Should we assume that stratification is natural and therefore inevitable - Assignment Example

Social stratification is totally about the division of society into layers. It also talks about unequal positions of individual in the society. In all societies, members are arranged in the terms of superiority, inferiority and equality. Those in the top strata have more power, privilege and prestige than those who are in the lower strata. Members of a group compare different individuals, as when selecting a mate, or employing a worker, or dealing with a neighbour, or developing friendship with an individual.

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They also compare group such as castes, races, colleges, cities, athletics teams. These comparison are valuations, and when a member of a group agrees, these judgements are social evaluations. Inequality among individuals is the idea of having stratification in the society. Gisbert said that “Social stratification is the division of society into permanent group of categories linked with each other by the relationship of superiority and subordination[1]”. When we talk about Social stratification is universal. It is differentiated by age, sex, and personal characteristics also.

The role played by adults is somehow different from that of children; and those who have rank and file differs from hunters or warriors. Stratification is natural and therefore, inevitable because stratification is the law of nature, men are equal only if it is concerned to body structure, but their physical appearance, political, religious, mental, moral and economic classes are different. “Social inequality in unconsciously evolved device by which societies ensures that the most important positions are conscientiously filled by the most qualified person[2]”.

Four types of social stratification caste, class and estates. Social stratification always remains natural because these four types of stratifications is followed. First three types of stratifications depends on religious and legally sanctioned inequalities and class divisions are not officially recognised, but stem from economic factors affecting the material circumstances of people’s lives[3]. In addition to this gender inequality is commonly evading in society. It refers to the uneven distribution of observations based on their gender.

Gender has always negative consequences for women. Inequalities regarding gender are more deep rooted than any other class system. It is considered that women does not exist because they don’t have their equal say in the society as a result there is almost no society in the world which we can say that it has women right in every aspect of social life. Men are more influential in wealth and social life as compared to women. The stratification system decide largely the position that a man occupies in society.

When we talk about India there are a lot of differences between girls and boys in poor families because they think why to invest in the education of girl child because they are likely to get married and leave home and they cannot bring back the economic returns to the household that the boys will. In India many villages are still lacking the basic facilities of toilets because of which parents do not want to send their girl child to school. Parents are also feared about violence towards girls in public places.

When we talk about the theory of Karl Marx and Weber, Marx mostly says that “social class is a group of people who stand in a common relationship to the means of production”. [4] Marx to some extent placed primary emphasis on class, which he saw as an objectively given characteristics of the economic structures of the society. According to him in pre-industrial societies there are two main classes which consist of the owners of the land and those who are actively engaged in producing from those lands.

Marx was struck by the inequalities created by the capitalist system. In earlier times agrarian societies are considered as poor and aristocrats are the ones who were living the luxurious life. The inequalities between the working class and capitalist were not strictly economic in nature. There are many authors who criticise Marx’s theory, one of the major critique found that people identify less rather than more with their social class position.

Marx also argued that status distinctions are the result of class division in society. Marx also believed that economic base of society influences the general character of all other aspects of culture and social structure, such as law, religion, education and government. Approach of Max Weber is analysed on the theory developed by Marx, but modified and more elaborated. Weber says that social stratification is not merely about class, but it is formed by additional two aspects i. e. status and party.

He accepted Marx’s view that class is founded on objectively given economic conditions, but Weber saw a greater variety of economic factor as an important in class formation then was recognised by Marx. Weber’s theory refers to difference between social groups in the social honour or the prestige they are accorded by others. Weber also argued that status often varies independently of class division. Weber’s writing on stratification is considered as important because it shows about the dimension of stratification besides class strongly influences people’s lives.

Weber pulls attention to the complex interplay of class, status and party as distinct parts of social stratification creating a more flexible basis for observed studies of stratification. [5] No, class is only about being rich and poor. Class is also related to status in the society. Different statuses arises in society as people do different things, engage in different activities and pursue different vocations. The idea of social status also separates individuals not only physically but sometimes even mentally. Status in class in not ascribed but it is achieved.

Factors like income, occupation, wealth, education, life-styles etc. decides the class of an individual. Gisbert truly said that “A social class is a category of persons having a definite status in society which permanently determines their relation to other groups[6]”. Social class include those people who share a common relationship to the means of production. The class system is universal in nature. It is found in almost all modern complex societies. Class is system is also secular in which individuals can move from lower class to upper class and vice-versa.

Class system is never imposes any restrictions on marriage, members are free to choose their life partner from any of the class. In class system inequalities are not based on personal relationship such as between slave and master or lower and higher class individual. The major difference of inequality is of pay and working conditions. There is absolute poverty which relates with physical poverty and lack of fundamental requirements, absolute poverty can be measured by determine poverty line which is based on the needs of basic goods, required for human survival.

Social exclusion refers to the process by which individuals may be separated from the society. Homelessness is one of the most extreme forms of social exclusion. Most of the homeless people are in the temporary accommodation, although there are still many who sleep on the street. Surveys also shows that the about a quarter of people who sleep rough have spent time in mental health institutions. Social exclusion is considered as wider term than poverty and includes lack of resources and income and exclusion from the labour market, services and social relation.

It is not only the result of people being excluded; it can also result from people being excluded themselves from aspects of mainstream society. Ruth Lister (2004) concludes that the broad concept of social exclusion is the useful one for scientist, provided it is not seen as the concept of poverty, which, she contends, remains central to our understanding of inequality and disadvantage. [7] In a number of ways, the very wealthy are able to escape from their social and financial responsibilities into a closed, private realm largely separate from rest of the society.

Just as social exclusion at the ‘bottom’ undermines social solidarity and cohesion, exclusion at the ‘top’ is similarly determined to an integrated society. [8] Education is the main factor which plays a very important role in removing stratification and inequality. Social inequalities are obvious in education system, as they are in the broader society, though in much of the developed world, girls are doing better at all level of education than boys, which is studied reversal from the early twentieth century.

Education also helps in development of universal literacy and helps student to learn the strategies to fight with racism and other social issues. According to Emile Durkheim “education play an important role in socialization for example through education children gain an understanding of the common values in society and uniting the multitude of separate individuals and these common values include religion, self-discipline and moral beliefs”[9]. I would like to conclude my essay by saying that Social stratification seems natural and evitable.

There are certain ways or methods through which we can control this stratification but society cannot be grown with the same type of people in it, therefore, it needs the division in the society. Poverty, gender and financial condition are considered as a key factor of division of class and caste. Theory of Marx and Weber which talk about stratification have very few differences. Weber agrees with the view of Marx, but he modifies the theory of Marx. In the end, education plays an important role to overcome the social exclusion and social stratification, it helps individual to raise his voice against the society.