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Exam 2 (Essentials of Sociology)
Chapter 8- Social Class in the United States
30
Sociology
11/17/2009

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Term
Social Class
Definition
A Large group of people who rank closely to one another in property, power, and prestige
Term
Social Stratification
Definition
A system of ranking people in a hierarchy according to wealth, prestige and power. (As defined by Weber)
Term
Social Stratification: Power
Definition
The ability to carry out your will despite resistance. Mills coined the term power elite to refer to those who make the big decisions in the U.S. society.
Term
Social Stratification: Property
Definition
When you add up the value of someone’s property and subtract that person’s debts, you have what sociologists call wealth.
    Wealth and Income are not the same thing. Wealth is a person’s net worth and income is a flow of money. (examples- rent, interest, allowance)
    Some people have a lot of wealthy but little income- like a farmer- he owns a lot of land (wealth) but bad weather combined with high cost of fertilizers, machinery can cause the income to be gone.
Term
Social Stratification: Prestige
Definition
 (respect or regard) Displaying Prestige is still a huge deal in our county- military saluting those who are a high rank, the president enters a room only after all those attending are present, everyone must be standing when he enters. It is proven that many people will pay more for clothes if there is a little symbol on them to represent the brand. Status symbols vary within social class- wealthy can afford certain items like yachts and huge estates.
Term
Marx argued....
Definition
that there are just two classes- capitalists and workers- with a membership based solely on a person’s relationship to the means of production.
Term
Sociologists critisized Marx:
Definition
saying that this theory is to broad. To resolve this problem sociologists Erik Wright (1985) suggests that some people are members of more than one class at the same time. They occupy what he calls contradictory class locations- meaning a person’s position in the class structure can generate contradictory interests. He then modified Marx’s model by saying:
    1.) Capitalists- business owners who employ many workers
    2.) Petty Bourgeoisie- small business owners
    3.) Managers- who sell their own labor but also exercise authority over other employees
    4.) Workers- who simply sell their labor to others.
Term
Sociologists Joseph Kahl and Dennis Gilbert developed a six tier model......
Definition
 to portray the class structure of the United States. It starts at the top and on each lower run you find less property, power, and prestige.
    1.) Capitalists- Power and Influence cling to this small elite. They have direct access to top politicians, and their decisions open or close job opportunities for millions of people. The super- rich perpetuate themselves in privilege by passing on their assets and social networks to their children.
    2.) Upper Middle Class- Class most shaped my education. Almost all members of this class have a bachelor’s degree and many have postgraduate degrees in business, management, law, or medicine. These people manage businesses owned by capitalists or operate their own business.
    3.) Lower Middle Class- Members of this class have jobs that call for them to follow orders given by those who have upper- middle class credentials. They can afford mainstream life and many assume they will move up in the social ladder. They often feel insecure and with the threat of the economy might actually go down in the social ladder. People in this class have working jobs like the working class the only difference is that their jobs are more prestige and their incomes are a little higher.
    4.) The Working Class- Have less education and lower incomes. There jobs are less secure, more routine, and more closely supervised. One of their biggest fears is being laid off during recession. Most only have a high school diploma and with this it is rare that they will climb the social ladder.  They look at themselves as having real jobs unlike the “suits” who force paper on others.
    5.) The working Poor- Work at unskilled, low-paying, temporary and seasonal jobs (such as sharecropping, housecleaning...) Most are high school drop outs, illiterate and find it hard to read even the want ads. Depend on food stamps and food pantries.
    6.) The Underclass- Concentrated in the inner city, this group has little or no connenction with the job market. Those who are employed- and some are- do menial, low-paying, temporary work. Welfare, if available, food stamps, and food pantries is their main support.
Term
3 types:
Definition

