Stratification, according to conflict theory, is caused by a lack of opportunity and prejudice against the poor and people of color. The individualistic approach connects poverty to the individual flaws of impoverished individuals, whereas the structural view attributes poverty to societal problems.
According to conflict theory, poverty is caused by discrimination that prevents disadvantaged groups from obtaining employment opportunities. These minorities are often excluded from good jobs or hired at lower wages than others. The unemployment rate for black Americans is almost twice that of whites (7% vs. 4%).
Poverty is also associated with other factors such as age, gender, marital status, location, inactivity, immaturity, illness, and disability. It can also be attributed to personal choices such as making bad decisions or being born into a poor family.
In addition, poverty can be defined as having less wealth than others with the same income. The less money you have, the poorer you are considered to be. In America, most poor people are not rich but rather middle class.
Finally, poverty can be temporary. If someone loses their job but is later re-employed, then they will not be poor anymore. However, if they cannot find another job, then they will remain poor.
Social class, according to symbolic interactionism, influences how individuals interact in everyday life and how they see certain parts of the social environment. As social classes differ in their resources, they can also be considered as cause for discrimination.
According to this theory, the American society is divided into three main social classes: the rich, the middle class, and the poor. The division between these three classes is based on income and its associated costs. The rich are the ones who have more money than others. They can buy products and services, which allow them to keep up with the trends and satisfy their needs. The middle class is composed of those who earn enough money to cover their basic expenses but not enough to be considered rich. The poor are all those who do not have any choice but to rely on public assistance because they cannot afford to pay for the necessary goods and services required by human existence. It should be noted that the division between these three classes is not clear-cut; many people cross back and forth between them depending on their situation at any given time.
It can be said that the American society is divided between the haves and the have-nots. This separation results in discrimination against people of different backgrounds: the poor tend to be black or brown while the rich mostly belong to white families.
Symbolic interactionism, in keeping with its micro focus, seeks to understand stratification and consequently poverty by examining people's interactions and understandings in their daily lives. It does not attempt to explain why we have stratification in the first place, as opposed to the functionalist and conflict viewpoints. Rather, it focuses on how individuals, groups, and societies create and maintain hierarchies through the processes of symbolization and interpretation.
Symbolic interactionism was developed by American social scientists Herbert Blumer and Peter Mennell in the early 20th century. They proposed that understanding human behavior requires studying how individuals construct their own realities and those around them. The key concept in this theory is that of "symbolization" - the process by which people associate certain objects or events with each other to represent ideas or states of mind. For example, when someone wears a red shirt it does not necessarily mean they are involved in some sort of violence; rather, it is more likely that they are part of some social movement (such as communism) or even just having fun at work.
By analyzing how individuals create meaning out of their experiences, symbolic interactionism can help us to understand why some people are richer than others even though they may live in the same city and have many similar jobs.