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Unit 5 Study Guide
Unit Objectives:
1. Students will understand the dimensions of social stratification and how the different contributing factors impact
professions and individual’s places in society.
2. Students will understand the different ways in which rank is determined for creating social class. They will also
demonstrate understanding of characteristics identified for each of the different levels and the ways that social
mobility is studied in a class system.
3. Students will be able to not only the causes of poverty or the conditions related to it but will also address ways in
which government’s try to respond and assist those in need.
4. Students will understand the vocabulary related to racial and ethnic stratification and the diversity of minority groups
today in America.
5. Students will understand the contributing factors in creating the ideas of gender and gender roles and will also identify
the problems that still exist in the area of gender inequality.
6. Students will study the “graying of America” and understand the impact of the aging world on stratification in society.
Social Structure – network of interrelated statuses and roles that guide human interaction
Status - a socially defined position in a group or in a society; each individual occupies several statuses; each status has attached to it one or more roles
Stratification- division of society into categories, ranks or classes; stratification implies inequality
Social Inequality- unequal sharing of scarce resources
Caste System - scarce resources and rewards are distributed on the basis of ascribed statuses; a newborn child’s lifelong status or caste is determined by the
status of parents
Endogamy – marriage within certain caste/group
Exogamy – marriage outside of certain group; not allowed under Caste system
Class System – distribution of scarce resources and rewards is determined on the basis of achieved statuses
Means of Production- materials and methods used to produce goods and services
Bourgeoisie - Owners
Proletariat - Workers
Dimensions of Social Stratification- wealth (total assets), power (ability to control others), prestige (recognition given by others)
Occupational ranking scale- 1-100 scale assigning rank to occupations based on prestige
Social Mobility- movement between or within social classes or status; upwards and downwards
Horizontal Mobility - movement within a social class or similar occupational rank
Vertical Mobility – movement between multiple social classes or different occupational rank
Intergenerational Mobility - involves status or occupational ranking differences between multiple generations
Intragenerational Mobility - involves status or occupational ranking changes in your own lifetime
Socioeconomic Status (SES)- combines educational level, prestige, place of residence and income----3 different methods used for determining Social Class
Reputational- method of assigning Social Class based upon rank of other community members
Subjective- method of assigning Social Class based upon individuals determining their own position; most identify with middle class
Objective- method of assigning Social Class based upon Sociologists determination; look at income, occupation and education
Social Classes in America- Upper Class, Upper-middle, Lower-middle, Working, Working Poor and Under Class; understand occupations, percentage of
American population and characteristics of each level
Poverty- standard of living that is below the minimum level considered adequate by society; standard in U.S. developed more than 40 years ago; based upon
families spending 1/3 of their income on food
Poverty Risks- children, women and race/ethnicity
Poverty Effects- life chances and patterns of behavior
Government and Poverty- Social Security, Medicare and Social Welfare Programs
Race - category of people who share inherited PHYSICAL characteristics; Sociologists not as concerned with the color of skin rather how people react to
these physical characteristics
Ethnicity - set of CULTURAL characteristics that distinguishes one group from another, generally based on national origin, religion, language, customs and
Minority Groups - category of people who share physical characteristics or cultural practices that result in a group being denied equal treatment; Ascribed
Discrimination - denial of equal treatment based on BEHAVIOR of controlling group
*Legal Discrimination---upheld by law
*Institutionalized Discrimination---outgrowth of the structure of society
Prejudice - unsupported generalization about a category of people based on ATTITUDES and stereotypes
Racism - –Belief of superiority of one race over another
Cultural Pluralism - allowing each group in society to keep unique cultural identity (Chef Salad)
Assimilation - blending of culturally distinct groups into single group with common culture and identity (Melting Pot)
Legal Protection- legal steps to protect rights of minority groups
Segregation – separation of minority group from dominant group;
*De jure Segregation---based on laws
*De facto Segregation---based on informal norms
Subjugation - maintaining control over another group through force; slavery
Population Transfer- minority group transferred to a new territory; Reservation system in U.S.
Genocide – Extermination - intentional destruction of a population and Ethnic Cleansing – removing through terror, expulsion and murder
Gender - BEHAVIORAL and PSYCHOLOGICAL traits socially created for males/females; not focused on BIOLOGICAL differences
Gender Roles - specific behaviors and attitudes society establishes for men and women
Gender Identity – awareness of being masculine or feminine as those traits are defined by culture
Socialization- process where we learn gender roles through society and our interactions
Sexism - the belief that one sex is by nature superior to the others
Wage Gap – statistics that show women on average are paid less for doing the same job as a man
Glass Ceiling – invisible barrier that prevents women from gaining upper level positions in business
Second Shift- expectations women face of not only working full-time outside home has also the household duties
Ageism - belief that one age category is superior to another; view of elderly through preindustrial and industrial; media’s perspective
Graying of America- by 2050, 1 in every 5 Americans over the age of 65