1. Some questions to consider as we discuss this topic
➢ Why is there inequality?
➢ How much inequality is there in the U.S.?
➢ Why do sociologists look at wealth, income, education, occupation, race, ethnicity, and gender?
➢ How much inequality is inevitable in the U.S.?
➢ Social stratification: the system of structured inequality, how society creates layers or strata.
➢ Social class: the social position of an individual or a group.
3. Wealth inequality
➢ The richest 1% of American households own about 39% of the national wealth.
➢ What is the difference between wealth and income?
4. Income inequality
➢ Income inequality has been increasing in the U.S. for three decades.
5. Educational inequality
6. Occupational inequality
7. A few more definitions
➢ Social status: the rank or position of a person in the social structure, based on wealth, income, education, occupation, race, ethnicity, and gender.
➢ Achieved status: achieved through personal accomplishments.
➢ Ascribed status: refers to social positions allocated at birth and which cannot be changed.
➢ Master status: one that overpowers or dominates all other statuses.
8. Theories of stratification
➢ The contributions of Karl Marx to understanding social class
First, a person’s class is determined by the source of his or her income – by the relationship to the means of production.
Second, capitalist societies consist of two classes – the capitalists (the bourgeoisie) and the workers (the proletariat).
➢ The contributions of Max Weber
Weber agreed with Marx that economic factors are important in understanding social stratification, but he did not think a single factor could explain something as complex as social structure.
He saw three dimensions to stratification: wealth, power, and...