Global stratification highlights worldwide patterns of social inequality. In the early years of civilization, hunter-gatherer and agrarian societies lived off the Earth, rarely interacting with other societies. When explorers began travelling, societies began trading goods as well as ideas and customs. Due to mechanical inventions and new means of production, people began working in factories — not only men, but women and children as well. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, industrial technology had gradually raised the standard of living for many people in the United States and Europe.
The Industrial Revolution also saw the rise of vast inequalities between countries that were industrialized and those that were not. As some nations embraced technology and saw increased wealth and goods, others maintained their ways; as the gap widened, the nonindustrialized nations fell further behind. Some social researchers, such as Walt Rostow , suggest that the disparity also resulted from power differences. Applying a critical sociological perspective, he asserts that industrializing nations took advantage of the resources of traditional nations. As industrialized nations became rich, other nations became poor Rostow, Sociologists studying global stratification analyze economic comparisons between nations.
Income, purchasing power, and wealth are used to calculate global stratification.
Poverty levels have been shown to vary greatly. In the United Nations implemented the Millennium Project, an attempt to cut poverty worldwide by the year Undernourishment in developing regions fell from As we have seen earlier in this chapter, the growing inequality in Canada can be seen as a product in a shift in government policy from a welfare state model of redistribution of resources to a neoliberal model of free market distribution of resources. This transition does not take place in a vacuum, however. Just as global capitalism is an economic system characterized by constant change, so too is the relationship between global capitalism and national state policy.
Throughout the 19th and first half of the 20th century, the role of the state in the wealthy Northern countries was typically limited to providing the legal mechanisms and enforcement to protect private property.
Capitalism itself was for the most part regulated by competition until stock market crash of and the Great Depression of the s. From then on, an awareness grew that the capacity for producing commodities had far exceeded the ability of people to buy them Harvey, The economic model of Fordism, adopted in the wealthy Northern countries, offered a solution to the crisis by creating a system of intensive mass production maximum use of machinery and minute divisions of labour , cheap products, high wages, and mass consumption.
This system required a disciplined work force and labour peace, however, which is one reason why states began to take a different role in the economy. This set of policies collectively became known as the welfare state. The accord also reaffirmed the rights of private property or capital to introduce new technology, to reorganize production as they saw fit, and to invest wherever they pleased.
Therefore, it was not a system of economic democracy or socialism. When Fordism and the welfare state system began to break down in the late s and early s, the relationship between the state and the economy began to change again. In step with the development of the post-Fordist economy of lean production, precarious employment, and niche market consumption, the state began to withdraw from its guarantee of providing universal social services and social security.
The market is said to promote more efficiency, lower costs, pragmatic decision making, non-favouritism, and a disciplined work ethic, etc. Of course the facts often tell a different story. For example, government-funded health care in Canada costs far less per person than private health care in the United States OECD, The policies of deregulation that caused the financial crisis of , led even Alan Greenspan b. As we noted earlier in this chapter, while the policies of government within the capitalist state have been changing, they are not occurring in a vacuum; rather, they are unfolding in the context of the developments of global capitalism.
From its origins, capitalism has been global in scope. Marx and Engels described globalization in The process of globalization intensified after World War II, and especially in the late 20th century with the introduction of new technologies that enabled vast volumes of capital and goods to circulate globally. The globalization of investment and production means that capital is increasingly able to shift production around the world to where labour costs are cheapest and profit greatest.
He has argued that political actors no longer:. The terrain on which corporate, political, environmental, and other types of decisions are made is no longer confined to the boundaries of the state, which diminishes the ability of national governments to independently control economic and foreign policy. Thus, globalization represents a weakening of the autonomy and power of states. Neoliberalism is not only an internal domestic response to the economic crises and fall in the rates of profit, which began in the late s, but also is a response to the ever more competitive global market for capital.
As a result wealth has also been redistributed upwards. Rather than a sovereign state system of unique and independent nation-states, in many ways the global order is better described today as a single unit within which state sovereignty has been transferred to a higher entity Negri, , p. Similarly, the Kyoto Protocol on climate change or the Ottawa Treaty on landmines are examples of global initiatives that blur the boundaries of nation states. Antonio Negri b. Empire, rather than being a form of imperialism like that which dominated in the era of colonialism, is a new political form that has emerged in response to the dynamics of global capitalism.
