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58 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Age of Shared Prosperity
The years from the end of World War II to the early 1970s, when the annual earnings of American workers at all levels grew at a healthy pace and economic inequalities declined.
Age of Growing Inequality
The period beginning in the mid-1970s when wage growth stagnated and the distribution of earnings became increasingly unequal.
• Association: Patterns of interpersonal contact, such as shared leisure, friendship, and marriage, especially among members of the same class. Class sub cultures, marked by common values and lifestyles, can emerge when people of similar class position associate more often with one another than with people.
Marx’s term for the class that owns the means of production and controls the superstructure in a capitalist society.
An economic system based on private ownership of business (capital) and controlled by markets in which capital, labor, goods and services are freely bought and sold.
The funds, goods, machinery, land, and so on, invested in an enterprise b its owners.
Capitalist Class
The very small top class composed of people whose income is largely derived from on assets.
Class Consciousness
The recognition by members of a class of their common identity and shared interests. Marx saw class consciousness as a precursor to class conflict and revolution. Modern social scientists are more interested in class consciousness as an influence on political opinion, electoral preferences, and labor militancy.
Giblert-Kahl model of the class structure
The authors’ model of the American class structure. Based on economic distinctions, particularly source of income (notably, assets, jobs, and government transfers) and occupation, rather than on prestige distinctions. The model divides the American class system into six classes: the capitalist class, the upper-middle class, the middle class, the working class, the working poor, and the underclass.
In studies of income, a domestic unit consisting of families. Individuals residing alone, or unrelated persons residing together.
Term used by Marx to refer to the dominant ideas of a society, especially those that justify the status quo, along with the privileges and power of the ruling class. Ideology may be explicitly political or subtly, even unconsciously, embedded in conceptions of religion, the family, education, law, etc. Marx argued that a society’s ideology is controlled by the dominant class through its power over the institutions that create and disseminate ideas, such as schools, mass media, churches, and courts.
The inflow of money over a period of time. Distinguished from wealth, which refers to assets owned at a point in time. The primary source of income for most households is job earnings. Others include government transfers, such as social security benefits and public assistance, interest on bank accounts or bonds, dividends from corporate stock shares, profits from a business or professional practice, and profits from the sale of assets.
Life Chances
Aspects of an individual’s future possibilities that are shaped by class membership, from the infant’s chances for decent nutrition to the adult’s opportunities for worldly success. First used my Max Weber to emphasize the extent to which class position shapes each person’s chance of attaining the good things in life.
Introduced by Weber to describe distinctive patterns of social interaction, leisure, consumption, dress, language, and so on, associated with a social group – in particular, a class or, in Weber’s terminology, a “status group”.
Means of Production
In Marx, the implements and physical structures that are necessary for production such as land, machines, mines, or factories. Marx argued that a person’s social relationship to the means of production defines his or her class position. He defined the bourgeoisie as the class that owns the means of production in a capitalist society and the proletariat as the class of workers compelled to sell their labor to the owners in order to survive.
Middle Class
One of the two largest classes in the Gilber-Kahl model. Located below the upper-middle class and above the working class. Composed of lower managers, semi-professionals, crafts workers, foremen, and non-retail sales people. A higher level of skill or knowledge and independence required on the job distinguishes the middle-class from the working class below. More loosely, middle class refers to the upper part of the class hierarchy in contrast to the working class or lower part.
Mode of Production
Marx’s term for a society’s basic socio-economic system. Encompasses both the technology with which the society meets its economic needs and the social organization of production. Feudalism and capitalism are distinctive modes of production.
A social role that describes the major work that a person does to earn a living. An individual’s occupation or that of a family’s main income earner is a key determinant of class position.
The capacity of individuals or groups to carry out their will even over the opposition of others, especially in broad political and economic contexts. For example, the power of the capitalist class over national economic priorities.
Social esteem or honor. Expressed in attitudes of respect or deference in social interaction. Sometimes used interchangeably with status. When a grou of people or families in a community share a common position of prestige, they may be described as a prestige class.
Marx’s term for the working class, defined as people who must sell their labor power to business owners to survive in a capitalist society.
Social Class
A large group of families approximately equal in rank and clearly differentiated from other families with regard to characteristics such as occupation, prestige, or wealth.
Social Mobility
The extent to which people move up or down in the class system, typically measured by occupational status. Intergenerational mobility is the movement of individuals relative to their parents’ position. Social succession is the inheritance of parents’ position. Intergenerational mobility is movement in the course of an individual’s own career.
Social Status
same as status
Social Stratification
Ranking of individuals or families based on characteristics such as occupation, income, wealth, and social prestige. The hierarchy may be continuous or divided into a series of discrete social classes, consisting of people of roughly equal rank. Thus, class is a special case of stratification.
The process through which people learn the skills, attitudes, and customs needed to participate in the life of the community. Class-specific socialization reinforces distinctive class attitudes and lifestyles and encourages individuals to assume the class position of their parents.
Synonym for social prestige. Also, used more generally in sociology to refer to any distinctive social condition or position. Weber wrote about “status groups,” which he described as social communities of people who share a common position of social honor (or dishonor). Weber distinguished status groups from economically defined classes. His use of the concept established the idea of separate social and economic dimensions of stratification systems.
Marx’s term for the dominant political institutions and ideology of a society. The means by which the ruling class controls a society. Marx distinguished between the superstructure and the socio-economic base or foundation of a society.
