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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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    OTA 105878/Xenia Jones
    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 ...

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