Basketball is one of the highest-paying professional sports. There is stratification even among teams. For example, the Minnesota Timberwolves hand out the lowest annual payroll, while the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly pay the highest. Even within specific fields, layers are stratified and members are ranked. In sociology, even an issue such as NBA salaries can be seen from various points of view.
Functionalists will examine the purpose of such high salaries, while critical sociologists will study the exorbitant salaries as an unfair distribution of money. Social stratification takes on new meanings when it is examined from different sociological perspectives — functionalism, critical sociology, and interpretive sociology.
According to functionalism, different aspects of society exist because they serve a needed purpose. What is the function of social stratification? In , sociologists Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore published the Davis-Moore thesis , which argued that the greater the functional importance of a social role, the greater must be the reward.
The theory posits that social stratification represents the inherently unequal value of different work. Certain tasks in society are more valuable than others. Qualified people who fill those positions must be rewarded more than others. The cashier position does not require the same skill and training level as firefighting. Without the incentive of higher pay and better benefits, why would someone be willing to rush into burning buildings? If pay levels were the same, the firefighter might as well work as a grocery store cashier.
Davis and Moore believed that rewarding more important work with higher levels of income, prestige, and power encourages people to work harder and longer. They also stated that the more skill required for a job, the fewer qualified people there would be to do that job. Certain jobs, such as cleaning hallways or answering phones, do not require much skill. Other work, like designing a highway system or delivering a baby, requires immense skill.
The Davis-Moore thesis does not explain, he argued, why a media personality with little education, skill, or talent becomes famous and rich on a reality show or a campaign trail. The thesis also does not explain inequalities in the education system, or inequalities due to race or gender. Tumin believed social stratification prevented qualified people from attempting to fill roles For example, an underprivileged youth has less chance of becoming a scientist, no matter how smart he or she is, because of the relative lack of opportunity available.
The Davis-Moore thesis, though open for debate, was an early attempt to explain why stratification exists. The thesis states that social stratification is necessary to promote excellence, productivity, and efficiency, thus giving people something to strive for. Davis and Moore believed that the system serves society as a whole because it allows everyone to benefit to a certain extent.
Critical sociologists are deeply critical of social inequality, asserting that it benefits only some people not all of society. For instance, to a critical sociologist it seems problematic that after a long period of increasing equality of incomes from World War II to the s, the wealthiest 1 percent of income earners have been increasing their share of the total income of Canadians from 7. Rather than creating conditions in which wealth trickles down, tax cuts and neoliberal policies tremendously benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. This is an example of the way that stratification perpetuates inequality.
Contrary to the analysis of functionalists, huge corporate bonuses continued to be awarded even when dysfunctional corporate and financial mismanagement of the economy led to the global financial crisis of Nor is it the case that corporate elites work harder to merit more rewards. Over the period of increasing inequality in income, the only group not working more weeks and hours in the paid workforce is the richest 10 percent of families Yalnizyan, Critical sociologists try to bring awareness to inequalities, such as how a rich society can have so many poor members.
Many critical sociologists draw on the work of Karl Marx. During the 19th-century era of industrialization, Marx analyzed the way the owning class or capitalists raked in profits and got rich, while working-class proletarians earned skimpy wages and struggled to survive. With such opposing interests, the two groups were divided by differences of wealth and power. Marx saw workers experience deep exploitation, alienation, and misery resulting from class power Marx, He also predicted that the growing collective impoverishment of the working class would lead them, through the leadership of unions, to recognize their common class interests.
With the abolition of private property i. Marx did not live see the state socialist systems in the Soviet Union and elsewhere that called themselves communist but ended up replacing capitalist-based inequality with bureaucratic-based inequality.
Today, while working conditions have improved, critical sociologists believe that the strained working relationship between employers and employees still exists. Capitalists own the means of production, and a neoliberal political system is in place to make business owners rich and keep workers poor. Moreover, the privileged position of the middle classes has been steadily eroded by growing inequalities of wealth and income. Nevertheless, according to critical sociologists, increasing social inequality is neither inevitable nor necessary.
