CST 241-04

Social Stratification

Organized Inequality

  • Hierarchies of access
    • power, wealth, prestige
  • function
    • motivation to achieve higher status
    • rank based on merit
  • conflict
    • unequal life chances, constant struggle
    • neo-Marxist theoretical approach: Eric Wolf
      • capitalism, colonialism & conflict

Stratification systems

  • class
    • social mobility (achieved status)
      • American Dream: upward mobility
        • downward mobility in US
        • unemployment, divorce
  • Caste
    • hereditary, endogamous (ascribed status)
      • Hindu castes: ritual purity and occupation
      • interdependence of castes
      • dynamics of caste

race & ethnicity

  • race (ascribed status)
    • belief in natural, inherited, unalterable inferiority
    • US eugenics, lynching, white privilege
  • ethnicity (ascribed status)
    • ethnic identity: culture, national origin, history
    • indigenous groups, refugees, immigrants
    • melting pot model or cultural mosaic model

Video: Jefferson/Heming family “reunion”

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