Lenskidefines social stratification as a system through which the communityplaces groups of individuals in a pecking order (16). In the USA aswell as other countries, it is evident that some categories of peoplehave more power, prestige, and wealth than others. Thedissimilarities are among the factors that brought about socialstratification (Lenski, 16). The concept basis is on four keyphilosophies. The first principle regards social stratification as acharacteristic of the society rather than an indication of individualdistinctions. Secondly, the notion carries on through generations.The concept is worldwide though it takes various forms in numerouscommunities. Lastly, it not only implicates inequality but thesociety’s belief’s as well (Doob, 39). Therefore, the idea of acategorized community has had several impacts on numerous societiesas different scholars define its origin, functions, and implications.This paper reviews various sources describing social stratificationwith the aim of expounding on the root of the matter and itsreplications in society.
Differentexplanations have come up on the origin of social stratification.Lenski explains that one of the causes of social stratification isthe functional requirement of the social structure (27). The viewarises from the Davis-Moore thesis which stipulates that socialstratification is essential in the society to ensure that individualsreceive rewards best on their efforts in life and as a result,motivate others. Professor Sorokin on the other side accredits theestablishment of the concept to dissimilarity in environmentalstates. Karl Max explains that the stratification results from socialfactors. Other researchers contend that the notion came about due toscarcity that occurs when the community distinguishes positive withregards to powers and roles. Lastly, racial disparities alsocontribute to the categorization of people in the pecking order(Lenski, 32). Therefore, there are numerous explanations fromdifferent scholars on the origin of social stratification. However,one clear fact is that the concept results from the dissimilaritiesthat exist among people in society.
Esping-Andersonexplains different types of social stratification (125). Caste is aheritable endogamous communal category in which an individual’sposition and its associated rights and responsibilities come about onthe foundation of one being born into a particular family or group.Caste categorization is common in Asian communities such as India.Class stratification is another type that is evident in the modernday. The grouping depends on one’s accomplishments and hiscapacities to utilize one`s benefits, the essential features, andproperty that they have. In traditional Europe, the estate system wasalso a form of stratification that focused on birth, riches, andassets. Lastly, Esping-Anderson describes slavery as an economicfoundation used to create groups in the community as masters hadinfinite power over their slaves (129).
Accordingto McLeod, social stratification has numerous impacts on the society(231). Those who are in the top classes of the society have access toa better life than those of lower status. For instance, they can getthe best healthcare services, education, and are more dominant in thesociety’s politics than the others. They are part of the elitegroups in the society and have a larger network top help them enhancetheir livelihood. However, those who do not have such high positionsin the community have to struggle with various facets of life. As aresult, there are difficulties such as the unjust manipulation ofwealth and power that causes others to suffer. The minority groups inthe society undergo emotional anguish and depression due to thedifficulties they face in life while those of higher groups livelavishly. Chaos in the community arises from such differences. Forinstance, increased crime rate in cases where those of lower statuslack adequate necessities and have to resort to illegal activities toobtain them. Therefore, social stratification creates a gap in thesociety between those regarded highly and those looked down upon(McLeod, 241).
Doobaddresses the issue on the possibility of ending socialstratification. The system is engraved in the society’s foundationsand ending it is close to impossible. However, looking at adverseimpacts of social stratification, it is essential to find ways tohandle the issue. Educating the community on the consequences of thecategorization is one way of tackling the challenge. Additionally,equal distribution of resources in essential so that all individualshave the opportunity to improve their lives. Lastly, teaching peopleon the significance of accommodation of those different from them inthe society is vital to ensuring that people coexist peacefully.Changing the society’s mindset may be impossible however, takingthe discussed steps could improve their reaction and treatmenttowards others (Doob, 69).
Hence,social stratification is an issue that is evident in societies allover the world. The primary cause of the categorizations is thedifferences among humans. Apparently, the world is made up of mixedcommunities where people have varying characteristics. As a result,individuals use such features to group people in the community. Thevarious types of social stratification include caste, socioeconomicclass, the old Europe estate system and slavery. The concept hasimplications on the society as it causes a gap between differentpeople that eventually lead to crime. It may not be able to endsocial stratification completely however, there is a need to makeefforts to enhance accommodation in the society. Therefore, socialstratification is clearly a factor that is evident all around theglobe and has its implications on the society.
Doob,Christopher B. Socialinequality and social stratification in US society.Routledge, 2015.
Esping-Anderson,Gosta. “Welfare regimes and social stratification.” Journalof European Social Policy25.1 (2015): 124-134.
Lenski,Gerhard E. Powerand privilege: A theory of social stratification.UNC Press Books, 2013.
McLeod,Jane D. “Social stratification and inequality.” Handbookof the sociology of mental health.Springer Netherlands, 2013. 229-253.
No related posts.