Within interpretive sociology, symbolic interactionism is a theory that uses everyday interactions of individuals to explain society as a whole. Symbolic interactionism examines stratification from a micro-level perspective. In most communities, people interact primarily with others who share the same social standing. It is precisely because of social stratification that people tend to live, work, and associate with others like themselves, people who share their same income level, educational background, or racial background, and even tastes in food, music, and clothing.
The built-in system of social stratification groups people together.
Housing, clothing, and transportation indicate social status, as do hairstyles, taste in accessories, and personal style. This marks individuals from an early age by such things as knowing how to wear a suit or having an educated manner of speaking. Cultural capital is capital also in the sense of an investment, as it is expensive and difficult to attain while providing access to better occupations. Bourdieu argued that the privilege accorded to those who hold cultural capital is a means of reproducing the power of the ruling classes. Cultural capital becomes a key measure of distinction between social strata.
In the Theory of the Leisure Class , Thorstein Veblen described the activity of conspicuous consumption as the tendency of people to buy things as a display of status rather than out of need. Conspicuous consumption refers to buying certain products to make a social statement about status. Some people buy expensive trendy sneakers even though they will never wear them to jog or play sports. All of these symbols of stratification are worthy of examination by interpretive sociologists because their social significance is determined by the shared meanings they hold. What Is Social Inequality?
Stratification systems are either closed, meaning they allow little change in social position, or open, meaning they allow movement and interaction between the layers. A caste system is one in which social standing is based on ascribed status or birth. Class systems are open, with achievement playing a role in social position. People fall into classes based on factors like wealth, income, education, and occupation. Social Inequality and Mobility in Canada There are three main classes in Canada: the owning class, middle class, and traditional working class.
Social mobility describes a shift from one social class to another. Class traits, also called class markers, are the typical behaviours, customs, and norms that define each class. Global Stratification and Inequality Global stratification compares the wealth, economic stability, status, and power of countries as a whole. By comparing income and productivity between nations, researchers can better identify global inequalities. Theoretical Perspectives on Social Inequality Social stratification can be examined from different sociological perspectives — functionalism, critical sociology, and symbolic interactionism.
The functionalist perspective states that inequality serves an important function in aligning individual merit and motivation with social position. Critical sociologists observe that stratification promotes inequality, such as between rich business owners and exploited workers. Symbolic interactionists examine stratification from a micro-level perspective.
What factor makes caste systems closed? Global Stratification and Inequality Theoretical Perspectives on Social Inequality What class describes you? Social Inequality and Mobility in Canada Mark Ackbar made a documentary about social class and the rise of the corporation called The Corporation. The filmmakers interviewed corporate insiders and critics. The accompanying website is full of information, resource guides, and study guides to the film. CBC Radio. Part 3: Former gang members. Rogers, T. Ted Rogers: Relentless. The true story of the man behind Rogers Communications.
Toronto, ON: HarperCollins. What Is Social Stratification? Boyd, M. A socioeconomic scale for Canada: measuring occupational status from the census. Canadian Review of Sociology, 45 1 , Kashmeri, Z. Segregation deeply embedded in India. Kerbo, H. Social stratification and inequality: Class conflict in historical, comparative, and global perspective. An uncommon princess. Marquand, R. Christian Science Monitor. Capital, labour and the middle classes.
Beeghley, L. The structure of social stratification in the United States. Corak, M. Economic mobility, family background, and the well-being of children in the United States and Canada. Discussion paper no. Bonn, Germany. DeVine, C. Class in turn-of-the-century novels of Gissing, James, Hardy and Wells. Gilbert, D. The American class structure in an age of growing inequality. Hollett, K. BC Supreme Court rules homeless have right to public spaces. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Average annual percentage wage adjustments.
Johnstone, A. It pays to pay a living wage. CCPA Monitor. McArthur, G. McDonald, D. McFarland, J. Back in the green: CEO pay jumps 13 per cent. Osberg, L. A quarter century of economic inequality in Canada: Retail Council of Canada. Minimum wage by province. Statistics Canada. United Nations. Chapter 2: Eradication of poverty. Warner, B. Rob Ford net worth: How much is Rob Ford worth? Celebrity Networth. Weber, M. Class, status and party.
