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Social Stratification and Sociological Theories

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1) Identify the determinants of social status and class in the United States.

2) Identify the characteristics of the different social classes in the United States.

3) Tell me how the sociological perspectives of Structure-Functionalism and Conflict apply to stratification and class.

4) State and defend your position on:

a) How future business firms will be organized.

b) Whether it is - or is not - inevitable that social structures will form in future organizations.

c) Whether it is - or is not - inevitable that easily observable differences (such as gender, ethnic, or racial differences) will be used as the basis for how the social structures of future organizations will be formed.

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Social Stratification Q&A

1.Determinants of Social Class and Status in the US

In the US,social status and class is determined by the following factors:economic factors, social factors as well as academic and cultural factors. For Pierre Bourdieu, social class is all about the determination of tastes and capacities. The upper class/bourgeoisie make more therefore their tastes and lifestyles/perspectives will be different from that of the working class as well as the underclass- the very poor. Economic equates to jobs and earnings. The richer you are, the higher you sit in the scale. Social factors include prestige that comes with career and capacity. For example, while you might not make as much as Bill Gates, as a US Senator you will also have political power. Academic factors also influence standing. Those with PhDs and MBAs and graduate degrees can earn more,potentially than plain High School graduates. Plus,it takes dedication and smarts to make it through college and grad school,hence it is bestowed respect. Here culture plays a part. America's culture is one that appreciates education and research making those who take them up perceived 'better' in society than those who did not. So, potentially, as an employer, I would trust the role of a manager to one with a Management Degree than to one who only has a high school diploma.

2. The Characteristics of Social Classes

The popular scale by Thomson and Hickey (2005) suggested that America's social classes are divided/determined as such:

Upper Class - consisting of about 1-5% of the total population,they hold much authority and power over the nation's economic and political affairs, owning a huge percentage of American businesses. They have incomes above $500k/annum and consist of CEOs, entrepreneurs,government officials and at the top sit industrialists like Rupert Murdoch and billionaires like Bill Gates. These are the ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides insight, information and advise and tackles all the questions listed in the original problem (see above) on the topic of Social Stratification & Social Theories. The solution is presented in a Q&A form. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic. A word version of the solution is attached for easy download and printing.

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See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

Social Stratification & Mobility: Bill Gates Case Study

Theoretical perspectives of social stratification

Consider the life story of Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corporation, to analyze the issue of social stratification through the three theoretical perspectives. Mr. Gates was born to a middle-class family. His mother was a school teacher and his father an attorney. Mr. Gates is now one of the wealthiest men on the planet. Read his biography at:

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/billg/bio.mspx

Respond to the following:

Explain how this ordinary, middle-class citizen moved to the top of the social stratification system using each of the sociological perspectives.

Determine why none of the theories support a concept of equal yet different social stratification.

Include a discussion that would explain, through one or more of the sociological perspectives, how a person could experience just the opposite by moving from a person of wealth and social notoriety to living in poverty.

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