Social stratification is a form of social inequality and in sociological terms is a concept involving putting people into classification groups based on peoples socio-economic which is the society they’re living in. These classification groups are often determined by wealth which is the most common when applying social stratification, social class, ethnicity, gender and religion. Within modern societies, social class is more than likely to be split into three different classes, the upper class, the middle class and the lower class (working class) (Room, 2013). Although now it is thought to have four classes, the last one being the underclass.
One of the characteristics for social stratification is class-stratification which is very influential on modern day society. A person’s position in society is based around achievement and ability and the advantage of this is that they achieve certain characteristics which achieve the persons wealth.
Factors that determine social class for a person are things to do with where a person lives, the size of their house, their occupations, their education and even down to a person’s clothing. (the sociology book – reference)
Social stratification is obviously very important, and people have been brought up to follow this and now depending on what class a person falls in they all have their different norms and values that they may follow due to what rank of class they fall in, but social stratification isn’t always a positive thing, for example, people higher up the ladder of the social class system may be quick to judge people lower down on the social class system especially when judging wealth and education. People in the higher class that can afford private schooling may look down on people that go to state-funded schools in terms that they won’t get as good education which then leads on to how wealthy the person is going to be in the future and what they can bring to society.
It is found that the class system influences social stratification in terms of life chances and life styles people may live. Life chances are affected by the social class because the class system massively effects people’s social rewards, although Gerth and Mills argue that in modern societies everyone should have “Everything from the chance to stay alive during the first year after birth to the chance to view fine arts, the chance to remain healthy and grow tall, and if sick to get well again quickly, the chance to avoid becoming a juvenile delinquent and very crucially, the chance to complete an intermediary or higher educational grade”. (Sociologydiscussion.com, 2017)
On the other hand, due to the current resources and individuals being able to pick their identities in the UK, the social class either does not exist or if it does it is meaningless to people which basically cuts out the traditional class divisions between society. An example of the social class being meaningless in some aspects of todays society is a child growing up in the working class where the child’s father worked in a factory and the child’s mother worked as a cleaner, but the child has moved out of their class and achieved a job which has nothing to do with the social class they were brought up in. Education, housing, cars and occupation can be made up of individual choices and life chances meaning the social classification system doesn’t matter. (reference from book)
When looking at traditional social class, the Marxist theory say that social class was directly related to a person’s economic position in society. Also, social class was linked to the relationship in which Karl Marx termed ‘the means of production’. Marxists described two main social classes, one being the bourgeoise. The bourgeoise were classed as the ones that owned the Marx term ‘the means of production’, these were the rich, upper class people. The means of their production was the key to their economic success due to them owning businesses meant that the profits would go directly to them.
The second social class was the proletariat’s, which the Marxists say these did not own ‘the means to production’ but the proletariat’s worked for the bourgeoisie. These people were the poorer people therefore were the lower class in society and has no means of promotion or progression and they we’re paid low wages. (reference to book)
The functionalist’s theory believe that social inequalities are important for the survival of any small or large society. Basically, saying that not everyone in the society can be the team leader. It is argued that variation of rewards and motivation on individuals can also attract people to make effort in gaining top positions. Functionalists argue that social inequalities have a purpose for society to function. Functionalism is based on a society sharing their values. Sociologists say inequalities exist in all societies and they are necessary. Durkheim argues that societies are complex and within these societies the mainlining of social order is important as it prevents chaos. (https://studymoose.com/assess-the-functionalist-explanations-of-social-inequality-essay)
Life chances are linked with the chance of an education throughout a person’s life. Factors that link with life chances and the chance of an education may include class, gender and ethnicity.
(page 16) (lo3) In England a child’s education begins at the age of four or five depending on when the child was born in that year. Socialisation begins for the child with different individuals that may come from different backgrounds such as class, ethnicity and gender. Children are now expected to stay in education until they are at least 18 years of age. From the beginning of starting school children learn to adapt to rules, regulations and cultural differences that the school expect from them.
During these years pupils are constantly reminded of hierarchy, for example, the teacher is ranked above the pupil in hierarchy therefore the teacher has more authority over the pupil. As well as the pupils having to remember the importance of social order, this is where certain laws and standards must be abided by as well as norms and standards should be maintained by the pupils always. Norms and values in schools that children learn are, for example, putting their hands up when they want to ask a question. (https://www.thoughtco.com/social-order-definition-4138213) Reference later
(lo3) In society due to the different social class types that are present, schooling may be very different for one class type to another class type, but all children must receive some standard education. Most children will go to state funded schools although due to hierarchy and class in society some children will be sent to private schools by their parents because they can afford the tuition fees but a small number of children that don’t climb as far up the social class board may get scholarships due to their academic work in their previous schooling years.
There are many types of schooling such as all girl’s schools, all boy’s schools, religious schools and specialist status schools. Whichever school a child may attend there will be different values and norms that are expected throughout their schooling years. Although schooling in this day and age welcomes many children from multicultural backgrounds which is now known as the norms and children of all ethnic backgrounds are welcomed into the schooling society and are taught the same norms and values as everybody else although the child of a multicultural background may need to leave the class at certain hours of the day to pray as this is part of their culture. Schools allow this and make the school adaptable so that the children from multicultural backgrounds can do this.
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