Social Stratification



Socialstratification refers to a societal system, which ranks people in ahierarchy preferable the boy child over the girl child. The method ofgrouping people into different strata is evident all over the worldwith some groups having greater status, power, and wealth thanothers. Social stratification lies at the core of society and thediscipline of sociology. Inequality in the society is a fundamentalaspect of virtually all social processes and a person’s position inthe stratification system is the most consistent predictor of his orher behavior, attitudes, and life chances (Watson). Socialstratification links almost all aspects of society together andtherefore understanding it helps in discerning other changes in thesociety.

Allcultures treat people differently from others old/young andmales/females and so on. This differential treatment leads to socialinequality: unequal sharing of societal resources power, wealth,health, education, and prestige. Traditionally, since societies weresmaller they had minor differences among their individuals butnowadays as communities have become sophisticated, inequalities existacross categories. In modern capitalistic societies, one is assigneda particular place in the hierarchy based on wealth and incomefactors. In modern capitalistic societies, revenue and wealth aremajor factors in assigning one to a specific place in the hierarchy.The upper class is very wealthy, the middle class is the average ofthe society, and the lower class is, the poorer people of thesociety.

Culturalcomponents related to social stratification include class, status,and power. The class is a fundamental lens through which we seeothers and ourselves. Lower ranking people haves fewer resources andopportunities than those of relatively high rank. They believe thatuncontrollable external social factors and the power of others havegreater influence over their lives. On the other hand, those whoenjoy more resources and greater class status live in contexts thatreinforce their personal power and freedom (Desmond). The twodifferent ways that a social status can be achieved includeascription where one is placed in the stratification system throughinheritance.

Inaddition, a social status can be earned by an individual’sachievements referred to as an achieved status. An individual’ssocial strata can also be determined by the power they wield in thesociety. These people can have their way despite the resistance ofothers as members of the American Congress. They hold little propertyor status but have immense powers. An example of socialstratification can be seen while comparing people living in the firstand third world. There are those societies where the only form ofknowledge they know is traditional education. Being born in theseregions of third world countries insinuates that the individual isincapacitated on choosing a career path. People from these areasremain marginalized and end up dying in poverty.

Furthermore,when comparing government benefits, what seems like a largerdistribution may go to the poor, but in reality, these programs arethe first of many government programs to be cut. Moreover, despitethe poor having more medical benefits, the quality of care is oflower standards. For this reason, the poor become poorer and areassured to remain in their class structure. Social stratification isrelated to the cultural universal of status differentiation(Mascareño and Araujo). This is because, in stratification, adistinction is made between social groups and individuals based ontheir biological, socio-cultural, and physiological factors.


Desmond, Matthew. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Chicago: Crown/Archetype, 2016.

Mascareño, Aldo and Kathya Araujo. Legitimization in World Society. Newyork: Routledge, 2016.

Watson, James L. Class and in Post-Revolution China. London: Cambridge University Press, 2010.