The bottom class in the Gilbert-Kahl model. Low-income families with a tenuous relationship to the job market, whose incomes often depend on government programs. The term is sometimes used in a negative sense to refer to a class of people who are impoverished and mired in habits and circumstances that prevent them from ever joining the mainstream.
Upper-Middle Class
In the Glibert-Kahl model, the class below the capitalist class and above the middle class, consisting of well-paid, university-trained managers and professionals.
The value of assets owned by an individual or family at a point in time. Distinguished from income, which refers to value received over a period of time. Typical forms of wealth are homes, automobiles, bank accounts, and business or financial assets, including commercial real estate, small enterprises, stocks, and bonds. An important distinction is made between wealth held for personal use, such as home, and wealth held in the form of income-producing assets such as stocks or commercial real estate. Wealth is typically measured as net worth, the value of assets owned plus the amount of debt owed.
Working Class
One of the two largest classes in the Gilbert-Kahl model. Located below the middle class and above the working poor. Composed of low-skill manual workers clerical workers, and retail sales people. Commonly, the term working class is used to refer to the lower portion of the class structure or all blue-collar workers.
Working Poor
In the Gilbert-Kahl model, the class below the working class and above the underclass, consisting of people who hold low-wage, low-skill, often-insecure jobs typically involving menial blue-collar, sales, or service work.
Blue-Collar Workers
Manual workers including crafts workers, operatives, and laborers. Sometimes used as shorthand for the working class. Distinguished from white-collar workers and service workers.
Cutting Consistency
The degree of community consensus about the points at which a hierarchy of individuals, families, or occupations should be divided into social classes. Studies have shown there is greater consensus about rankings than division into classes.
Occupational Prestige
The status or respect accorded an occupation. Measured by occupational prestige scores derived from opinion surveys. Occupational prestige influences personal prestige, especially when people do not have detailed knowledge of each other’s income, family background, lifestyle, associations, and so on.
Ranking Consistency
The degree of community consensus about rankings in a hierarchy of individuals, families, or occupations. Studies show greater consensus about ranking than about division of the hierarchy into classes.
Social Clique
According to W. Lloyd Warner, an intimate non-kin group with no more than 30 members Warner found that most social cliques are composed of people of the same or adjacent classes.
Social Strata
see strata, social
Socioeconomic Status (SES)
Social standing or prestige, especially as measured by the occupational prestige scores.
White-Collar Workers
Office workers, including the Census categories of managers, professionals, clerical workers, and sales workers. Sometimes used to refer to the middle-class. Distinguished from blue-collar and service workers.
Distribution of Income
The pattern of income inequality, typically presented in one of two formats: (1) the distribution of households across income levels (how many households earn between 0 and $10000, $10001 to $15000, etc?) or (2) the division of shares of aggregate income among fractions of the population (what percentage of all income is received by the richest fifth of households, the second fifth, and so on?)
Distribution of Wealth
The pattern of wealth inequality, typically measured as the proportion of all wealth (or net worth) owned by some percentage of the population.
A portion of a company’s profits periodically paid to its shareholders in proportion to the number of shares each owns.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC
A provision of the federal tax code reducing the taxes of low-income families with job earnings. Those who qualify, but owe little or no federal income tax, may receive the credit as a cash payment. An important supplement to the post-tax incomes of many poor families.
Effective Tax Rates
The proportion of household income lost to the combined effect of all taxes (income tax, payroll taxes, estate tax, and so on). Typically used in connection with federal taxes. Since taxes vary considerably in their incidence at different income levels, effective tax rates provide a useful measure of class differences in total tax burden. Often effective tax rates are computed fr each income quintile and the top 1 percent of households.
Government Transfers
Payments to individuals such as Social Security, veterans benefits, and public assistance that are not directly in exchange for goods or services provided.
Gross Assets
A measure of wealth that is equal to the total value of the assets someone owns.
Investor Class (wealth class)
Three classes, conceptualized by the authors, that describe the distribution of wealth in the United States. The nearly property-less class, about 40 percent of the population, have little or even negative net worth. The nest-egg class, about 50 percent of the population, typically have significant equity in homes and cars, plus thin cushion of interest-earning assets, such as bank accounts, and modest holdings of stocks or mutual funds. The investor class, 10% of the population, own most of the privately held investment assets and typically control large diversified portfolios.
The mathematical average (sum of all values divided by the number of cases).
a measure of central tendency used to compare groups or measure change in a particular group over time.
Nearly Property-less class
see wealth class
nest-egg class
see wealth class
net worth
see wealth
Progressive Tax
A tax that takes higher proportions of income at higher income levels. The federal income tax, with its escalating marginal tax rates, is the most important progressive tax.
A ranked fifth of the population being studied. Comparisons of earnings, income, and wealth are often made among quintiles of households, ranked form the richest quintile to the poorest.
Real Income
Income adjusted for inflation so that comparisons over long periods can be made. Always denominated in dollar of a specific year. Similar to conversion of prices from one national currency into another. For example, incomes from the 1970s restated in 2000 dollars would be several times higher, while representing the same purchasing power.
Regressive Tax
A tax that takes higher proportions of income at lower income levels. The retail sales tax, though charged at a flat rate, is a regressive tax because low-income households, unlike high-income households, spend virtually all their income on retail items.
Working Rich
A small stratum at the top of the upper-middle class, consisting of very successful professionals (notably, lawyers, doctors, dentists), small business owners, and ranking (but not top) corporate executives, all with incomes in the hundreds of thousands.