Social Stratification and Class Essay

1531 Words Jan 21st, 2006 7 Pages
Today in the United States, we read in the newspapers constantly about the state of "classes" in our country. For instance, it is often said at tax time that the Federal budget is balanced on the backs of the "middle class." To people in the "lower class," the promise is held that in a capitalist society, by working hard you can lift yourself out of the lower income bracket to join the "middle class." Entrepreneurs who can "find a need and fill it" can make it into the "upper class." The point is that this kind of thinking, a product of "social stratification theory," is ingrained upon our minds. As a society, we accept it as a fact that we live in a multi-tiered "class" system, and that this is the way it should be because it is …show more content…
An example of a social stratification model can be made of the Feudal System, with a dominant nobility (betters). Barons were at the upper strata, higher than the knights, who were at a lower strata. The subjected masses (lessers) were serfs and peasants; undoubtedly some were more clever and successful than others who occupied a lower strata. Another model would be the current United States, where the social strata starts with the "upper-upper class," the "upper class," the "upper-middle class," and so on down to the poor, or "lower-lower" class. In highly detailed social stratification models, trends and analyses are very complex. An excellent example of this is The Process of Stratification: Trends and Analyses by Robert Hauser and David Featherman. The many pages of tables and detailed analysis are exceedingly difficult to comprehend, which makes them difficult to use.
A model of social stratification is a snapshot in time which details the society as it exists at that time. In The Persistence of Social Inequality in America, John Dalphin states that "social stratification suggests that a society has divisions, cleavages, or splits within it. More specifically, it means that a society is divided into hierarchically arranged levels of families (and,

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