Social stratification lies at the core of society and of the discipline of sociology. Social inequality is a fundamental aspect of virtually all social processes, and a person's position in the stratification system is the most consistent predictor of his or her behavior, attitudes, and life chances. Social stratification links almost all aspects of society together, and therefore understanding what is happening to social stratification helps us understand a wide range of other changes in society. All societies treat people with certain characteristics differently from others; males/females, old/young, etc. This differential treatment leads to social inequality: Unequal sharing of societal resources; wealth, power, prestige, education, health, etc. Small societies have minor differences among their individuals while more complex societies have inequalities across categories. Some hierarchies effect individuals from the moment they are born. In modern, capitalistic societies, income and wealth are major factors in assigning one to a specific place in the hierarchy. These two different systems construct into two different theories; The distributional theory of social class and the relational theory of social class. Both theories have their pros and cons which have caused a lot of arguments in many societies.
Since most countries are capitalistic societies, the theory more often used now in our modern societies is the distributional theory. It is when one's social ranking is based on their economic position. Our society separated us into six groups: upper upper class, upper class, upper middle class, middle class, lower middle class, and lower class. One is put into these categories based on their income, occupation, education, lifestyle, and geological residence. One of the major differences between the two theories is the ease with which they permit people to move in or out of particular strata. This is divided into two... Continue Reading