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2. Define the terms racism and sexism. Describe how these two issues relate to one’s socio-economic status (social class). Give at least two examples (each) of how racism and sexism are institutionalized in our society. In your opinion, how might our country’s struggles with racism and sexism play out in the future? Be sure to use examples and details to back your point of view.

Intro Sociology
Discussion Overview, Topic 9: Stratification, Class, and World Inequality
What is stratification?
What are some reasons to study and understand it?
SATISFACTION is systematic, patterned inequality. It results in the creation of “layers” ( strata) or
hierarchical groupings in society based on one’s access to resources, power, and social prestige.
Intersectionality is a term that denoted the intertwined and overhauling nature of stratifying
variables in a society, such as economic class, race & ethnicity, sex & gender, sexual orientation, and
What are “life chances” and how do class strata impact our life chances?
● Odds we will live a ling, successful life by the standards of our time and culture( Weber)
● Impacted by social structure and relations to institutions.
● Access to economic resources, housing, medical care, education, just treatment under the law.
● Life chances typically reflect one’s class position.
How are “lifestyles” or class traits different then life chances?
● Leisure time, rectration, hobbies, interests
● Consumption habits and tastes
● Conspicuous consumption to show “status”
● Less rigidly linked to social class ( why? how?) How is social class different then other stratification systems, such as caste?
How have past sociologists analyzed class systems in the modern, capitalist world? (Marx, Mills,
The Marxist Class Model:
● Society mainly has two classes based on position in the economy; their interests are oppositional
The powerful “ruling” class, the Bourgeoisie, owns & controls the means of production & political
The “lower” class, the Proletariat, owns nothing but the ability to work, members are forced to sell their
labor power for wages in order to subsist.
There are people who exist outside of this two class system(the petite bourgeoisie) but often they are on
their way up or down into one of the above classes) .
C. Wright Mills and the “Power Elite”
● American Society is more of an “Elite-Mass Dichotomy’’ than a middle – class society
● Elite=Leaders in Big Business, Government, And the Military(Education and Thank-tanks,
● Mass=Everyone else who has relatively little impact on decision making and the direction of
society; outsiders to the true channels of power
Weber’s View of Stratification and class:
● Weber had a more multifaceted view of stratification than Marx; while he agreed that economic
position was important, he saw other stratifying factors…
● Class- The economic factor in one’s life chances
● Status- The Social esteem or prestige one enjoyed in society, often based on their occupation,
reputation, education, or family name
● Party-(power) Weber’s term for the powerful groups, organizations, and networks one belonged
to that gave them power and resources to attain goals
What is socio-economic status (SES)? How do sociologists use it to analyze our current
social strata in the United States? Why is income alone not a good measure of class
Contemporary Sociologists use S.E.S to describe social strata. Like Weber, Socioeconomic status
uses 3 factors to determine one;s relative position in the society: Income, Occupation and
Why is income alone not always a good measure of a person or family’s class position?
Income alone is not a precise measure of social class because..
Some low-paying jobs have high prestige and some high-paying jobs have low prestige
High earning “blue collar” jobs may be dangerous, very physically demanding, lack benefits,
stability, security
Impact of education on gate-keeping, cultural capital, and social capital
Work environment and autonomy issues. Order taker?Order given?
4. If we were to divide the U.S. into social classes using SES, roughly what percentage of our
population would be in the Upper, Middle, and Lower Classes? In addition to income and
wealth, what would some of the characteristics of each class be in terms of education,
occupations, work environment, and stability/mobility?
â—¦ The Upper Class (Resources, Occupations, Education, Life Chances)- 1-2%
Occupations- Investors, top doctors and lawyers, nationally known business owners, CEOS,
EducationWealth and income levels-investments,
Life chances and Class Traits( lifestyles) Differences between the “old rich” and “new rich”
The poor or lower(poverty) class — 13 %
Wealth and income levels
Life Chances and Class traits.
The “missing class” (newman ) —- 15%
People Between Povery and the Middle Class
Could Fall into poverty easily due to setbacks.
By Many, the Middle-Class is estimated to make up almost 80% of the US population. Most Americans selfidentify as middle-class, however, there are pronounces differences among those at the top and those claser to the
● 3 main strata of the Middle class:
● Upper-middle class
● Middle-class or Traditional white collar workers( typically work in offices or professional
occupations, management, nursing, )
● Working-class or Blue collar Workers. (low skills, home health aides, require physical work) . ———————–different than the book!
Upper-middle class – 10-15 %
Occupations- doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers.
Education-most impacted by education, post bachelor educationWealth and income levelsLife chances and class traits(lifestyles) –
Mid-Middle class —–30-35%
Occupations_teachers, nurses, accountants,
Education_BA, College Degree,
Wealth and income levels-own home or condo, have benefits. Around 74K,,
Life chances and class Traits(lifestyles) The working class- 30-35%
Occupations- driving a truck, plumber, fire fighters,
Education-inst as necessary,might have certifications
Wealth and income levels -35-100K
Life chances and Class Traits-lower life chances, might be dangerous work
A few summary idead on SES9 (class) in the US
● The upper and lower classes are the easiest to define: conversely, there are a lot of greay areas
and fluidity in the boundaries, that separate the working and middle classes, making them
difficult to define,
● The middle class in the strata that is most shaped by education; degrees, professional
credentials, and work environments/stability tend to be the key factors that separate the working
and middle classes
● Historically there has been both intergenerational and intergenerational class mobility, but
patterns of social mobility have changed in the past few decades especially for the working and
lower middle classes.
● 5.
How great are the economic disparities (income and wealth) in our country? Why is wealth
disparity more meaningful than income disparity?
6. What are some of the consequences of inequality and poverty in our country
and in the world? How do relative and absolute poverty impact both life
chances and life- styles?
Consequences of inequality and poverty include
● Food insecurity, hunger, and poor nutrition
● Lack of adequate housing or homelessness
Negative impact on mental and physical health
Parental stress and “bad”parenting practices
Environmental and occupational hazards
Economic segregation
Lack of access to higher quality schools
Stigma of being poor-stereotyped as ignorant, lazy, deviant, criminal, and unworthy of help
7. How do levels of world inequality and poverty compare with those in the U.S.?
two connected?
How are the
About ½ the world’s people live on
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