Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Social stratification is a sociological term for the hierarchical arrangement of social classes, castes, and strata within a society. Oftentimes this is arranged in terms of economics; however, it can be used in reference to any segment of a socioeconomic class.
Social stratification is regarded quite differently by the principal perspectives of sociology. Proponents of structural-functional analysis suggest that since social stratification exists in all societies, a hierarchy must therefore be beneficial in helping to stabilize their existence. Conflict theorists consider the inaccessibility of resources and lack of social mobility in many stratified societies. They conclude, often working from the theories of Karl Marx, that stratification means that working class people are not likely to advance socioeconomically, while the wealthy can continue to exploit the proletariat generation after generation.
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