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Gender as a form of Social Stratification.

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Year 12 Social Stratification Assignment. By George Amos Gender as a form of Social Stratification. The most common explanation for divisions between men and women is that the male 'sex' is stronger, more intelligent and more of a 'natural' leader. Women however according to biological determinism are generally seen as child bearers and instinctively house keepers. Although this is widely considered a biological point of view, sociologists like Talcott Parsons (1959) have tended to lean towards this idea. In addition to age, gender is one of the universal dimensions on which status differences are based. Unlike sex, which is a biological concept, gender is a social construct specifying the socially and culturally prescribed roles that men and women are to follow. According to Gerda Lerner in The Creation of Patriarchy, gender is the "costume, a mask, a straitjacket in which men and women dance their unequal dance" (p.238). As Alan Wolfe observed in "The Gender Question" (The New Republic, June 6:27-34), "of all the ways that one group has systematically mistreated another, none is more deeply rooted than the way men have subordinated women. All other discriminations pale by contrast." Lerner argues that the subordination of women preceded all other subordinations and that to rid ourselves of all of those other "isms"--racism, classism, ageism, etc.it is sexism that must first be eradicated. Socialisation is the most important process in a person's life, permitting the development of an individuals social capacities, as well as learning norms and values that permit adequate participation in society. During this process, the family is one of the most important social environments, in that it permits the connection with the social structure. To a large extent, a child's development possibilities depend on his/her family's characteristics and socio-economic position in society. Socialisation also implies social differentiation, as it prepares boys and girls to be part of a specific social group. ...read more.


Differences between men and women are as much socially produced as they are biological. This idea has now become the most widely accepted idea. It is neither patronising nor sexist to assume that women are socially subordinate to men as this is a measured reality. This concept is a starting point for feminist analysis. It now seems evident that men also have greater social mobility than women. Social mobility is defined as the ability to move between social strata's. Marshall et al (1988) state that their research shows that men have higher absolute rates of mobility than women, receive higher rewards and are more highly paid for their qualifications. Only 2 percent of highly qualified men are in routine non-manual jobs in comparison to 32 percent of equally qualified women. Ethnicity as a form of Social Stratification. Race is defined as a group of people who are perceived to be biologically different form another. Its largely socially constructed and does differ from on society to another. Ethnicity however is based on cultural characteristics and can be defined as a collection of people who share a distinctive cultural heritage. Through the years of racial suffrage due to racism, many ways have been developed to resist racism and strengthen culture within these victimized communities. Modood a sociologist studied the sociology of ethnicity and realized that many Afro-Caribbean's celebrate Black Identities and Black pride as a response to Black people's perceptions of racial exclusion, discrimination and stereotyping by White people. Culture within peoples lives can help them to resist racism and promote pride and resistance to racial discrimination, for example in many Black communities Hip-Hop music is a great influence to black culture, which therefore promotes the black communities which are therefore likely to be discriminated because of xenophobia. Religion as part of people's culture also helps to resist racism. For example Rastafarians promote black pride through there religion, also using Music; Reggae is a response to black pride and peace promotion. ...read more.


(e.g. Members of group X are taught to believe that they are members of a superior race, and, consequently, members of other races are inferior.) Historical economic or social disparity is alleged to be a form of discrimination which is caused by past racism, affecting the present generation through deficits in the formal education and other kinds of preparation in the parents' generation, and, through primarily unconscious racist attitudes and actions on members of the general population. (E.g. A member of Race Y, Mary, has her opportunities adversely affected (directly and/or indirectly) by the mistreatment of her ancestors of race Y.) However, many people dispute the idea that this can be called racism; many hold that this view infantilizes members of a given ethnic group (e.g., blacks or Hispanics) and treats an entire race as victims unable to improve themselves through their own efforts. In this opposing view, it would be "racist" to believe that a group is being held back by such concerns. Yet, some recent studies have suggested that this latter view may not be altogether plausible. A good example of race relations policy is the Apartheid system that started in Africa in 1951. The Bantu Authorities Act established a basis for ethnic government in African reserves, known as ``homelands.'' These homelands were independent states to which each African was assigned by the government according to the record of origin (which was frequently inaccurate). All political rights, including voting, held by an African were restricted to the designated homeland. The idea was that they would be citizens of the homeland, losing their citizenship in South Africa and any right of involvement with the South African Parliament which held complete hegemony over the homelands. From 1976 to 1981, four of these homelands were created, denationalizing nine million South Africans. The homeland administrations refused the nominal independence, maintaining pressure for political rights within the country as a whole. Nevertheless, Africans living in the homelands needed passports to enter South Africa: aliens in their own country. ...read more.

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