Social Stratification and Other Forms of Social Differentiation - Social Organization - Lecture Slides, Slides for Social structure and social organization. Cochin University of Science and Technology
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Social Stratification and Other Forms of Social Differentiation - Social Organization - Lecture Slides, Slides for Social structure and social organization. Cochin University of Science and Technology

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This lecture includes following key points: Social Stratification and Other Forms of Social Differentiation, Social Stratification, Universality of Stratification, Ascribed Status, Achieved Status, Stereotypes, Stratific...
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Social Stratification and Other

Forms of Social Differentiation

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social stratification

• the unequal distribution of goods and

services, rights and obligations, power and

prestige

• all attributes of positions in society, not

attributes of individuals

• universality of stratification

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STRATIFICATION & STATUS

• status - ascribed & achieved

• ascribed status - social positions that

people hold by virtue of birth

• achieved status - social positions attained

as a result of individual action

• shift from kin based societies to modern

society involves growth in importance of

achieved status

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Roles, Stereotypes, Stratification

• Roles -- tasks & activities that a culture assigns to people

• Stereotypes -- oversimplified strongly held ideas about the characteristics of people

• Stratification -- unequal distribution of rewards (socially valued resources, power, prestige, personal freedom) between people reflecting their position in the social hierarchy

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Stratified Society

• stratification means

– there are significant breaks in the distribution of

goods services, rights, obligations, power

prestige

– as a result of which are formed collectivities or

groups we call strata

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3 TYPES OF SOCIETIES

• egalitarian societies

• rank societies

• Class/caste societies

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Egalitarian Societies • no social groups having greater access to

economic resources, power, or prestige

• usually foragers

• Morton Fried - "there are as many positions of prestige in any age-sex grade as there are people capable of filling them“

• differences in prestige not related to economic differences - reciprocity; hunter & ability & sharing of catch

• the culture works to separate the status achieved from actual possession of wealth

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Rank Societies

• do not have unequal access to economic resources or to power, but they do contain social groups having unequal access to prestige

• generally practice agriculture & herding

• unequal access to prestige often reflected in position of chief to which only some members of a specified group in the society can succeed

• position of chief partly hereditary, treated with deference

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Kwakiutl & the potlatch - the drive

for prestige

• Kwakiutl chiefs never content with status & prestige, always insecure

• claims to hereditary position fragile

• make claims to family titles (totem poles) but others can claim descent lines too

• justify position as chief - the potlatch

• return potlatches, rival feasts

• ceaseless flow of prestige & valuables moving in opposite directions

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The Potlatch and Chiefly Rank

• potlatch not the result of maniacal whims

of megalomaniac chiefs in the quest for

prestige

• status rivalry through competitive feasts of

the potlatch

• assures the production & redistribution of

wealth among peoples who have not fully

acquired a ruling class

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Versus Egalitarian Societies

• in egalitarian societies competitive displays &

conspicuous consumption by individuals

disappears

• anyone foolish enough to boast how great

he/she is gets accused of witchcraft

• reciprocity predominates, not redistribution

– remember “Eating XMAS in the Kalahari”

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class societies

• Unequal access to all 3 advantages,

economic resources, power, prestige

• Open & closed class systems

– the extent to which mobility occurs allowing

people to pass through inequalities

• Closed system

– No mobility

– tend to persist across generations

• Open system

– ease of social mobility permitted

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caste, slavery, and class systems

• caste systems

– closed, hereditary systems of stratification often dictated by religion

– hierarchical social status is ascribed at birth, people locked into their parents social position

– legal & religious sanctions, occupation, commensality applied against people who seek to cross them

• apartheid - caste like system, legally maintained hierarchy based on skin color (the color bar)

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caste, slavery, and class systems

• slavery – closed class system

– people treated as property

– the most extreme & coercive form of legalized

inequality

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Open Class System

• facilitates mobility

• individual achievement & personal merit

determining social rank

• hierarchical social status is achieved on

the basis of people's efforts

• ascribed status (family background,

ethnicity, gender, religion, skin color) less

important

• blurred class lines & wide range of status

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Gender and Social Stratification

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Gender and Anthropology

• interest in hierarchical relations between

men and women has been a feature of

anthropology since its earliest days

• 19th century evolutionists and their

explanations for the rise of culture

• promiscuous horde gives way to socially

organized marriage and kinship, for

example

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Gender and Anthropology

• anthropology of gender has been key in

establishing that sexual inequality is not a

biological fact but instead and cultural and

historical one

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development of the study of sex,

sexuality and gender in

anthropology

Anthropology of Women early 1970's attention

to the lack of women in standard ethnographies

Anthropology of Gender challenged the basis

for understanding social roles of male and

female

Feminist Anthropology challenged the

biological basis of sex and sexuality

– and the foundations of anthropology as it had been

done

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SEX, SEXUALITY, GENDER

• not the same thing

• all societies distinguish between males

and females

• a very few societies recognize a third,

sexually intermediate category

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SEX (sexual dimorphism)

• marked differences in male & female

biology

• contrasts in:

– primary sex characteristics

• genitalia & reproductive organs

– secondary sex characteristics

• breasts, voice, hair, also average weight, height, &

strength

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SEXUALITY (reproduction)

• all societies regulate sexuality

– lots of variation cross-culturally

• degree of restrictiveness not always

consistent through life span

– adolescence vs. adulthood

• Normative sexual orientation

– Heterosexual, homosexual, transexual

• Sexuality in societies change over time

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GENDER

• GENDER - the cultural construction of

male & female characteristics

– vs. the biological nature of men & women

• SEX differences are biological - GENDER

differences are cultural

• behavioral & attitudinal differences

between the sexes emerge from culture

rather than biology

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GENDER ROLES, STEREOTYPES,

STRATIFICATION

• gender roles - tasks & activities that a culture assigns to sexes

• gender stereotypes - oversimplified strongly held ideas about the characteristics of men & women

• gender stratification - unequal distribution of rewards (socially valued resources, power, prestige, personal freedom) between men & women reflecting their position in the social hierarchy

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universals versus particulars

• universal subordination of women is often

cited as one of the true cross-cultural

universals, a pan-cultural fact

– Engels called it the “world historical defeat of

women”

• even so the particulars of women’s roles,

statuses, power, and value differ

tremendously by culture

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