Theories Of Society Essay

534 Words3 Pages
Social Stratification Social stratification refers to the division of society into layers. O’Donnell (1997) maintained that ‘stratification is the division of a society or groups into hierarchically ordered layers. Members of each layer are considered broadly equal but there is inequality between the layers. Among the main criteria by which people tend to be stratified are: class, gender, race, ethnicity and age’. Stratification is closely linked with ‘status’, it can be generally argued that people of a certain status that are considered to be at the top of the hierarchal system have certain privileges. Generally amongst privileged status groups, there is a tendency to not partake in common physical labour, therefore increasing life chances. ‘For example, a great deal of interest has been shown in economic constraints on actions which are concerned with ‘life chances’ and the commonly cited forms of stratification- class, gender, ethnicity, age and so on- are all, it is argued, bases on which to a greater or lesser extent life chances (amongst other things) are distributed. (Breen and Rottman, p19). Furthermore linked to status are class, power and occupation. Mills (2000) refers to these as ‘dimensions of stratification’. These four dimensions; occupation, class, status and power can act as a means of ranking people with respect to their different chances and values. Each of these dimensions looks more or less at income and the power money can hold in order to again increase life chances. However in terms of stratification, when we look at the power of classes, occupations and status groups, we usually refer to political power. ‘The power of such groups to influence or to determine the policies and activities of the state’. (Mills, p316) Social Imagination The sociological imagination can be described as the capacity to shift from
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