Stratification In America Essay

1785 words - 7 pages

Part I.With my understanding of social stratification in America, I would have to say that I am more of a conflict theorist. Conflict theory suggests that competition and conflicts occurs very often in societies through social interactions. The studies of these developments are a good way to understand a society. I believe that there is no perfect society, someone will eventually have to gain and some will just have to lose--this is how the game goes. At times, conflicts will be created, it is just unavoidable.According to Landis, every grouping of people has imbalances of power and authorities (12). There are just some people that always give orders and act as a leader in a group, and some that follows those orders--of course, there's always some in between. To have authority is like the 'power' to rule, and obviously not a very large number of individuals could have power, and this usually leads to conflicts in societies (Landis 13). Some times, I do think of questions such as: who's going to gain the most from this? Who's this going to disadvantage? Thus, I'm certain that I'm more of a conflict theorist, than a functionalist."The key for conflict theorists is control of scarce good and services; those who can gain this control will hold power and prestige" (Landis 162). To have power, is to have persuasion and some sort of control over others. Let's say jobs for example, some jobs have higher returns than others, it's not because of the importance of that job, but it is the 'power' that it holds. For example, doctors are the highest paying occupation, they are highly paid not because they could do something 'special' that others can't, but it is the admission to the medical school and the numerous years of schooling that it requires (163)."Conflict theorists believe that the conflict that arises when unlike groups meet can be best and most simply explained as resulting from a struggle for status among competing groups" (Landis 187). Minorities for example, are the 'unlike' group in society that strives hard to move up the social ladder, and that cause conflicts. If access to a desired good is scare--such as good jobs--it will cause discriminations against minority groups. According to Landis, minorities are the ones that are constantly being dominated over and exploited because of their struggles for scare resources like better jobs, land, wealth and power (206).We also have a social-class bias in our educational system; a functionalist might say that as long as you work hard you can move up, but in my point of view that's not very true. In better neighborhoods, children of the elites go to schools that have smaller classes and give a 'better' education. They allow students not only to know hard facts, but to have ideas, innovations, and creativity. On the other hand, children of the working class would go to schools that teach them to be obedient and just follow rules (Landis 326). One reason is that poorer neighborhood kids mostly go to...

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