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FSU SYG 1000 - Study Guide

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Florida State UniversitySociology DepartmentSYG1000 Introduction to SociologyDr. Gloria T. LessanSpring 2012Study Guide Questions #4CAVEAT: The following questions are a guide to help you study the material for the 3rd Midterm exam. It is not a contract that defines the exam1. Define social stratification. Briefly describe the basic principles of stratification.• Social Stratification: the existence of structured inequalities between groups in society, in terms of their access to material or symbolic rewards.o All societies and cultures involve some form of stratification o Most distinctive forms is class divisiono Development of state-based systems produced wide differences in wealth and power• Basic Principles of Stratificationo The rankings apply to social categories of people who share common characteristics with each other Ex. Women vs. men and wealthy vs. pooro People’s life experiences and opportunities depend on the ranking of their social category• Effects life chances as much as personal effort and luck The ranks of different social categories change slowly over time• Only in recent years have women and African Americans achieved some semblance of equality 2. Compare and contrast the main characteristics of caste systems, class systems, and socialist systems. Where is each type of system found? What are the prospects for social mobility in each system? Is one of the systems the best way to organize society? Why or why not?• Caste Systemo Characteristics Social system in which one’s social status is given for life (not achieved)  Social status determined by personal characteristics (skin color, parental religion, parental caste) and is unchangeable Intermingling is prohibited o Found Agricultural societies without capitalism (South Africa and rural India)o Social Mobility: None• Class Systemso Characteristics Not established by religious or legal provisions  Socioeconomic variation between groups of individuals that create variation in their material prosperity and power Class effects life chances (Weber: person’s opportunities for achieving economic prosperity) Fluid Positions are somewhat achieved  Economically based (inequalities of material resources) Large scale and impersonal (not expressed in individual relationships)o Found Industrialized societies o Social Mobility: Yes• Socialist Systemso Characteristics Claimed to be a classless society through eliminations of private ownership of production Remained stratified• Four categories (high government officials, intelligentsia, manual laborers, and rural peasantry • Less economic equality than capitalist societies o Found Soviet Uniono Social Mobility: To some degree• Slaveryo Characteristics Form of social stratification in which some people are owned by others as property The rights of slaves vary according to the era and location Often unstable and morally wrongo Found Illegal in every country but still foundo Social Mobility Very limited• None of these are the best way to organize a society because none are based solely on personal merit.3. Summarize the Davis-Moore thesis of social stratification. What type of stratification system do they have in mind? Critically evaluate their thesis, and in the process, examine the highly rewarded positions in the U.S. Does the pattern of rewards parallel the Davis-Moore thesis?• Davis-Moore Thesis of Social Stratificationo Functions of stratification  Beneficial outcomes to stratification Certain positions in any society are more important than others and require special skills to fill them• Society has to have people who can do the job, must provide benefits for people to take on those important positionso Stratification is functional and inevitableo Has in mind the class systemo Criticisms Social position is based solely on innate talents and efforts The functional importance of a role is hard to measure and the rewards often don’t reflect importance • Ex. Teachers versus lawyers: lawyers earn four or five times more than a teacher. This doesn’t reflect the relative importance of these occupations  Stratification can limit the discovery of talent • Those at the top have access to education that helps pass their status from generation to generation• Social inequality can be a barrier for reaching one’s full potential 4. Describe the key points in Marx's conflict analysis of social stratification. In what ways has his analysis came true and in what ways has it failed? Finally, address the question: is Marx's theory applicable to the United States - why or why not?• Marx’s Conflict Analysis of Social stratification o Placed the primary emphasis on classo Two main classes Capitalists Working Class• Truthso Continued inequalities of wealth and income • Failureso He didn’t predict the rise of the middle class or subdivisions in classes• Applicable to the USo Most people in the west are much better off materially then were comparable groups in Marx’s day5. Elaborate on Marx's and Weber's approaches to social stratification. Include in your answer the key points of each view and their similarities and differences.• Marx and Social Stratificationo Class refers to people who have a common relationship to the means of production (means by which they gain a livelihood)o Two main classes Capitalists: those who own companies, land, or stocks and use these to generate economic returns Working class: those who earn their living by selling their laboro Relationship between classes is exploitive o Capitalism maturation will increase the gap between the wealthy minority and poor majority  Wages will never rise above subsistence level and wealth will be concentrated in the hands of capitalist o• Weber and Social Stratificationo Three dimensions of social inequality Class, status, and power  Many way to achieve these dimensions Correlated but acquisition of one doesn’t directly lead to the acquisition of the other dimensionso Life chances are opportunities to obtain material goods, positive living conditions, and favorable life experienceso Occupying a higher position in a society improves your life changes and brings greater access to social rewards.o Stratification = a multidimensional ranking based on 3 indicators: Property, Power & Statuso Modern sociological measurement: SES Index (A composite social ranking


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