At this point what I have learned of stratification theory leads me to believe that the post modernist specifically the second modernity pedagogy as outlined here in my notes from class offers the most understandable and relevant theory. The concept that the sources of inequality are fragmented and varied, the structure is ephemeral and transient, it is self achieved through lifestyle and values, mobility is fluid and open and closure is arbitrarily defined. The Marxist theory can definitely be applied in certain situations but doesn’t have the flexibility in structure and mobility that is apparent in the U.S. today. While Weber opens up that there are more nuances and less rigid ascription I believe it is too convoluted to make a workable definition of stratification in our current society. The functionalists certainly highlight some of the reasons that inequality exists but the theory that this is a necessary and positive outcome is certainly not proven by history. The American methods were in depth studies of the society at the time on a small scale but cannot be expanded upon to encompass the complexity that exists today. Certainly Bourdieu brings up some interesting observations about social closure and “habitus” reproducing the structure of inequality but this too seems to exclude the power of the human spirit to transcend their “class” and achieve mobility based upon their own merits.
Bell (1973:967-969) offers the concept of the post-industrial society is a large generalization. Its meaning easily understood within the specification of 11 components of the term:
1. The centrality of theoretical knowledge. 2. The creation of new intellectual technology. 3. The spread of a knowledge class. 4. The change from goods to services. 5. A change in the character of work. 6. The role of women. 7. Science as the imago. 8. Situses as political units. 9. Meritocracy. 10. The end of scarcity? 11. The economics of information.
The existence of knowledge in society becomes the basis of innovations in technology. This technology and other tools of system analysis and decision theory can be used to provide more “rational” solutions to societal problems. The fastest growing group in society is the technical and professional class. In this post industrial society “the new services are primarily human services (principally in health, education and social services) and professional and technical services (eg.,research, evaluation, computers, and systems analysis). The expansion of these services becomes a constraint on economic growth and a source of persistent inflation” (Bell,1973:967). Given this service society work is primarily a game between persons and people will have to learn how to live with one another. These human services also provides expanded employment opportunities for women. For the first time women have a secure base for economic independence, hence a rise in the incidence of...