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Definition and Impact of Social Stratification System

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Social stratification refers to the division of a society into layers (or strata) whose occupants have unequal access to social opportunities and rewards. People in the top strata enjoy power, prosperity, and prestige that are not available to other members of society; people in the bottom strata endure penalties that other members of society escape. In a stratified society, inequality is part of the social structure and passes from one generation to the next.

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People who occupy the same layer of the socioeconomic hierarchy are known as a social class (Bassis, 1990:216). According to Henslin (2004:192), a social class is a large group of people who rank closely to one another in wealth, power, and prestige. CHARACTERISTICS OF STRATIFICATION SYSTEM:

Social stratification is a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy. Social stratification is a trait of society, not simply a function of individual differences. Social stratification persists over generations.

Social stratification is universal but variable.
Social stratification involves not just inequality but beliefs. STRATIFICATION SYSTEMS:
Hereditary systems of rank, usually religiously dictated, that tend to be fixed and immobile. CHARACTISTICS OF A CASTE SYSTEM:
Caste largely determines occupation.
systems generally mandate endogamy, people have to marry within their own caste. Caste systems limit out-group social contacts.

Social ranking based primarily on economic position in which achieved characteristics can influence social mobility. Rossides (1997) uses five-class model to describe class system: CHARACTERISTICS OF A SOCIAL CLASS SYSTEM:

In a class system, social stratification is based on both birth and individual achievement. In class systems, status consistency, the degree of consistency of a person’s social standing across various dimensions of social inequality, is lower than in caste systems


Estate stratification systems were agrarian and peasants were required to work. Land leased to them by nobles in exchange for military protection and other services. CONSENSUS THEORY

This is a theory of right and wrong which means literally “An action is right if everyone agrees that it is.” It focuses on social order. Social Order takes place if people will do their tasks and follow what is expected of them. Example, obeying traffic rules. Social order can be achieved through Social control. Rules and regulations lead to social order.


This theory’s excellence lays in the fact that debate, dialogue, discussion, and perspective-taking would continue until every qualified member of the community came to see the same truth. It is all-inclusive. In theory, every person involved in the decision-making-process would be consulted and all opinions would be measured as equally important.

Communities these days are too big to get everyone’s vote on every issue; decisions on the right course of action would never get decided successfully since the process to reach consensus would be very difficult.

Some people are wiser, better listeners, more agreeable, and have a better understanding of right and wrong than others do. So, it is not advisable to attempt to get everyone to agree all the time to know what is right.

It is the theory that a continual struggle exists between all different aspects of a particular society. The struggle that occurs does not always have to involve physical violence.

Conflict theory seeks to catalogue the ways in which those in power seek to stay in power. The conflict theory basically states that all problems are caused by different groups and their status and how they compete for the necessities in life.


I am against social class stratification. The reasons for being against this idea are discussed below:

Social stratification can cause many social problems. Stratification is a major source of societal tension and conflict that will inevitably lead to instability and social change.

Homicide, infant mortality, obesity, teenage pregnancies, emotional depression, teen suicide, and prison population all correlate with higher social inequality. Social inequality is a condition in which members of society have different amounts of wealth, prestige, or power.

Inequalities in power and reward are built into all social structures. Individuals and groups that benefit from any particular structure strive to see it maintained. And absence of such power or reward results into mental illness, low morale, and dissatisfaction.

Different people have different rankings in these categories, which have good as well as bad impacts on humans.


Good occupation holds respect and admiration in society. People who do not
have good jobs are unable to enjoy reputation specific person has earned within an occupation, which results into emotional depression, committing suicide and such people feel inequality.


Educational institutions in Pakistan have two different categories i.e., Government Schools and Private schools. Course books, syllabus and medium of teaching are totally different. The government schools are Urdu medium and private schools are mostly English medium. Students of Govt. schools are unable to speak English more confidently. No importance is given to their grooming, which makes them shy, unconfident and ultimately these students do not get good jobs.


Wealth remains highly concentrated. White-collar jobs offer no more income, security, or satisfaction than blue-collar jobs did a century ago. This difference in wealth or income makes low income employee dissatisfied. THE IMPACT OF PLACE OF RESIDENCE:

Living in a posh area is sometimes considered as a status symbol. People who are not that wealthy to get residence in a posh area compare themselves to residents of rich area, and such comparison makes them dissatisfied. THE IMPACT OF RACE AND GENDER:

We live in a society that attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual regardless of your social class. If I don’t see how that makes me part of the problem of privilege, I won’t see how I am part of the solution. Gender differentiation does exist in our society on a very large scale. Men are always favored on women. Women are not allowed to get education or work outside their homes. Sometimes these restrictions result into depression, their self-esteem gets hurt.

In a caste society, people have to marry within their own caste. Such contact is seen by the members of the upper caste as unclean. In the Pakistani caste system upper caste individuals avoid even the shadow of a lower caste individual. Social systems generally mandate endogamy, people have to marry within their own caste.

Cite this Definition and Impact of Social Stratification System

Definition and Impact of Social Stratification System. (2016, Aug 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/social-stratification-2/

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