- Slavery

- Caste

Endogamous, No mobility, Ascribed status

- Class

Exogamous, Mobility, achieved status

Term
Determinants of Mobility
Definition
Opportunity structures
Class of Family of Origin
Education
Race/Ethnicity
Gender
Social networks
Hard Work
Luck
Term
Consequences of Social Class: Physical Health
Definition
The lower the person’s social class the more likely that individual is to die before the expected age. The main reason is medical care. Health care in the United States is not a citizen’s right but a commodity for sale. The second reason is lifestyles. People in lower class are more likely to smoke, eat a lot of fats, be overweight, abuse drugs and alcohol, get little or no exercise and practice unsafe sex. The third reason is life is hard on the poor. The persistent stresses they face cause their bodies to wear out faster.
Term
Consequences of Social Class: Family Life
Definition

EX- upper class work a lot so not much time with family, patterns of communication
-Choice of husband of wife: In the upper class choice of husband/wife affects not only them but also the entire family- parents in this class play a strong role in their children’s mate selection.
    - Divorce: children in the lower class are more likely to grow up in broken homes.

Term
Consequences of Social Class: Education
Definition
Education increases as one goes up the social ladder. Children of the capitalist class bypass public schools and go into private schools.
Term
Consequences of Social Class: Religion
Definition
Patterns of worships also follow class lines: The lower classes are attracted to more expressive worship services and louder music, while middle and upper classes prefer more “subdued” worship.
Term
Consequences of Social Class: Politics
Definition
The higher that people are on the social class ladder the more likely they are to vote for republicans. Most members of the working class believe that the government should intervene in the economy to provide jobs and to make citizens financially secure. They are most likely to vote Democratic. People toward the bottom of the class structure are also less likely to be politically active.
Term
Consequences of Social Class: Crime/ Justice system
Definition
The White collar crimes of the more privileged classes are more likely to be dealt with outside the criminal justice system, while they police and courts deal with the street crimes of the lower classes.
Term
Status Consistent
Definition
When a person has the same levels of wealthy, power, and prestige
Term
Status inconsistency
Definition
When a person ranks higher on one level of social class and low on another level
Term
Social Mobility: Intergenerational mobility
Definition

Refers to a change that occurs between generations when grownup children end up on a different rung of the social class ladder from the one occupied by their parents.
        -Upward Social Mobility: If the child of someone who sells used cars graduates from college and buys a Saturn dealership.
        -Downward social mobility- If a child of the dealership’s owner parties too much, drops out of college, and ends up selling cars.

Term
Social mobility: Structural mobility
Definition

Changes in society that cause large numbers of people to move up or down the class ladder.

 

Ex- Computer invented offered new jobs, some people took advantage of these new jobs and were hired while others sat back and did nothing and did not advance in the social ladder.

Term
Social Mobility: Exchange mobility
Definition
When large numbers of people move up and down the social class ladder, but, on balance, the proportions of the social classes remain about the same.
Term
The Poverty Line
Definition

-The government figures out the poverty line by taking a low cost food budget and multiplying to by 3.
-This poverty line was created in 1965
-It does take into account family size and cost of living.
-This line has been criticized for being too low, many think it should be increased by 50%.

Term
Demographics of Poverty: What is the biggest subgroup living in poverty?
Definition
Children
Term
Demographics of Poverty: Least likely to live in poverty?
Definition
Elderly
Term
Demographics of Poverty: Feminization of poverty
Definition
the association of poverty with women, especially single parent households headed by women.
Term
Demographics of Poverty: The more education a person has....
Definition
The least likely they are to live in poverty
Term
Demographics of poverty: what percent of the poor live in the inner city?
Definition
42%
Term
Demographics of Poverty: The greatest predictors of Poverty are...?
Definition
Race, Ethnicity, Education, and sex of the person who heads the family.
Term
Demographics of Poverty: Why are people poor?
Definition

1.) Social Structure- the components of the social structure play a strong contributing factor in the poverty rate.
    2.) Characteristics of Individuals- people are poor because of their own attitudes
    3.) Culture of poverty- people are poor because of their culture (values, norms, etc.)
Sociologists tend to focus on components in the social structure to explain poverty.

Term
What is Meitocracy?
Definition
Social mobility is achieved and is based on an individual’s merit, effort, ability and talent rather than on ascribed traits or social connections