social stratification and inequality aqa sociology GCSE

The term of social stratification describes the way society is structured into hierarchy of unequal strata or layers.

  • Social hierarchy is shaped like a pyramid and the most powerful are at the top.

  • Social inequality refers to the uneven distribution of resources and opportunities

  • Stratification in involves power, wealth, income and status.

  • In the uk today, social class, gender, ethnicity and age are the main criteria by which people are stratified.


Types of stratification

  • Whether your status is ascribed or achieved.

  • Whether you are in a open system ( allows social mobility) or in a closed system (where it is unlikely to socially mobilitate)

  • Slavery, one group claims the right to own the other and treats them as property.

  • Caste system in india, feudalism in medieval europe and social class systems in the uk today.


Davis and Moore: functionalists

  • Argue that all societies need a way of placing individuals in social positions that must be filled

  • Some roles are functionally important for society but most people lack the talent to fill these functionally important roles. And these roles provide access to desirable rewards like high pay and status

  • Stratification is functionally important because it ensures the most talented people train and fill the most important jobs

  • Inequality is functional because people accept it as fair

  • BUT

  • Jobs that are vital to society have low pay or low status

  • A groups high pay may be linked to its power rather than their importance to society

  • Marxists see it as a means for a privileged minority to exploit others

  • Feminists and marxists see it as way men or the rich get power


Stratification based on social class

  • In britain social class ( or socio economic)vis seen as the main form of stratification

  • SC is based on economic factors such as occupation which is linked to levels of pay, working conditions and status

  • 3 classes: the working,


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