Social Stratification Based on the Idea of Functional Necessity

Social Stratification

  •  Explain the difference between wealth and income. Which is more important to social mobility in the US? Why?

Wealth represents the stock of assets held by a person or household at a single point in time. These assets may include financial holdings and savings, but commonly also include the family home. Income is money received by a person or household over a period. Income is consisted of wages, salaries, and cash assistance from the government.

Wealth is more important to social mobility because wealth generates income.

This is especially important to the US, because the more money Americans make, the more money Americans will spend.

  •  Describe the American Dream. Which type of social mobility is most reflective of this ideal?

The American Dream is to be wealthy and well-liked. Upward mobility is the most reflective upon this ideal because an upward shift in social class is seen as beneficial and positive.

  • How is poverty defined in the US? What is PRWORA, and what changes resulted from PRWORA to both the poverty rate and the way welfare benefits are distributed?

In the US, poverty is defined as having little to no money for the basic necessities, like food and shelter.

PRWORA is the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996. The welfare reform plan intensely changed the nation’s welfare system into one that required work in exchange for time-limited benefits.

  • Explain the Davis & Moore Theory of economic inequality. What are the problems with the application of this theory to the economic system in the US?

The theory is an effort to explain social stratification, based upon of the idea of “functional necessity.

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” Davis and Moore believe that some jobs are more difficult and more significant than others. These highly rated jobs will receive more rewards and compensation which will motivate more individuals to obtain such jobs.

The problem with Davis and Moore’s theory is that they don’t specify why some jobs should be worth more than others, besides the mere fact that they are rewarded. Another problem is the rewards itself. They believe the rewards will guarantee performance, but the rewards should be based upon merit.

  • What is the conflict perspective of social stratification? What factors have worked to stall the “revolution”?

The conflict perspective of social stratification sees social life as a competition and focuses on the distribution of resources, power, and inequality. The revolution was stalled by such factors as fragmentation of the capitalist class, higher standard of living, and the advent of the unions.

Race & Ethnicity

  • What is the difference between a racial and an ethnic category?

Race refers to a person’s physical characteristics, such as skin, hair and eye color. Ethnicity refers to a person’s culture, ancestry, and language.

  • What makes a minority group?

A minority group is signified by a group of alienated people who are discriminated against due to physical, cultural, or lifestyle characteristics.

  • Explain the difference between individual and institutional discrimination? Which is more harmful to society and why?

Individual racism refers to the behavior of individual members of one race/ethnic/gender group that is intent on having differential and harmful effects on members of another race/ethnic/gender group. Institutional racism refers to the behavior of an entire system mistreating an individual or a group in an unjust biased way. Honestly, it’s all very harmful to society, but the larger spread racism provided by social institutions is a few tiers up from individual racism. It’s more harmful because we as a society are supposed to trust that our social institutions treat everyone fairly and justly without any biased. That certainly is not the case for America.

  • Explain each of the six types of intergroup relationships identified in the book.

Assimilation happens when one group disregards its identity and adopts the values, beliefs, language, or culture of another group as a way of being accepted or a way of fitting in.

Pluralism happens when each group retains its identity while peacefully and respectfully existing with the other group. For pluralism to even exist, the subordinate group must be accepted by the dominant group and fully participate in the dominant society. Amalgamation happens when two different groups combine to form a single group with shared values, beliefs, cultures, languages, and so on. This is sometimes, but not always, achieved through marriage or breeding between people from two different groups. Segregation happens when one group, typically the dominant group, creates a physical separation between themselves and another group. This may involve designated areas or behaviors for each particular group, to ensure that there is limited or no intermingling. Expulsion happens when one group, typically the dominant group, forces another group to leave a community, region, or country.

Genocide happens when one group, typically the dominant group, tries to deliberately destroy another group. It is undoubtedly the most toxic, intolerant intergroup relationship.

  •  In the sociological sense, what is “colorblindness” and is it positive or negative when considering racial inequality in US society?

Colorblindness refers to the idea of a society where racial characteristics do not limit a person’s opportunities or hinder their treatment as an equal member of society. Colorblindness is negative when considering racial inequality in the US because is prevents us from see the historical causes of racial inequality and how racial inequality persists in our society.

Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

  • What is the difference between sex and gender? Be sure to make a distinction between these terms, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

Sex refers to a person’s biological anatomy, their reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. Gender refers to a person’s social roles based on the sex of the person or the gender role or sexual identification.

  • What is a gender role, and how do we learn them?

Gender roles is how our society labels a person and expects them to act, to speak, to dress, to groom, and to conduct themselves accordingly. We learn our gender roles through socialization as children and throughout life they become more defined.

  • Explain each of the four theoretical perspectives on gender mentioned in the book.

Structural functionalism is the belief that gender roles play a crucial part in the functioning of our society. It is functional for the division of labor to rely upon gender roles. Conflict Theory is the belief that gender roles create competition for women and men to strive for more power. Feminist theory advocates for more equality between women and men. Symbolic Interactionism examines human behavior by recording symbols in human communication.

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Social Stratification Based on the Idea of Functional Necessity. (2022, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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