Social Stratification Summary
Social stratification is the division of large numbers of people into layers according to their relative power, property, and prestige. It applies to both nations and to people within a nation, society, or other group. Social stratification affects all of one 's life chances from the access to material processions to their position in society to their life expectancy. Although they may differ as to which system of social stratification they employ, all societies stratify their members. The four major systems of social stratification are slavery, caste, estate, and class.
Slavery is defined as a form of social stratification in which some people own other people. It has been common in world history with…show more content… By dominating their society 's major social institutions and, thereby, controlling information and ideas, members of the ruling elite are able to socialize other group members into accepting their "proper places" in the social order. Marx believed the elite maintained their position at the top of the stratification system by seducing the oppressed into believing that their welfare depend on keeping society stable. Gerhard Lenski suggested the key to understanding stratification is based on the accumulation of surplus.
Depending on the political climate and resources available to those in power and those who are ruled, the stratification system is maintained by various means. This means include controlling ideas, controlling information, controlling technology, and the use of force. Of all methods, the use of force is the least efficient.
Stratification is universal, although the methods for stratification vary from culture to culture. Two examples of how stratification differs are illustrated by social stratification in Great Britain and the former Soviet Union. In Britain, the most striking features of the class system are differences in speech (including accents) and education. In the former Soviet Union, communism resulted in one set of social classes being replaced by another. The nations of the world can be divided into three categories, using the extent