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Aspects of Social Stratification – Social Class (SOC)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:00 Want to dub in to the topic of social class.

    00:03 So social class revolves around something called stratification.

    00:09 This refers to the way in which we are categorized within the society.

    00:12 So we’ve decided to sort of segment and figure things out.

    00:15 So its serves to define differences (or inequalities) but also serves to reinforce and perpetuate them.

    00:21 So via stratifying, socially stratifying a population we actually are putting people on bins and sort of stereotyping and that actually makes it a little bit more difficult to get out of those categorizations.

    00:35 Now, the caste system is one that you may heard and this is a close stratification where people can do nothing to change the category that they are born into.

    00:45 So you are born into upper class or you’re born into lower class.

    00:51 And that’s where you are belong. That’s where you gonna stay.

    00:53 And you really can’t move in across within the caste system.

    00:58 Now social class on the other hand are groups of the individuals or groups based on wealth, education or income.

    01:03 But they do have the possibility to move.

    01:06 So there is certain countries where in the caste system if you’re born into the affluence you will marry into the affluence. You’re not gonna marry outside of that.

    01:13 And same thing, if your born being poor in the lower class that’s pretty much where you going to stay, that’s where your kids where you going to stay, and that where your kids kids going to stay.

    01:22 In North America for example, you do have the upper class, the lower class.

    01:26 We’ll go through those categories in the sec.

    01:28 But they - you can move within the class.

    01:31 So somebody who’s middle class can marry somebody who’s in the upper class.

    01:35 And what we are talking based on our education, income or wealth.

    01:39 So in North America, it can be categorize roughly in these four categories.

    01:45 We have the upper class, which represents about only 3% of the population.

    01:49 But this are the individuals who make millions to billions of dollars in terms of annual income.

    01:53 The middle class, which represents the largest portion of the pie, they represent about 40% almost half of the population making around roughly $50,000 annually.

    02:04 And then, we have the working class, 30% of the population earning between 19 to just to under 50.

    02:10 And the lower class, 27% of the population earn less than $18,000.

    02:17 So you can see that 97% of the class, in the social class are not the ones making the millions.

    02:26 So and even in terms of the actual, middle and the working class represent 70% okay.

    02:32 So 70% of the population is really a heavy heavy piece of the pie and so you can see how they have – they sometimes should have the ability to really influence society. But a lot of times it’s the upper class or even the lower class that have the most dramatic impact on society.

    02:49 Now, using somebodies measures, we determine somebody called socioeconomic status.

    02:55 And we have use this throughout this modules.

    02:58 And what we are referring to is an economic and sociological, combined total measure of a person work experience or the individuals – in individuals are families economic and social position which is made up of income education in relation to others.

    03:15 So it’s kind of a lot of words that are things to grasp. But what I really want you to remember is that it’s based primarily on sort of your income and education and also your job.

    03:26 So if you are a lawyer, it comes you’ve going for school for a long time.

    03:31 and you are making a lot of money, you’re going to be higher up on socioeconomic status or scale versus somebody who say is a high school dropout and works in your local fast-food place.

    03:40 So we have different categories and broken down into three categories. We have your High SES, Middle SES and Low SES.

    03:49 With high SES representing professionals that are affluent who are making a lot of money and have good jobs and good education.

    03:56 Middle being a large segment being in the population that does have some education is working and is making money.

    04:04 And low would be those are the marginalized.

    04:08 Now, class consciousness is the term used to refer to the beliefs that a person holds regarding their social class or economic rank in the society.

    04:16 So if you come from say a higher or upper class and class consciousness is like the name applies as you being aware of the fact that you are rich. I am rich.

    04:28 And coming with that is the set of beliefs and norms and you propagate and live those beliefs.

    04:36 So the structure of their class and their class interest all become things that are guided by that class.

    04:45 and they are also guides their behavior and how they act, okay.

    04:49 Now, false consciousness refers to something slightly older and that’s when members of this higher class go on into the actually.

    05:00 I don’t want to say they full. But they try to convince the proletariat category the population. This are people are just survive on working.

    05:11 So you don’t have a lot of worth.

    05:12 They don’t have a lot a lot of sorry material goods, home, money in the bank.

    05:15 but what they have are their hands and they’re commodity, they’re resource is labor.

    05:22 And there ability to work.

    05:24 And so in the past you have the examples of where the upper class have kind of shape and made those in that lower class believe that this is what things are, this is the way that needs to be. So we called that false consciousness.

    05:38 Now, cultural capital refers to a non-financial social assets that promotes social mobility beyond economic means.

    05:47 So in English we are saying, capital refers to saying asset or a commodity something good.

    05:53 And what is a cultural commodity we are saying things like education, intellect, the way you speak, the way you look.

    06:00 This are all things that you can actually utilize to your advantage.

    06:04 And I’ll help you move within and beyond your class, okay.

    06:10 Another sort of I won’t say competing on complementary type of capitals social capital.

