30 November, 2010
The Impact of Social Class/Stratification
Stratification and the division of people into social classes is a fundamental part of American society. Stratification is a concept that is universal; it is found in every country, every nation of the world. It is a system in which large groups of people, not individuals, are divided into different layers according to their relative property, power, and prestige. Stratification applies not only to the different nations of the world as a whole, but to the different groups of people within those nations as well. Each of these groups is stratified into its own class; the group of people ranked most closely to them in property, power, and prestige. A person’s position in the stratification system affects everything about their life, from what they think and expect in life to how they see the world, as well as what opportunities they will have access to.
There are three main types of stratification systems; slavery, caste, and class. In slavery systems individuals may be owned, bought, sold, or traded by other individuals. Slaves were not always treated poorly, and many were not imprisoned for life, but their circumstances were certainly gruesome. Most of us know the history of the events from our own country, in which we engaged in a civil war over the slavery stratification system that was in place at the time. In the second system, the caste system, your status is ascribed at birth. You are stratified into a certain caste and you will remain there for life no matter what accomplishments you may achieve, or mistakes that you may make. And third we have the class system, which is characterized by its social mobility. Unlike the slavery and caste systems, in which there is little or no movement between statuses, a class system is much more open and individuals may change their social class based on achievements. Your status is still assigned... [continues]
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