• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

What are the major dimensions of social stratification?

Extracts from this document...


What are the major dimensions of social stratification? For one to attempt the question, "what are the major dimensions of social stratification?" , one must first define the term social stratification. Social stratification is often used interchangeably with social inequality and one must distinguish between the two terms. Social inequality refers to the existence of socially created inequalities. Social stratification is a form of social inequality, however, social inequality does not inevitably lead to social stratification. It is define as the presence of distinct social groups which are ranked one above the other in terms of factors such a prestige and wealth. These factors are called valued resources. In hunting and gathering societies, social inequality is minimal and stratification absent. Members of this type of society, more or less, had equal access to valued resources. They also had equal life chances which are chances to obtaining thing that are valued in society. These societies are known as "egalitarian societies". However, it can be stated that in these types of societies, individuals may have higher status or greater prestige than others. A good hunter may be highly esteemed but his as a hunter does not automatically give him a superior life style, neither does he pass his prestige to his offspring. As society developed from hunting and gathering societies to more industrialized societies, individuals now have unequal access to value resources. ...read more.


Marx argued that political power comes from economic powers. By this, he means by the superstructure of society is shaped by economic powers, the relation of production would be reproduced in the superstructure and therefore, the ruling class in relation to production would reflect the superstructure. Therefore the political and legal systems would be based on the ruling class interest. He also explain the difference between a "class in itself" and a "class for itself". A class in itself is a social group whose members share the same relationship to the means of production while a class for itself occurs when a social group fully becomes a class. The members have class consciousness and class solidarity. Class consciousness means that the false class consciousness, a picture created by the ruling class ideology, is now replaced with the real picture of the nature of exploitation and class solidarity is the uniting of the members of a class. Marx believed at the final stage of class consciousness and class solidarity, members will realize that collective action is the only way they can overthrow the ruling class. Like Marx, Weber also stressed the importance of economic factors in determining the class position of individuals. However, he felt that there were other criteria as well. He saw that stratification as resulting from struggle for economic resources but also prestige and power. ...read more.


He saw economic class as the result of group formation in society. Weber agreed with him but also identified two more factors for group formation. These were status and power. Unlike Marx and Weber, Parsons and Davis & Moore, functionalists, believe that stratification is as an integrated structure. Parsons believe that it is derived from common values and if they exist, then the persons who perform successfully are ranked higher in society. Therefore stratification is inevitable because value consensus is essential to all societies and therefore stratification would result in the ranking of individuals in terms of common values. Davis and Moore saw stratification as a mechanism of role allocation and performance where it places the most talented persons into the most important positions and these positions are determined by two factors which are the degree of uniqueness and the degree of dependency. Saunders of the New Right perspective, believed that stratification as beneficial to society by motivating people to work because of the unequal distribution of rewards. He states in societies where there is equal distribution of rewards, force must be used to get people to work. He also identifies three different equalities in society, i.e. legal equality, equality of opportunity and equality of outcome. In concluding, it can be said that the best perspective was Weber's perspective. He identified three reasons for group formation. These were social/economic class, status, and power. Therefore on can conclude that these are the major dimensions of social stratification. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Compare and Contrast Marx and Weber's view on Stratification

    existence of large multi-national companies but he argued that the 'middle class' inflates rather than deflates as capitalism develops. Thus Weber saw a diversification of the middle class, rather than a polarization. He also discarded the view shared by many Marxists, of the inevitability of the proletarian revolt.

  2. This essay will explain the functionalist, Marxist and Social action theories of race and ...

    removes the possibility of extinguishing the 'false consciousness' which confines and restricts them both. (Race section 8 Handout page 311) With the segregation of the proletariat group divided into two, the 'ruling class' or bourgeoisie has its authority strengthened. The emergence of the 'industrial reserve army' ensures the maintenance of low wages in unskilled employment, as initially (if not indefinitely)

  1. Max Weber: Basic Terms (The Fundamental Concepts of Sociology)

    ''The degree in which social action and possibly associations emerge from the mass behavior of the members of a class is linked to general cultural conditions, especially those of an intellectual sort'' (929). ''If classes as such are not groups, class situations emerge only on the basis of social action.''

  2. Gender as a form of Social Stratification.

    As girls become women they are socialised into roles such as a wife and mother and taught that it is a desirable life choice to settle down. This leads to women not having access to as many life chances as men, and being reliant on the opposite sex for income, all attributes that lead to less independence for women.

  1. Social Stratification.

    Fertility refers to how many live born children the average women will have. Fecundity is the numbers of children women are able to have in biological terms. It is physically possible for a normal woman to bear a child every year during the period when she is capable of conception.

  2. Crime and Social class - Hypothesis - 'There is a relationship between social ...

    If you are arrested you are less likely to be prosecuted, If you are prosecuted, you are less likely to be found guilty If you are found guilty, you are less likely to be given a prison sentence.


    When referring to caste and labor, according to the Human Rights Watch, members of the Varna model and most other models are born into their jobs. 'Sanitation Job; that of cleaning the streets and the handling of human waste' (http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/globalcaste/caste0801-03.htm.)

  2. Social stratification.

    In Northern Ireland the two main religions are Protestant and Catholic with some followers of both segregating themselves from each other and resorting to violence. Religion does not necessarily influence position in society but it is a major way of dividing the population.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work