Relationships and Social Lives This Is the Essay
- Length: 5 pages
- Sources: 7
- Subject: Sociology
- Type: Essay
- Paper: #69916759
Excerpt from Essay :
Relationships and Social Lives
This is the hierarchical way in which large social groups based on their control over basic resources. A key characteristic of stratification systems is the extent to which the structure is flexible. Slavery, a form of stratification in which people are owned by others, is an extreme type. In a caste system, people's status is determined at birth based on their parents' position in society
The class system, which exists in the United States, is a type of stratification based on ownership of resources and on the type of work people do. Functionalist perspectives on the U.S. class structure view classes as broad groupings of people who share similar levels of privilege based on their roles in the occupational structure. According to the Davis-Moore thesis, positions that are most important within society, requiring the most talent and training, must highly rewarded. Many people define classes as those that have been categorized based on income, level of education and probably the general occupation of the individual.
1. Social status
It has been argued that it is impossible to understand someone's behavior without the looking closely on the social stratification Thomson 2005, says that the class position may have a great influence on almost everything that one does. The social status in most cases describes the number of members in a particular group, and in general terms the higher the ranking based on such scales as prestige and influence, the higher the skill and education level required to perform them
2. Dual income controversy
Income is one of the most commonly used attributes of a household to determine its class status. The relationship between incomes, which mostly arises from the scarcity of a certain skill, may however, proves to be more complex than initially perceived. While the idea is that income reflects status, household income may just be the product of two or more incomes.
In 2005, 22% of American households had two income earners. The vast majority (97%) of households in the top quantile had two or more income earners. This means that the majority of household incomes in the top quintile are the result of two income earners pooling their resources, establishing a close link between perceived affluence and the number of income earners in a given household This raises the question of whether or not the combination of incomes results in higher social status. Of course, there is no definite answer as class is a vague sociological concept.
Kingsly 2006 says that the position that one occupies does not bring power and prestige to that individual because it draws a higher income, rather, it draws a high income because it is functionally important and the available personnel are for one reason or another scarce. It is therefore superficial and erroneous to regard high income as the cause of a man's power and prestige, just as it is erroneous to think that a man's fever is the cause of his disease... The economic source of power and prestige is not income primarily, but the ownership of capital goods (including patents, good will, and professional reputation). Such ownership should be distinguished from the possession of consumers' goods, which is an index rather than a cause of social standing.
Education depends on how the term middle class is to be defined. Tertiary education is rarely free, but the costs vary widely: tuition at elite private colleges often exceeds $200,000 for a four-year program. Also, scholarships offered by universities and government do exist, and low-interest loans are available. Still, the average cost of education, by all accounts, is increasing. The attainment of post-secondary and graduate degrees is the perhaps most important feature of a middle and upper middle class person with the university being regarded as the most essential institution and gatekeeper of the professional middle class. Educational attainment is also directly linked to income.
In 2005, the vast majority of those with doctorate and professional degrees were among the nation's top 15% of income earners. Those with bachelor degrees had incomes considerably above the national median while the median income for those with some college education remained near the national median. According to U.S. Census Bureau, 9% of persons aged 25 or older had a graduate degree, 27.9% had a Bachelor's degree or more with 53% having attended college. With 85% of the population having graduated high school, it becomes apparent that the average American does not have a college degree,…