In cities outcastes were permitted to engage in occupations above their degree. The bourgeoisie are the owners of the means of production, such as factories and other businesses, while the proletariat are the workers. Even the capitalists do not form a single class. Tumin and Schwartz have argued that social inequality is not inevitable. For example, individuals in state jobs, such as an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or a member of the United States Congress, may hold little property or status but they still hold immense power.
According to him it has come into being due to the functional necessity of the social system. It maintains that society is a sum of different parts of the system, working to run the whole system. Open systems, which are based on achievement, allow movement and interaction between layers and classes. They are generally regarded as a successful people in the society. In the case of the United States the prevalent attitude assigning low status to the Negro class is perhaps adequately explained by the historical fact that Negroes were for one hundred years or more assigned to a slave status. If, on the other hand, he is born into a family which does not open up these opportunities easily, he is naturally condemned to a lower rung of social fabric. It may be noted that this dimension of stratification produces effects independently of the other dimensions, and that possession of education and knowledge may help one to acquire control over other dimensions of stratification.
Thus there were the slave and slave-master, the noble and serf, the gentry and the commonalty. There is one almost infallible symptom of a shared life style that enables persons otherwise unknown to one another to recognise that they belong essentially to the same class. Emile Durkheim and Ferdinand Tonnies also discussed economic strata in their interpretation of Gesellschaft and organic solidarity. Feudal systems: It began around the 8th century in Middle Europe and lasted till the 15th century. Each estate had a state. Although individuals may support or fight inequalities, social stratification is created and supported by society as a whole.
Sometimes manufacturers have an edge over traders in terms of enjoyment of social esteem. It is not simply a function of individual differences. Universal: Stratification is applicable to nearly all human civilizations of the past and present. First is the ease and amount of social mobility. The order in which the list has been drawn up does not mean any order of relative importance.
It was present even in the small wondering bonds. Over and above the guild-men the lawyers, doctors and financiers, who were mostly Jews, constituted a higher class in the town. Theorists such as Ralf Dahrendorf, however, have noted the tendency toward an enlarged middle-class in modern Western societies due to the necessity of an educated workforce in technological and service economies. According to Marxian thesis, Brahmins would form an inferior class because they do not own property in this case, but in Hindu society they nevertheless are considered belonging to the superior class. Workers are said to possess class consciousness when they feel that their interests as workers are common and since the interests are common they must exhibit class solidarity among themselves and common attitudes towards their enemy class—the capitalists. Many of those who suffered during the recession are back to work and are busy rebuilding their lives. According to Davis, social inequality is an unconsciously evolved device by which societies insure that the most important positions are conscientiously filled by the most qualified persons.
As a social structure, it may be as the differentiation of statuses and social roles into ranked orders or a system of layered hierarchy of social relationship. Slavery is a social stratification system that no longer exists in most part of the world. Therefore, we resort to the practice of classifying them and reacting to them as members of a class. They occupy higher positions and social inequality is thus found in the society. In one word, when individuals and groups are ranked, according to some commonly accepted basis of valuation in a hierarchy of status levels based upon the inequality of social positions, social stratification occurs. Human society is not homogeneous but heterogeneous.
Since the caste system is hierarchical, a society that practices it is often faced with the challenge of class resentment. There is a general consensus behind these values. Characteristics of Social Stratification: On the basis of the analysis of the different definitions given by eminent scholars, social stratification may have the following characteristics. In modern societies there is a fairly close relation between economic and social status. In that case to know as to why a particular community classifies a particular class inferior or superior, we may have to study the past or present experiences which have produced that attitude. Marxian theory wrongly defines class antagonism as the only relationship between the two economic classes. Criterion of Birth: In feudal and early medieval times status was fixed by birth.
The capitalists owned the means of production and wielded great political power enjoying thereby high status. The distinction is important, but Tumin has confused the two. It means a change in social status. Another important factor is the source of remuneration of those who follow it. Sometimes, the attitude held by a community may be merely traditional and not the result of any logical conclusion. Biological traits to not become relevant in patterns of social superiority and inferiority until they are socially recognized and given importance by being incorporated into the beliefs, attitudes and values of the people in the society.
The question arises as to what factors affect the prestige of an occupation. A comprehensive study of major world economies revealed that homicide, infant mortality, obesity, teenage pregnancies, emotional depression, teen suicide, and prison population all correlate with higher social inequality. The former is more related to oligarchy, which means the social system of a state is under the political control of a small elite group, and patrimonial capitalism while the latter would be tied closely to meritocracy and democracy. However, sociologists recognize that social stratification is a society-wide system that makes inequalities apparent. For a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of social stratification, we may note that the social positions assigned to the various social strata are unequal with regard to property, power, social evaluation and psychic gratification. Stratification involves the distribution of unequal rights and privileges among the members of a society. Gender, perhaps is the oldest and permanent source of social differentiation.
In a society we deal with many strangers, all of whose characteristics we cannot possibly know. Middle Class: The division of society into capitalists ant proletariat, was not, however, the final division of society. The lives of slaves naturally were at extreme contrast with the lives of their masters or the land owners. In the upper echelons of the working world, people with the most power reach the top. The second characteristic of social stratification is its antiquity. Davis and Moore further claim that any society can be equal, but only to the extent that people are willing to let anyone perform any job.