什么是社会分层 What is social stratification?
What is social stratification? Discuss your answer with reference to examples.
It is a concept that related closely to class, status or social hierarchy. Originally speaking, stratification is an geological concept which was used in geology when the geologists analyze the structure from the perspective of geology. It refers to the various levels of the geological condition now, it is one of the most important as well as fundamental concept of sociology. In the western, before capitalism emerged, the social stratification existed in the form of hierarchy. For example, in Roman Times, the social hierarchy consists of patricians, knights, plebeians and slaves. However, in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs are the main classes. What is more, among these hierarchies, a lot of subordinate levels were involved, which means there are more detailed divisions in every hierarchy. When approaching to 19th, "class" and "stratification" were widely used to describe the social hierarchy. With the developing of the society, great progress has been made. From feudalism to capitalism, the social hierarchy became simpler because the economical factors are becoming more and more important. Especially in the present society, from the individuals to the countries, economical capacity is always a significant factor in dividing the social hierarchy. A lot of standards judge things from the comprehensive capacity perspective. For example, now in America, the Middle Class is regarded as the most important part in the whole society, they earn a relative salary, turn over a relative tax to the government, own a relative consuming capacity, what is more, they a large part in the country. They were not rich or poor; they can create something for the society. They can look after themselves. They do not like the rich, although the rich do not occupy large population, they have large rights and capacity. They do not like the poor, either. They do not exert the society heavy burden. As a matter of fact, the Middle Class is the most important part of the whole society. Here the standard of dividing the Middle Class is the economical factors，such as their salary, their tax and other relevant contributions.
To sum up, the "social stratification" is a sociological concept which related to the class and hierarchy in the society. No matter in the ancient time or the present time, it always exists. It is influenced by a lot of factors that related to economy, politic, culture and religion. With the development of the society, the economical factors became more and more influential. In Peter Saunders' opinion (Saunders, P, 1990)), on the basis of social and economic classes, stratification consists of three main levels: upper class, middle class, and lower class. Each of the classes can be subdivided into secondary classes which are closely related to occupation. (Peter Saunders) it is can be seen as a social status arrangement that relate to economical factors, especially economical inequality. No matter in the past or present, the economical gag among the society members ever disappeared. Especially in the present society, a lot of complicated factors should be involved in the social existence.
Outline the main arguments put forward by Marx, Weber and Durkheim
Marx: His study on social stratification was based the previous research of the former scholars. For example, Marvin Harrisbourgeoisie will exploit the proletariat through employing the work class and making them manufacture production. During this process, the bourgeoisie acquires the benefits and maintain their social position. and Tim Ingold , Lewis Henry Morgan are the three representatives. They have made some outstanding results, they raised the concept of "egalitarian hunter-gatherers"(Gowdy, John. 2006), on the basis of this concept, Marx produced the concept of "communism". Morgan described "Communism in living" as the members who live in a community would try their best to make out the most excellent result, and each of them should enjoy the pay equally. Marx developed this view further; he still held the opinion that the social stratification was based on the culture related to economical factors. What was more, he thought the personal property was the basic element that influenced the social relationship (Barnard, Alan. 2006). Especially in the industrialized society, economical situation of an individual really influences his/her social stratification. In a word, Marx's opinion was based on the economical inequality, such as the rich, also can be called the
Weber: Based on Marx's view, Weber raised his own opinion, and his view mainly based on the Germany society. He presented the concept of three-component theory of stratification and life chances (Holborn, M. & Langley, P. 2004). He thought there were more categories than Marx presented. In another word, he provided more detailed divisions. So he created his new system. He confirmed there were differences among different social classes. But they were not totally independent; they related to each other and influence each other because of power. He divided the social members into four categories as follows: the upper class, the white collar workers, the petite bourgeoisie, and the manual working class. He agreed with Marx that the economical factors were important, but he thought what Marx called proletariat revolt was not precise. What was more, he did not deny the influence of economical factors as earnings, property. He also emphasized the significance of political power. For example, a lot of Jewish have fortune, but they did not have prestige and power in Germany.
Durkheim: He got the opinion which was very different from Marx's. He did not pay so much attention to the inequalities in the society, and he did not care about the beneficial matters between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. According to Durkheim's opinion, he divided the labor into different classes and regarded this kind of division as usual existence, in another word, he thought social stratification and inequality were natural, he considered the way of confirming social indicators was more important. The division can keep the solidarity of the society as the basis. He also divided the society into Mechanical solidarity and Organic solidarity. The former was the mainly existed in pre-industrial society and the latter mainly existed in industrial societies. Under his division, the people who were skilled and proficient in specialization should take the positions. The people who have different capacities should cooperate with each other, so they can produce the best working results.
Barnard, Alan (2006) "Images of hunters and gatherers in European social thought," in Richard B. Lee and Richard H. Daly (eds.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers, p. 379. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Gowdy, John. 2006. "Hunter-gatherers and the mythology of the market," in Richard B. Lee and Richard H. Daly (eds.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers, p. 391. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Holborn, M. & Langley, P. 2004. AS & A level Student Handbook, accompanies the Sixth Edition: Haralambos & Holborn, Sociology: Themes and perspectives, London: Collins Educational.
Saunders, P, 1990. Social Class and Stratification, London. Routledge.