History Of Social Stratification And Its Development

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History shows that people share an equal standard of social standing in the past. However, as societies evolved and have become more complex and complicated, they began to support and promote a division system. Presently, Stratification is defined as a system by which society ranks its members during hierarchy since all societies group their members. Before delving into this concept further, it is important to first comprehend its origin.

Social hierarchy is the foremost concern of sociology which refers to the classification of people on the basis of socio-economic conditions. According to Raymond W. Murray ‘Social stratification is a horizontal division of society into ‘higher’ and ‘lower” “social units’.

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In preliminary societies, little stratification exists as different roles were assigned to men and women. Having said that still they shared equal responsibilities in nurturing children and household chores. Social inequality was emerged during botanic, floral, Pastoral, and Agricultural Societies by differentiating the roles of members in a society. Over time, it was spread in other societies as well.

The authors of sociology—including Weber—thought that in the united states, unlike Europe, there was a classless society demonstrating upward portability. Amid the Incredible Discouragement, Robert and Helen Lynd, in their popular Middletown (1937) studies pointed out the division existing between working and the business classes in all areas of community life. While W. Lloyd Warner and colleagues at Harvard College connected anthropological strategies to consider the Social Life of an Advanced Community (1941) and developed six social classes with particular subcultures. Further, in 1953 Floyd Hunter’s consider of Atlanta, Georgia, moved the emphasis on stratification from status to control; reported a community control hierarchy.

From the 1960s to the 1980s, research in stratification was influenced by the attainment model of stratification, initiated at the University of Wisconsin by William H. Sewell. This approach empowers each occupation with a socioeconomic score to measure the space between individuals to highlight intergeneration differences. Peter M. Blau and Otis Dudley Duncan used this system within the study published under the title American Occupational Structure (1967). Gerhard Lenski considered whole societies and proposed an evolutionary theory in Power and Privilege (1966) demonstrating that the major sources of production were consistently related to particular systems of stratification. This theory was welcomed, but only by a minority of sociologists. In the 1960s, Marion Levy emphasized that less-developed nations will follow and would predictably develop institutions that paralleled those of the more economically advanced nations, which conclusively would cause a wide-reaching convergence of societies. Challenging the idea as a conservative defense of the West, Immanuel Wallerstein’s fashionable World-System proposed a more despondent world-system theory of stratification. Wallerstein claimed that advanced industrial nations would develop most rapidly and thereby widen global inequality by holding the developing nations during a permanent state of dependency. This will lead the world into an economic vicious circle.

Old stratification theories were challenged as a male-dominated approach and massively reconstructed within the 1970s to deal with the institutional gender inequalities dwelling in almost all societies. Rae Lesser Blumberg, drawing on the work of Lenski and economist Esther Boserup, theorized the idea of persistent inequality in Stratification, Socioeconomic, and Sexual Inequality (1978). Janet Saltzman Chafetz took economic, psychological, and sociological factors under consideration in Gender Equity: An Integrated Theory of Stability and alter (1990). Traditional theories of racial inequality were also challenged and improved by William Julius Wilson within the Truly Disadvantaged (1987). His book unveiled mechanisms that maintained and sustained segregation and disorganization in African American communities. Disciplinary specialization, especially within the areas of gender, race, collective ownership, state ownership, and bolshevism, came to dominate the sociological analysis. Sociologists probe into societies to eradicate or develop good social relationships.

As time passed and more research is done it was found that some investigative specializations, however, were short-lived. Despite their earlier popularity, ethnographic studies of communities, like those by Hunter, Warner, and therefore the Lynds, were mostly disregarded within the 1960s and virtually forgotten by the 1970s. Intensive case studies of bureaucracies begun within the ’70s followed a similar approach. Like economists, sociologists have increasingly turned to large-scale surveys and government data banks as sources for research. Stratification theory and research still undergo change and have seen substantive reappraisal ever since the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic system.

In today’s world, there are three systems of stratification including slavery, a Caste & a Class System. Depending upon the ideology, each nation has developed its own unique classifications. For example, in Hindu culture, there are five castes i.e Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. Another example is the apartheid caste system of Africa. In Africa, the caste systems are a form of social stratification found in numerous ethnic groups, particularly in the Sahel, West African, and North African regions. Even some of the societies have a rigid and strict caste system with embedded slavery whereas others are more diffuse and complex. Over the decades, sociologists have analyzed this concept and its effects on society. It is generally believed that other sociologists used common frameworks whereas Theorists Karl Marx and Max Weber showed disagreement specifically with regard to the nature of the class. Karl Max defined only two classes of people: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. On the other hand Weber considered power and reputation as basic determinants. 


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