Theoretical Examination of Social Stratification

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Theoretical Examination of Social Stratification In Mark Thoma’s blog, “Economic Security for Middle Class Families,” the case is made that the middle class, as we know it, is slowing dwindling. Middle class individuals are at risk for falling out based on five core economic factors: assets, educational achievement, housing costs, budget and healthcare (Thoma, 2007). The history of the middle class is explored- it came about after World War II and the Great Depression. At that time, the lower class was able to enter the middle class, and the middle class could move to the top of the classification. It has always been difficult to move from middle class to upper class (although it has been done by some a few). The stagnant economy is putting the middle class at risk of sliding into the lower classes of poor. The structural-functional approach to this problem is at a macro level of analysis. Social stratification, which includes the middle class, is seen as a system of unequal rewards that benefits society as a whole. Social position reflects personal talents and abilities in a competitive economy. Unequal rewards boost economic production by encouraging people to work harder and try new ideas. Linking greater rewards to more important work is widely accepted. The social-conflict approach also looks the problem from a macro level of analysis. Stratification is a division of a society’s resources that benefits some people and harms others. Social position reflects the way society divides resources. Unequal rewards only serve to divide society, creating “haves” and “have-nots.” There is widespread opposition to social inequality. Using a structural-functional approach to look at the demise of the middle class would point out that the middle class is sliding backwards due to a lack of personal talent and ability. Since
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