social standing. Although the caste system in India has been officially dismantled, its residual presence in Indian society is deeply embedded. In rural areas, aspects of the tradition are more likely to remain, while urban centres show less evidence of this past.
As a global centre of employment, corporations have introduced merit-based hiring and employment to the nation. A class system is based on both social factors and individual achievement. It is at least a partially open system. A class consists of a set of people who have the same relationship to the means of production or productive property, that is, to the things used to produce the goods and services needed for survival: tools, technologies, resources, land, workplaces, etc.
Whether defined by material or social characteristics however, the main social outcome of the class structure is inequality in society. Marx argued that class systems originated in early Neolithic horticultural societies when horticultural technologies increased yields to economic surpluses.
The first class divisions developed between those who owned and controlled the agricultural land and surplus production and those who were dispossessed of ownership and control i.
Understanding Social Stratification: Social Class
Handbook of the Sociology of Mental Health pp Cite as. Social stratification refers to differential access to resources, power, autonomy, and status across social groups. Social stratification implies social inequality; if some groups have access to more resources than others, the distribution of those resources is inherently unequal. Societies can be stratified on any number of dimensions. In the United States, the most widely recognized stratification systems are based on race, social class, and gender. Unable to display preview.
Education, Social Closure, and Social Mobility. Education, Employers, and Class Mobility. Jackson, J.
The main difference between social stratification and social mobility is that social stratification is the way people are ranked and ordered in society, while social mobility is the movement of individuals through a system of social stratification. Every society has a system of stratification; society categorizes people into different ranks and positions according to various factors. For example, the society we live in today uses a stratification system based on income and wealth. Sometimes, it is also possible to move through the strata in social stratification and reach a different level. We call this ability to move through social stratification social mobility.
When he died in , Ted Rogers Jr. In his autobiography he credited his success to a willingness to take risks, work hard, bend the rules, be on the constant look-out for opportunities, and be dedicated to building the business. Ted Rogers Sr. However, Ted Sr.
In an open class system, people are ranked by achieved status, whereas in a closed class system, people are ranked by ascribed status.
Social Stratification and Inequality
Most sociologists define social class as a grouping based on similar social factors like wealth, income, education, and occupation. These factors affect how much power and prestige a person has. Social stratification reflects an unequal distribution of resources. In most cases, having more money means having more power or more opportunities. Stratification can also result from physical and intellectual traits. Categories that affect social standing include family ancestry, race, ethnicity, age, and gender. In the United States, standing can also be defined by characteristics such as IQ, athletic abilities, appearance, personal skills, and achievements.
Introductory Sociology pp Cite as. After introducing the importance of stratification to sociological analysis, this chapter explores the concept of social class, and asks whether class is still a significant feature of contemporary society. You should gain a sense of the different approaches to social class, and how these build on but go beyond the classical Marxist and Weberian perspectives.
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