Ethnicity and Stratification

Topics: Sociology, Social stratification, Ethnic group Pages: 7 (2053 words) Published: March 23, 2011
The issue of ethnicity and stratification is of importance in Canadian society because it addresses the relationship between ethnic and racial stratification. Since Canada is so culturally diverse, it is important to know what motivates various ethnic groups to strive for success and how social stratification plays a significant role in this process. In Canada, the opportunity for training and furthering ones level of education is promising for individuals of all ethnicities. Providing there is some form of stratification system within society, it is likely that individuals will view this inequality as a motivational factor to undergo sacrifices and receive additional training for these jobs. This will facilitate individuals in these groups to achieve higher strata in society and be deemed successful. In this essay, it shall be argued that social stratification is necessary in order to motivate ethnically diverse groups in Canada to train for more important jobs.

For the purpose of this essay the term social stratification refers to the way in which society is organized in layers or strata. There are three theories of stratification including, the functional theory of stratification, conflict theory and stratification and social interactionism and stratification. All three theories can relate to relationship between ethnicity and stratification in several ways. The theory that applies most to ethnicity and stratification is the functional theory of stratification. This theory argues three factors, the first is that some jobs are more important than others are, second, people must make sacrifices to train for important jobs and third inequality is required to motivate people to undergo sacrifices to train for these important jobs (Brym, 2010). There are various ethnic groups that reside in Canada. Ethnic groups are comprised of people whose perceived cultural markers are deemed socially significant, these groups differ from one another in terms of language, religion, customs, values, ancestors, and the like.

This essay will illustrate how social stratification is necessary in Canadian societies to motivate those of ethnically diverse groups to become successful and attain higher strata. The first part of this essay will discuss the growing ethnic diversity in Canadian society. The second part, will discuss the functional theory of stratification, with respect to the various ethnic groups in Canadian society. The essay will then go on to discuss the opposing view on social stratification, conflict theory. The final section of this paper will counter the Marxist position on social stratification and argue that it is necessary in order to motivate ethnically diverse groups in Canada to train for more important jobs and that it is beneficial to society.

Ethnic Diversity in Canada
Over the past 100 years, more than 13 million immigrants have made their way to Canada making it one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries (Stats Canada). The majority of immigrants came from Europe during the first half of the twentieth century. Later on, non-Europeans started arriving in larger numbers as economic immigrants or refugees, or as family members of previous immigrants (Stats Canada).

By the year 1970, half of all immigrants were coming from Caribbean nations, Asia and South America. In the 1980s, a growing number were arriving from Africa. Canada’s visible minority population is growing much faster than its total population: This is due largely to increased immigration from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America and the Middle East. In the year 2001, about 70% of the visible minority population was born outside Canada (Stats Canada).

As a result of the growing diversity In Canada, it is apparent that there will also be a high prevalence of these ethnic groups entering the workplace. In order to do so, immigrants may have to undergo additional training and/or complete a...

References: Brym, R.J. (2010). Theories of stratification. Toronto, Canada: Nelson Education.
Cosgrove, C. (2011, 02 07). Immigrants often forced to work below their education, skill levels. BNET.
Kerbo., H, R. (2006). Social stratification. Retrieved from
Kroehler, C. (2002). Social stratification. Ohio: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Statistics Canada. (n.d.). Ethnic diversity and immigration. Retrieved from
Tumin, M.M. (1953). Some principles of stratification: a critical analysis. American Sociological Review, 18(4), Retrieved from
Wong. D.H. (2006). The functional theory of stratification: some neglected considerations. American Sociological Review, 24(6), Retrieved from doi:
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