    06:15 This refers to the potential for social networks to allow for upwards social mobility.

    06:21 So we have here in the image it’s not of what you know, it’s who you know.

    06:25 So example is, saying you are trying to get into a great IV league medical school.

    06:31 And you need to go in an interviewing process.

    06:33 Now, if your dad happens to be the governor of that state and just happens to have gone to school with the admitting dean of that university.

    06:44 I have a feeling that it might be a little bit easier if they lean on those relationships to say, “Remember when we were in school together? Remember when we went to go and play polo and we hangout and we were buddies.

    06:54 Listen, by the way my son is trying to get in.” Now, that’s not capital or values that the son who is trying to get in the school is brining into the table. That’s more social and it’s the network that his father has his standing, the respect that he has, that allows him to get in.

    07:10 So in terms of moving up and down in the social ladder, social capital is one that does not lean on actual individual characteristics.

    07:22 Social reproduction refers to the structures and activities in society that’s serve to transmit and reinforce social inequality from one generation to the next.

    07:31 So again, let’s break this down. We are talking about, if you have a certain social norms expectations and ways that you stratify and you’re part of a certain group, well, how do you maintain that? And how do we propagate that? And lets stand to the social reproduction.

    07:45 So from generation to generation, why is it that this continue to persist? So social inequality is the chief through social stratification, which is shaped by: this three things. Power, privilege and prestige.

    07:58 This three points will also have come further social reproduction.

    08:03 So if you have power, so that’s the ability to get others to do something you want.

    08:08 You want to maintain that power.

    08:10 And examples of those with powered be those are that are higher up in a political party Those are higher up in any type of institution like a manager or a boss or an owner.

    08:18 Privilege is a special right or advantage available only in a particular person or group based on some asset that they have like education. So say for example, if you say you are a doctor or you have a PHD, all the sudden certain doors open up, tables open up or restaurants. Its easier for you to get in certain places versus “You know I am just a lowly worker. I’m sorry sir, we can’t help you right now.

    08:39 There is no tables available.” And then we have prestige, this is your reputation in society.

    08:44 If you are a part of a family that has a deep reputation in that community and you consider affluent. That will have a huge role in where you following terms of in the social stratification.

    08:56 And so that can cause inequality because some of these are things that you don’t necessarily work at and create.

    09:06 But prestige which comes from your families Something that you are born in too.

    09:09 Now, some of these are use in order to maintain social reproduction.

    09:14 So you use your family’s prestige and you use your power as an owner in order to keep that divide.

    09:22 You don’t want to let anybody in and become a CEO of your company.

    09:25 You’re going to determine who’s in. And you’re going to determine who can look and move into your neighborhood.

    09:29 and that allows you to maintain that stratification.

    09:33 And that allows it to persist across generations.

    09:38 Now, we’re going to look at another concept of intersectionality.

    09:41 And this is a unique way of looking all the possible ways and all the possible characteristics or drivers that ships social stratification.

    09:50 So this is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination.

    09:57 So in English we’re saying, there’s a lot of different ways you can be stratified.

    10:01 And you need to actually take consideration of all of those and take them all into account per person in order to figure out, how was it that they can actually be oppressed, dominated or discriminated upon? So factors such as gender, race, class, sexual orientation, religion, caste.

    10:18 They are all interact on multiple levels but also simultaneously.

    10:22 And if you see how they all interacts. So say for example based on race, I’m a certain race.

    10:29 But I have a lot of education, but I’m transgendered. And I’m a Muslim and so on.

    10:36 If you take all of those into consideration, where there is sometimes potential discrimination or oppression.

    10:41 That’s going to give you an ultimate sort of final answer of what is my overall stratification.

    10:48 Another way to look at it is consider situations were an outsider with some authority or power is making a decision based on what he’s seeing in front of you.

    10:59 And he might not have a full picture of the actual intersectionality of you as an individual.

    11:06 So say you’re an accomplish philanthropist. You are a surgeon.

    11:13 You’ve done doctors over that borders. You’re great individual but you happen to be of a visual minority.

    11:21 Let’s say you’re black. And you are walking down the street.

    11:24 And you get stop by a police officer. And the police officer all of the sudden is going to rationally profile you and discriminate based on your race without understanding perhaps not that it’s a problem but without considering all the different other things that you possess in terms of his stratification.

    11:42 So I’m not saying it’s okay to not get discriminated if you’re a black and not a doctor.

    11:47 That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that the individual who is assessing you hasn’t considered anything other than simply one factor.

    11:54 Wherein reality in everyday life, intersectionality says that all of these factors are considered in how we are stratified.

    12:05 Now, various types of oppression interrelate creating a system that reflects the intersection of multiple forms of discriminations. So that’s a nice way of something all of the up what I just said. And that the image blow here the pics one individual on all different factors on how they intersect.

    12:21 Now, let’s take a look at how the social stratification impacts, is impacted in terms of our health.