Williams, R. Keywords: A vocabulary of culture and society. Original work published Yalnizyan, A. Campbell, B. CBC News. Former Fed chair Alan Greenspan on his free-market views. Harvey, D. The condition of postmodernity: An enquiry into the origins of cultural change. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. A brief history of neoliberalism. Landler, M. Marx, K. The communist manifesto. McLellan Ed. Millennium Project. Expanding the financial envelope to achieve the goals. OECD health statistics Rostow, W.
The Stages of economic growth: A non-communist manifesto. The millennium development goals report [PDF]. Bourdieu, P. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. New York, NY: Routledge.
Davis, K. Some principles of stratification. American Sociological Review , 10 2 , — Manifesto of the Communist Party. Shaienks, D. Participation in postsecondary education. Tumin, M. Some principles of stratification: A critical analysis. Veblen, T. The theory of the leisure class. New York, NY: Dover. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Figure 9. Table 9. Skip to content Increase Font Size. Learning Objectives 9. Break the concept of social inequality into its component parts: social differentiation, social stratification, and social distributions of wealth, income, power, and status.
Define the difference between equality of opportunity and equality of condition. Distinguish between caste and class systems. Distinguish between class and status. Identify the structural basis for the different classes that exist in capitalist societies. Social Inequality and Mobility in Canada Define the difference between relative and absolute poverty. Describe the current trend of increasing inequalities of wealth and income in Canada. Characterize the social conditions of the owning class, the middle class, and the traditional working class in Canada.
Scientists were able to determine that the woman was around 30 years old when she died. Although we know little about her life, this woman's remains have given us a remarkable insight into the long history of Africans living in Britain. In , archaeologists examined skeletons found during the 19th Century. Analysis revealed one skeleton, named Beachy Head Lady after the Eastbourne beauty spot where she was discovered, belonged to a woman of sub-Saharan African descent from around AD. She had lived in England most of her life and held a relatively high position in Roman society.
The first black Briton known to us, she confirms the African presence in Britain stretches back to the second and third centuries. The first African prose writer published in England, Sancho became a financially independent male householder and the first known black British voter. When his mother died and his father committed suicide, the orphan Sancho was taken to England. Working as a butler, his intelligence was recognised by his employer the Duke of Montagu who sponsored his creative endeavors. Sancho wrote plays, poetry and music, then set up a shop in Westminster, which became a meeting place for writers, artists and musicians.
The first part of my life was rather unlucky, as I was placed in a family who judged ignorance the best and only security for obedience. Olaudah Equiano, from the title page of his first-hand account of slavery. Olaudah's story captured my imagination at a young age, inspiring seven-year-old me to write a history of Equiano called 'Break the Chains'. Equino's own autobiography became pivotal for the abolitionist movement, earning him fame and fortune. It describes near unfathomable horrors of captivity, before he purchased freedom around 22 years of age, a phenomenal achievement.
Feb 17, - Two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who For the first half of the 19th century, the rural and urban poor had much in common. housing and health improvements changed the urban environment. . State, Society and the Poor in Nineteenth Century England by Alan Kidd. Buy State, Society and the Poor: In Nineteenth-Century England (Social History in Perspective) by Alan Kidd (ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store. Health & Beauty .. A hundred years ago, most working class households avoided or coped with poverty without recourse to the 2 customer reviews.
Life as a free black man in the colonies was dangerous. Equaino was almost sent back into slavery. This prompted a move to London. His book was one of the earliest personal accounts of slavery by a black writer, roused public opinion and was an instant bestseller. I have often seen slaves [ This image is thought to be William Cuffay, featured in a political journal dated Cuffay - a formerly enslaved man from St.
