Revolutionary Stratification in America
Stratification and social classes can be found in the earliest of societies around the world. Throughout history, these divisions of society can be caused by a variety of factors, and can shape a nation or destroy it. In urban, but mainly rural societies, early stratification has played a large part in revolutionary overthrows of the upper classes by the oppressed. In present-day America, stratification can be seen dominating society and can be categorized by capital and labor. These social classes found in our society are slowly becoming more and more distinguished between the upper and lower classes, causing the question to rise: Is America headed towards a class revolution?
Kelley and Klein’s (1977) theory of Stratification in a Post-revolutionary Society and mathematical model proving their findings deals with an overthrown society in which the peasants have revolted against the elitists. The control revolution must meet the following conditions: (1) a dominant government/administration seizes all production of capital from the peasants, and (2) the revolution has delivered the peasants from their exploitation by “destroying the old elite’s economic privileges, reducing taxes, and redistributing land” (Kelley and Klein 76).
According to Kelley and Klein, when a revolution of classes occurs, they first predict that in the short run, the peasants will be better off and the cause of the revolution, social inequality, decreases. Also, equal distribution of capital will be produced, making human capital a more valuable source. However, “ a revolution does not immediately benefit the poorest of its supporters as much as it benefits those who possess human capital or have been able to retain physical capital” (Kelly and Klein 77). In the long run, peasants still benefit, but the revolution will provide opportunities that will give advantage to those with education, ability, knowledge, or technical skills, causing...
References: Katz, Michael B. "Social Class in North American Urban History." The Journal of
Interdisciplinary History 11.4 (1981): 579-605.
Kelley, Jonathan, and Herbert S. Klein. "Revolution and the Rebirth of Inequality: A Theory of Stratification in Postrevolutionary
Society." The American Journal of Sociology 83.1 (1977): 78-99.
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