Conflict theorists claim that social stratification is dysfunctional and detrimental. Social stratification, according to conflict theory, helps the affluent and strong at the expense of the poor. As a result, it establishes a system of winners and losers that is perpetuated by those at the top. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
In contrast, cooperation theorists argue that social stratification is functional and positive. They claim that it creates incentives for individuals to develop themselves and their communities. It forces people to compete with each other so they can stay at the top of the heap. Those who succeed raise themselves out of poverty and create opportunities for others.
The question of whether social stratification is functional or dysfunctional has been a topic of debate among sociologists for decades. Some believe that it is beneficial while others claim that it is destructive.
Social stratification produces social disparities and numerous difficulties since it is an unequal system with a monopoly on power and money in a select group. It causes emotional tension and despair in those from lower social strata because to uneven access to income, power, and status. Social stratification also affects individuals' lives by determining their positions in society and its many institutions such as education, health care, and the political process.
Individuals who are part of a social hierarchy tend to think about their position in relation to others. Because they are aware that some people are higher up or lower down than themselves, these people have a large impact on their feelings of self-worth. Someone who is high up in the hierarchy will likely feel important while someone low down will probably feel inferior. However, this influence is not constant because individuals can decide what role they want to play in the hierarchy. For example, someone who is low up may get pleasure from being part of a team with more influential members or they may even try to rise up the ladder if they believe it will make them happier.
People at all levels of the hierarchy experience stress because they are afraid they might lose what they have. To avoid this, they need to maintain or increase their position so they can continue to enjoy the benefits that come with it.
The functionalist and conflict theories are the two basic reasons for stratification. According to functionalist theory, stratification is necessary and unavoidable because of the necessity to persuade those with the requisite knowledge and abilities to choose jobs that are most valuable to society. According to conflict theory, stratification is caused by conflicts over resources which must be resolved through dominance, thus creating a hierarchy. Neither theory is completely satisfactory, but both provide useful insights into how stratification arises.
Social stratification is the division of society into different classes or strata. Social classes are defined by the ownership of assets or the status of being engaged in particular occupations; social strata are divisions within a class based on more than one determinant of status. Stratification can occur within a single dimension (i.e., between men and women, or black people and white people) as well as across multiple dimensions (i.e., between rich and poor, or educated and uneducated).
Stratification is an inherent feature of any society that divides its members into groups based on authority, prestige, or some other distinguishing characteristic. It is an important part of many cultures around the world, including ancient Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Polynesian, and African societies. Although it is found in all types of societies, it is particularly evident in hierarchical organizations where rank determines position in the structure of power.
Social Classification A social stratification system is a mechanism through which a society classifies different groups of individuals. It is an inequitable arrangement (a general advantage or power of one group over another). It outlines how various categories of individuals are classified throughout society. Social classes are often divided into two main categories: the privileged and the deprived. The privileged include the wealthy, the educated, and the influential while the deprived include the unemployed, the poor, and those with less influence or authority.
Social structures are based on the fact that people tend to associate with others who are similar to them in some way. This means that we will always end up with a division of society between those who share the same interests as us and those who don't. These similarities can be based on gender, age, religion, ethnicity, language, occupation, or any other factor that may exist within a given society. Because people will always want to have relationships with others who are like them, this will lead to these groups becoming separated out from the rest of the population.
One example of this is gender. In many societies today, there are still roles that are defined as being for men or women. Individuals who do not conform to these roles will either be denied access to them or else treated as if they were equal but separate entities.
According to critics of Davis and Moore's thesis, stratification actually weakens societal stability because of unequal access to opportunities, the disproportionate amount of power granted to elites, and the institutionalization of social distance between varied sections of a community. They argue that societies which are seen as being stratified by status or class instead suffer from instability and conflict due to the inability of individuals to achieve success or improve their lives through their own efforts.
Stratification is often defined as a system in which there are several layers or groups within a society with different levels of authority, prestige, and opportunity. According to Davis and Moore, all modern societies are stratified in this way, although they may differ in the extent to which each group is separated from others. Lower-class individuals are denied access to resources and opportunities given to upper-class people. They also claim that social mobility is limited for those in the lower strata, while it is limited only by the ability of others to advance themselves up the ladder.
However, critics say that stratification is responsible for destabilizing societies because it gives rise to elitism and inequality, which are factors that prevent consensus about policy issues and block progress on improving living standards for everyone.