Social Stratification Definition

Social stratification can simply be defined as the classification of people using a parameter of social-economic conditions/status. Through social stratification, the society is able to categorize its people in a well defined hierarchy. Mainly, stratification is divided into three broad categories which include upper class, middle class and lastly lower class people. Mainly these classes define the division of resources and services in the societies. Stratification also creates respect between one strata to the other. Responsibilities and positions in some societies are even awarded according to the group position of an individual (Lambert, 2012).

Stratification is carried from one generation to the other by the word of mouth and also actions. Young generation is taught on how to respect and keep away from people who are not of the same level. As a result, this division extends from one generation to the other. On the other hand, actions of the old people in terms of respecting the roles of inferior and superior group in the society are a good platform for the young generation to learn more on stratification. Nevertheless, parents encourage their children to work hard in order to achieve social mobility, which is the movement of a person from one caste to the other. Intergenerational mobility also occurs due to integration of generations of one group to the other, an aspect that enables people from an inferior group to move to a higher group. Children who are able to advance academically and financially and become rich are able to move from one group to the other through a process known as meritocracy. Children who are born in an upper group automatically gain the status of the group (Lambert, 2012).

Weber looked at inequality in the form of class, status and party. According to him, these were basis for stratification. On the other hand, Marx argued that capitalism exploited the working class because they were the ones who participated on the economic advancement of the upper class groups (Lambert, 2012).

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