Characteristics of Social Stratification

Social Stratification

Social stratification is a system whereby people in the society are categorized depending on various factors such as income, ethnicity, occupation, and level of education. Three main types of social stratification are as :

  1. Caste social stratification,
  2. Class social stratification and
  3. Stratification based on estate or slavery.

Main characteristics of social stratification are as follows

1. Social-Economic classification or categorization: A stratified society is one with distinct social classes. Most of the social stratification types are based on the social-economic classification

2. Universal: Social divisions are found in almost all societies and cultures (developing countries to developed countries), sometimes deliberately and in other circumstances subconsciously in various forms.

3. Hierarchical: Startas are arranged in hierarchical order For example Indian Caste System

4. Preserves the status quo: Categorization of people into different social classes is meant to ensure that the status quo is preserved.

5. Inequality in income, wealth distribution and social status: This means if a person has a high capital income he/she falls in the upper class. Those with lower-income fall in the lower class and so on!

6. Unequal control over natural resources such as land:For example, the high-class or the rich class people can own more land or other resources. On the other hand, the poor or the low-class people own fewer resources.

7. Is in diverse forms: Diverse in nature & remains same with only differences in the name. Caste social stratification, slavery stratification, high-class, middle class, etc., are few such examples.

8. It has consequences: such as racial and class discrimination, unjust application of the law, and increasing income gap between the rich and the poor. It also leads to resentment between social classes.

9. It is purely social: It does not focus on natural abilities of an individual other than inequalities that have been caused by the society.

10. Inequality of opportunity: Some strata of society will usually have more opportunities for work, education and so on than others.

11. Stereotyping: Sometimes, people will stereotype the members of different social strata, cementing a particular image of them in the public’s mind.

12. Dissatisfaction: The inequalities described above can lead to dissatisfaction, and even unrest, among the populace in a stratified society.

Conclusion: It is very important to identify and to combat the inequalities that are associated with social stratification.


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