Relevance of Social Stratification

Topics: Social class, Sociology, Social stratification Pages: 4 (1272 words) Published: April 21, 2012
Social stratification is defined as the division of a society into a number of hierarchically arranged strata. Strata are the levels or classes in society which are layered in a structured hierarchy with the least privileged at the bottom and most privileged at the top. (Giddens, 1977) A society, or human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. (Lenski 1974) The question being asked, however, is to what extent social stratification is useful in society. To answer this question I am going to look at the concepts and systems of social stratification and its dimensions, and see if any of them still have any relevance in contemporary society. Social stratification can exist in different forms; when the economic resources of the members of society are imbalanced, creating rich and poor strata, it is known as Economical Stratification; if there are differentiations in authority and titles, it takes the name of Political Stratification. Finally, Occupational Stratification which occurs when the society has various occupational groups which are associated with different levels of prestige and the members of these groups are hierarchically organized into groups of superiors and subordinates. (Sorokin, 1959). There are different systems of social stratification that exist. Some apply in society right to this day while others are not really as popular as in their heydays. Overtime Sociologists have distinguished between two general systems of social stratification based on the degree of social mobility representative of the system, these include; the caste system and the class system. (Ibid) Other systems are primitive communism, slavery system and the estate system. Primitive communism is characterized by a high degree of sharing, and minimal social inequality. In the Slavery...
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