Functionalist View of Social Stratification

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Through the eyes of a functionalist, social stratification reflects a positive effect on society. Functionalism assumes that society is a system whose various sections work together to encourage balance. Social stratification is the condition of being arranged in social strata or classes.  For example, view the difference between a doctor and a custodian. A career as a custodian requires little education, while a doctor requires many years of education. How many doctors would there be if they received the same compensation as a custodian?

Social stratification is a problem effecting different societies for ages. The example comparison between the doctor and the custodian is a more modern view. Many years ago, social stratification was also prevailant throughout the kingdoms. A king had more money and respect then a farmer would. A farmer would do much more laborious work than that of a king, but he would receive a fraction of the benefits.

Nobody could say positively what brought about social stratification, or the formation of different groups within society. One could argue that perhaps it started way back during the stone age, or even earlier. For example, if during the stone age a few people invented knives, they would show off their inventions, and how lethal they are. The other people in the society would see this and they would break off from these inventors, into a lower group scared of the knives, starting a lower class. Other could argue that social stratification started with the slave trade. For example, all the slaves were brought to the USA to work on farms, and were then let free after the Emancipation Proclamation. However, the ex-slaves, or black people, were still looked down upon in society, and still are by some until this day. The formation of classes could be argued by many on how they originated, however there is no written proof stating exactly how they did form.

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