Stratification in Ghana

Topics: Ghana, Sociology, Social stratification Pages: 2 (586 words) Published: September 19, 2011
Stratification in Ghana
Stratification in Ghana appears to use both caste and class systems. Many of the first kingdoms that formed in Ghana were separated into three traditional classes: the royal class, the commoner class, and the slave class. The royals preserved special rights to fill the chief offices of king and queen. Unlike European traditions, special status in pre-colonized Ghana was specified only to office-holders and not their families. For this reason, it was very common for members of the royal class to wed members of the common class. Throughout Ghanaian history, members of the common class have experienced many rights, such as the ability to control farmland and lower-level political offices. Slavery in Ghana transpired mainly as domestic oppression, in which slaves held rights, including the ability to marry commoners and acquire land (Schwimmer, 2011).

Slavery in post-colonized, modern Ghana is insignificant. Traditional royalties are still recognized in many areas but have been, for the most part, outdated. Educational achievement and financial attainment are the two largest properties that determine class ranking. Citizens of northern Ghana tend to form a visible underclass, taking most low status occupations (Schwimmer, 2011).

In customary practice, kings and other inborn officials showed their status through the use of symbols, such as umbrellas, staves, and kente cloth. In contemporary times, spending on American consumption goods, such as expensive clothing, iPods and other electronics has become the leading status marker. Luxury cars are also significant. A Mercedes Benz is one of the most dominant markers of high socioeconomic class (Schwimmer, 2011).

Each of the Ghanaian ethnic groups divides its sexes uniquely. Women of the Akan tend to be the main housekeepers. Both genders accept responsibility for farming, although males assume the more strenuous duties and females the more tedious ones. While men tend to be the weavers,...

Cited: Ackah, C A. "Social Stratification in Ghana." Ghana Journal of Sociology, 5.2. 1969.
Henslin, J. Essentials of Sociology. Pearson Inc., 2011.
Schwimmer, Brian. "Culture of Ghana." Countries and Their Cultures. Web. 15 April 2011. .
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