Kitts - was a powerful orator. He campaigned for universal suffrage and emerged as a leader of the Chartists. Part of the first mass political movement in Britain, fighting for political rights for the working classes, Cuffay was arrested and accused of "conspiring to levy war" against Queen Victoria. Transported to Tasmania, he received a pardon three years later. However he elected to stay, agitating for democratic rights until his death in Though he has been largely forgotten, his legacy remains an inspiration for those who believe in the rights of the marginalised and the poor.
During her lifetime, Seacole's profile rivalled that of Florence Nightingale. Born to a free black woman, Seacole's position in Jamaican society did not protect her from the racism experienced by black people at that time. Independently she set up the British Hotel near Balaclava to care for the wounded. She became a much-loved figure, with a reputation to match Florence Nightingale.
She lived in London until her death. She was a wonderful woman The able-bodied poor had no right to statutory relief as in England. Scottish poor law reform developed differently, mainly because of the differences in agricultural organisation and in a later industrialisation of manufacture. The Scottish Poor Law Amendment Act of created a central Board of Supervisors and parochial boards, with the authority to raise local, necessary funds and decide on their distribution. Unlike England, the poor had the right of legal appeal against the denial of relief. Outdoor relief continued to be favoured, but the rise in costs and claims of extravagance and poor mismanagement brought demands for a more restricted system after , with less use of the poorhouse and testing each applicant's need for support.
By the creation of the Local Government Board made Scottish practice much closer to that of England. Almsgiving and charitable endowments already had a long history but from the end of the 18th century the number of voluntary charities gradually increased. Charity was directed at those least able to help themselves, such as children and the sick, while relief for the destitute was influenced both by the ideology of self-help and by evangelical religion. These placed an emphasis on the role of charity in encouraging moral regeneration and on the virtues of self-reliance and respectability.
Like the poor law, charities sought to distinguish the 'deserving' from the 'undeserving' poor.
The Charity Organisation Society, founded in , at a time when outdoor relief was being further curtailed, was partly an attempt to ensure that charity did not undermine the intent of state provision. Their use of an early form of social investigation - visiting homes and interviewing the poor - was designed to link assistance to observable conditions.
People were not necessarily helpless or passive recipients of state intervention in nascent welfare provision, nor were they simply the beneficiaries of groups with charitable intent. Formally organised mutual aid - especially the friendly societies the most popular form of social insurance for the working man and woman formed from the late 18th century - levied a weekly subscription on members and provided financial assistance in times of need, such as sickness and death.
Trade unions, which grew more slowly in the 19th century, usually offered similar benefits. Co-operative societies from the s sought to provide cheap, unadulterated food for their members. High levels of infant mortality meant that, in some cases, insurance policies were taken out on babies' lives almost as soon as they were born.
Even more important was the informal, mutual support within working class neighbourhoods for help in 'making ends meet'. This ranged from that of family and friends, the loan of money or goods, the taking in of lodgers or washing, and the availability of credit, resort to pawnshops and local moneylenders. These communal resources were all used to avoid the stigma of entry into the workhouse or the final indignity of a pauper funeral.
Declining levels of poor relief during the century, therefore, did not necessarily mean that the needs of the poor were falling, only that they were continuing to find other ways of supporting themselves in times of need. A comprehensive account of poverty and the response to it in Victorian Britain, with an extensive bibliography of useful national, local and regional material.
Flinn The full text of Chadwick's report includes his use of extracts from the reports of the local investigators. The book includes an introduction to the Report and an explanation of its significance to public health reform. A colourful illustrated introduction to all aspects of the history of towns with an extensive section on Victorian Britain. This book in the Social History in Perspective series focuses as much on self-help, voluntary and charity provision for the poor as it does on assistance provided by the state.
Local History Libraries are a rich source of many of the records of the 19th century. This museum is housed in the building that was the Leeds Union Workhouse built in A visit there opens with Robert Baker's description of Leeds in and an invitation to tour the reconstructed unhealthy and insanitary streets of the town. You are able to choose a character and follow their life expectancy, and to find out about the possible - and impossible - cures for illnesses. This is believed to be the only workhouse museum in the country, it is established in the Men's Casual Wards of in the Workhouse buildings.
The cells, dayroom and workyard have been refurbished, and with a Hard Times Gallery of images, this museum gives a unique picture of the reality of the Poor Law at work.