Social Stratification Essay

3183 words - 13 pages

Social Stratification
Missing Works Cited

Inequalities exist in all types of human society. Even in the simplest cultures where variations in wealth or property are non-existent, there are inequalities between individuals, men and women, the young and the old. A person may have a higher status than others because of a particular prowness at hunting, for instance, or because he or she is believed to have special access to the ancestral spirits. To describe inequalities, sociologists speak of Social Stratification. Social Stratification lies at the core of society and of the discipline of sociology. Social inequality is a fundamental aspect of virtually all-social processes and a person's position in the stratification system is the most consistent predictor of his/her behaviour, attitudes, and life chances. "Social Stratification is a characteristic of society, not simply a reflection of individual differences." Social Stratification persists over generations. Social Stratification is universal but not variable. It involves not only inequality but also beliefs. 'It is useful to think of stratification as rather like the geological layering of rock in the earth's surface,' Societies can be seen as consisting of 'strata' in a hierarchy, with the more favoured at the top and the less privileged at the bottom." If we look back at the year 1912, when the Titanic sank, we can make a connection with social inequality for the way people lived back then. When we watched the blockbuster hit in 1997, we were shown how much of an impact that social inequality had on the lower class passengers. Women and children had the highest survival rate. Those who held a first class ticket, more than 60% of those survived because their cabins were on the upper decks. Only 1/3 of the third class passengers survived making 24% of the survival rate. When looking at the tragic events of Titanic, class was the only means of survival. It turned out to be a matter between life and death in the end. Therefore, it is not the cognitive psychology of how much individuals recognise each other, but the sociological problem of how groups of people are distinguished from each other. Therefore, the problem is one of inequality and the many forms of stratification are all perceptible differences because people are socially formed. Though they may originate in fixed characteristics at birth. In society today, there are unequal social relations of three kinds: power, property and prestige. It is these terms that help make every society a functional one.

Power relations exist everywhere in our society. "People differ in all sorts of ways. There are differences between adults and children, men and women, employee and employer, the highly educated and uneducated, the light-skinned and dark-skinned and so forth." The perceptible differences that exist between people are socially formed: meaning that 'within each society a certain significance and certain expectation will be...

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