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Liyang 1

Xiaoqing Liyang
Sociology 1
25 April 2014
Stratification Definitions
Social Stratification
Social stratification is the structure that society uses to categorize people (Giddens
Sutton 10!" Social class is connected to social stratification in that they are #oth
categorizations of people #ased on their econo$ic status" A high social class is synony$ous
to high econo$ic status and %ice %ersa"

Four systems of stratification
&here first syste$ of social stratification is #ased on an indi%idual's econo$ic status
in regard to $oney and (ealth" )eople can $o%e in any direction of the social strata as their
econo$ic situation changes depending on their circu$stances"

Sla%ery is the second syste$ (here a certain group of indi%iduals are possessed #y
others li*e $erchandise" &his (as co$$on pheno$enon long throughout history" +ne
#eca$e a sla%e as a result of o(ing a de#t, retri#ution for cri$es co$$itted or su#-ugation"
&his class is typical of a#solute po%erty"

&he .ndian caste syste$ (as founded on the /indu religion" A status is #esto(ed
upon an indi%idual depending on the social class that they are #orn into, in (hich they re$ain
for the rest of their life"
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&he estate syste$ (as esta#lished #y the 2uropeans in the $iddle ages" .t contained
three su# groups *no(n as the no#les, the clergy and co$$ons"

+pen stratification syste$s allo( for up(ard and do(n(ard $o%e$ent and are #ased
on achie%e$ent, (hich is the econo$ic status syste$" &he rest are closed" &he closed
syste$s reflect ascri#ed status (hile the open syste$s reflect achie%ed status (Giddens
Sutton 12!" Ascri#ed status is a $atter of ho( society percei%es an indi%idual as opposed to
the indi%idual's o(n ad$ission" 3ather, it is gi%en, not earned" .n so$e societies, ascri#ed
status deter$ines the direction of one's life until the day that they die, li*e in the /indu caste

Means of Production
&he $eans of production is the access to capital that allo(s for the production of
goods and ser%ices" /a%ing enough financial and $aterial capital facilitates the setting up of
$anufacturing plants for the production of goods and sourcing la#or to carry out the
$anufacturing process" &hose (ho o(n the $eans of production are the #ourgeoisie" &he
proletariats are those (ho (or* for the #ourgeoisie (4raus 4eltner 5!" &he relationship of
the #ourgeoisie (ith the $eans of production is that they ha%e access to capital" +n the other
hand, the proletariats do not ha%e access to the capital required to facilitate the $anufacture
of goods"

6lass consciousness is the function of #eing a(are of the social class that one #elongs
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8o$inant .deologies are the #eliefs and practices held #y the $a-ority of people in a
gi%en society" &hey co$e a#out as a result of culture, interactions and shared #eliefs"
9alse consciousness is the re-ection of one's rightful place in the social and econo$ic
ladder, #y ho( one chooses to thin*" &his $ay #e e:perienced in relati%e po%erty (here one
(ould #e considered poor according to regular standards"
Weber's Definitions of Class, Status Group & Party
According to ;e#er, class is #ased on one's econo$ic strength" 2cono$ic strength is
pegged on an a#undance of $aterial possessions, land, property and in%est$ents" A status
group defines people in society that can #e identified #y other qualities #esides their
econo$ic status" Such qualities include no#ility and religious standing" A party is a people
(ith political connections and access (4raus 4eltner 1<!"

Contrast Weber and Marxs ie!s of social class"
=ar: and ;e#er differed on the accurate interpretation of social class in that, =ar:
(as of the opinion that the relationship of people (ith the a#ility to produce goods and
ser%ices is the $ain factor in esta#lishing an indi%idual's social class" .n that case, a person
can only #elong either in the #ourgeoisie class, (hich is characterized #y people (ho o(ned
the resources that ena#led production or the proletariat (hich are the people that (or*ed for
the #ourgeoisie" /o(e%er, ;e#er disagreed #ecause he #elie%ed this classification to #e too
narro(" &he true de$onstration of social class is a function of three interconnected aspects
(hich are> po(er, prestige and property (4raus 4eltner 2?!"

Cultural Capital
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6ultural capital distinguishes people #ased on non@cash factors li*e intellectual
capacity, technical de:terity, fluency of speech and so forth (4raus 4eltner 1A!" .t e%o*es a
sense of prestige in the sa$e (ay that $oney does" .t is lin*ed to class differences in the
sense that the ones (ho possess a richer sense of cultural capital are ran*ed higher in the
social class" )o(er is a#out asserting authority" &he higher the le%el of cultural capital, for
e:a$ple, education, the $ore the po(er" =aterial resources ena#le an indi%idual to access the
highest quality of cultural capital li*e education" 9a%ora#le social capital, li*e schools and
hospitals allo( for fa%ora#le cultural capital" .t is through an education that one gains high
intellectual capacity" 6ultural resources in%ol%e a co$$unity's heritage and (ay of li%ing" A
rich cultural resource pro$otes high cultural capital"

A strong cultural capital is e:pressed through donning the finest apparel, li%ing in
e:pensi%e housing, tra%eling to e:otic holiday destinations, fine (ining and dining and
engaging in high end sporting li*e golf, fencing, horse racing or $otor cross racing"

;or*s 6ited
Giddens Anthony Sutton )hilip" BStratification and Social Class.C 2017" <

2dition, 27
April 2014
4raus, =" ;", 4eltner, 8" BSocial 6lass 3an*, 2ssentialis$, and )uniti%e
Gudg$entC 2<
=ay 2017" Journal of Personality and Social Psychology" Ad%ance online
pu#lication" doiD 10"107<Ea0072?55" 27
April 2014