Social Stratification

Topics: Social stratification, Slavery, Sociology Pages: 3 (873 words) Published: April 14, 2014
“Social Stratification continues to be a key feature of Caribbean Society.” Using examples to support your answer, discuss the extent to which you agree with this statement. Social stratification refers to the ways in which a particular society ranks the various social groups according to one or more criteria that are valued in the society. This ranking indicates that some groups have more and some have less of what society values, including wealth, status and prestige. This system of social stratification shows that groups in society are unequal and the pattern of inequality that forms persists from one generation to the next. It can be agreed that ‘social stratification’ continues to be a key feature of Caribbean society but many criteria have changed although some survive. Colonialism, Indentureship, Emancipation, the development of trade unions in the 1930s, Independence in 1962 and the modern Caribbean all have a part to play in the discussion of social stratification as it relates to Caribbean history. According to the historical definition of the Caribbean, the term describes a, area which saw the impact of European colonialism, slavery, Indentureship and the plantation system in the late fifteenth (15th) century. During this period, the Caribbean society experienced a closed system of social stratification where the criteria determining a person’s position in the social hierarchy were race and colour and social mobility was almost non-existent because the colour and race of those below proclaimed their low status. The Europeans had control over many Caribbean societies and they controlled the indigenous people. When they all died out, the Africans were brought in to be enslaved. The Africans were seen as lowly persons who were worth nothing so therefore they were the group with the lowest social status. Due to the fact that they were black, they were put to the bottom of the social hierarchy, which consisted of Whites, who were at the top and the...
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