    12:29 So socioeconomic status gradient in health suggests that there is a continual gradient, from the top to the bottom of the SES ladder, relating status to health.

    12:39 So the higher you’re up on the socioeconomic status ladder the greater your health outcomes.

    12:45 We also know that those are lower on the SES scale have been linked to more chronic and systematic disease.

    12:50 Things like diabetes, cardiovascular disease.

    12:52 And we know, that this trend actually continues even when we control for economic resources and access to health care.

    13:00 So let’s break this down on a couple of straight points.

    13:03 If you are more affluent, you have more education.

    13:06 We see that you at the end of the day it simply put our healthier living, longer lives high quality of life versus lower in the socioeconomic status scale its link to more disease. And even when you say, “okay what if I balance for the resources that are available and access to health care.

    13:21 You still see this regimen.

    13:23 And the reasoning for that, is if you look for somebody’s in directs of effects of being on the lower SES scale that would include things like in the sort of what were the jobs that you have.

    13:33 and economically, sorry, resource wise if you’re not making as much you have less availability in order to look at positive health care outcome like going to the gym or eating organic chicken versus eating process food.

    13:46 So all these things that ultimately will impact you’re overall health.

    13:50 So, education is a key driver in that. so it’s good to go to school.

    13:55 It’s good that you are writing your MCAT. If you don’t go to school, Sometimes, not sometimes but it will impact overall health outcomes.

    14:03 Now, global stratifications.

    14:07 So we’re kind of now extrapolating the stratification that were seing in society.

    14:12 And we can look at it in terms of in the world, globally.

    14:15 Now, what I as referring to is comparison that we do, a relative comparison And we say that it compares the wealth economic stability and power across countries.

    14:23 Now, this global comparison identifies that there is worldwide patterns of global inequality.

    14:28 So we’re saying that these inequalities that we’re identifying within our countries are difficult. And we’re trying to manage those but it’s actually global scale as well.

    14:39 So we know that certain countries are the dominant countries And they seem to hold the majority of the resources.

    14:44 Look at your oil rich countries or your resource rich countries they tended to do quite well. And access to resources between these countries impacts the other social factors (i.e. mortality).

    14:56 So, if you’re a country that doesn’t have a lot of access to these resources or you even within those countries don’t have access to those resources.

    15:04 That’s really going to impact things like mortality or how often you’re sick? Or how often you die? And the burden of inequality is place on the certain segments of the population.

    15:13 So not only is it that a certain countries is in getting it.

    15:16 but there is certain individuals within that country are that getting it.

    15:19 So think of a country that really leans on another for oil. And as result the cost of oil in that country is high.

    15:27 And you might use oil to drive your car. You might use oil to heat your home.

    15:32 Now, if you’re in that country that’s getting these resources some other country that you have money. Cos you’re higher on the SES scale within that country.

    15:41 You will be able to afford that oil. You know if to pay pre them that’s okay. You’re affluent.

    15:45 You’re educated. You have a good job. And so you can afford to buy the expensive oil To heat your home and drive a car.

    15:51 But if you’re in that country and you’re low in that SES scale, not only you’re low in SES scale but you don’t have this resource that if you’re within your own country maybe you’d be accessible because its coming from someone else as even more expensive and there’s no way you can afford it. So now, you don’t have a car.

    16:06 And now you have to walk to work.

    16:08 And now you can't heat your home and you have to use alternative ways to heat your home and so your house is freezing and therefore you get sick more often and it snowballs.

    16:16 So this global stratification in terms of wealth and economic stability leads to this global inequality and ultimately and its falling on a smaller segment of that socially stratified population or those are the loan the SES scale.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Aspects of Social Stratification – Social Class (SOC) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Social Inequality.


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Social Stratification.
    2. Caste System.
    3. Social Discrimination.
    4. Social Differentiation.
    5. Estate System.
    1. Caste System.
    2. Social Discrimination.
    3. Social Differentiation.
    4. Social Stratification.
    5. Estate System.
    1. Social Class.
    2. Social Order.
    3. Caste.
    4. Race.
    5. Strata
    1. Caste System.
    2. Estate System.
    3. Racial Discrimination.
    4. Social Differentiation.
    5. Social Stratification.
    1. Environmental Resources.
    2. Socioeconomic Status.
    3. Class Consciousness.
    4. Cultural Capital.
    5. Social Reproduction.
    1. Social Stratification.
    2. Social Status.
    3. Social Reputation.
    4. Social Identity.
    5. Affluence.
    1. The study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of domination, oppression or discrimination.
    2. The study of similar social identities and related systems of domination, oppression or discrimination.
    3. The study of intersecting social identities and related systems of domination, oppression or discrimination.
    4. The study of discrimination in social identities and related systems.
    5. The general study of domination, oppression or discrimination.
    1. Class System.
    2. Stratification.
    3. Caste System.
    4. Social Segregation.
    5. Social Mobility.

    Author of lecture Aspects of Social Stratification – Social Class (SOC)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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