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21 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Functionalist theory of social stratification
central issue: social order

focus of study: culture, tradition, values

source of problems: breakdown of moral order
Bureaucratic/elite theory of SS
central issue:
bureaucracy

source of problems: heirarchical authority structure

focus of study: institutions/elites and individual behavior
organizational theory
central issue: class conflict

source of problems: exploitation of labor

focus of study: Class struggle and social revolution
Functionalist Theory of Society and Social Stratification
• Political power is more or less evenly distributed among major groups
and institutions in society
• There is no one group or class that disproportionately influences and
controls society
• The state represents the interests of the entire people who are
represented through a variety of organizations
• Stratification is necessary to get various tasks done by occupationally
differentiating the population through an incentive structure


CRITIQUE:
• Takes society at face value, as stated in official documents (e.g. the Constitution)
• Goes by surface-level appearances, rather than investigating the real nature of society and
social inequality
Bureaucratic/Elite theory of Society and Social Stratification
• Society is hierarchic in nature and the state and other major
institutions of society are controlled by a dominant elite
• Power lies in the bureaucratic political institutions of society led by
an entrenched political elite
• Stratification and “life chances” among the population is based on
occupational, income, wealth, and status differentiation
• Power, privilege, and prestige are the result of one’s status within
the stratification system in society

CRITIQUE:
• Places too much emphasis on the political / bureaucratic / governing elites
• Ignores or dismisses the power of wealthy economic interests like the capitalist class
Marxist Theory of Society and
Social Inequality
• Political power is a reflection of economic power based on money
and wealth held by the dominant economic class
• The state in class-divided societies is the state of the dominant
economic class (e.g., slaveowners, landlords, capitalists)
• Social inequality in class-divided societies is the product of the
exploitation of one class by another (e.g., wage-labor by capital)
• Class, race, and gender oppression are the outcome of exploitative
relations and practices in society that benefit the ruling class

CRITIQUE:
• It sees political power as a reflection of economic power, thus downplays the nominal
power of bureaucrats in government
• Focusing on the dominant economic class, it sometimes underestimates the power of
non-economic actors, like the military and religious groups
Historical Development of Society
and Social Inequality
Communal Society: Egalitarian social relations based on common
property and sharing
Despotic Society: State-centered, bureaucratic rule by central
state based on public property (Ancient China, India)
Slave Society: Slave-owning society, slaves exploited as the
private property of masters (Ancient Greece and Rome)
Feudal Society: Landlord-ruled society based on the exploitation
of serfs and peasants (Medieval Europe)
Capitalist Society: Society based on the exploitation of wagelabor
by the capitalist class (Modern Europe, United States)
Socialist Society: Society ruled by the working class based on
state-owned public property (Modern China, Cuba, former USSR)
Communist Society: Society ruled by the whole people based on
common, community-owned property (none exists yet)
Why is class struggle the motive force of history and the source of social transformation?
Class conflict is based on inequality in
relations of production. It arises when
one class labors and another reaps the
profits (for example, slaves vs.
slaveowners, serfs vs. landlords, and
wage-laborers vs. capitalists).

This leads to the polarization of
classes, class consciousness, and class
struggle. It is through class struggle
(which takes place at different levels
and in various forms) that
fundamental social change comes
about.

It is in this way that societies and
social systems are transformed. The
highest form of class struggle is class
war (commonly referred to as “civil
war”), which often results in revolution
or counter-revolution, or both.
Class Conflict
Arises from class inequality and
opposing class interests. It exists
between any two (or more) antagonistic
classes and takes various forms in
different social and historical contexts.
What is class struggle?
Class Struggle
Arises from class conflict and is the
expression of the highest level of class
consciousness. Such struggle takes
place at the economic, social and
political levels and, if successful, it
may lead to social revolution.
What is class conflict?
Class Conflict
Arises from class inequality and
opposing class interests. It exists
between any two (or more) antagonistic
classes and takes various forms in
different social and historical contexts.
Communal Society
Egalitarian social relations based on common
property and sharing

Relations of production: no classes or division of labor, except by sex

associated conditions: low pop.

contradictions: possibility of economic surplus and exchange
Despotic Society
State-centered, bureaucratic rule by central
state based on public property (Ancient China, India)
Slave Society
Slave-owning society, slaves exploited as the
private property of masters (Ancient Greece and Rome)
Feudal Society
Landlord-ruled society based on the exploitation
of serfs and peasants (Medieval Europe)
Capitalist Society
Society based on the exploitation of wagelabor
by the capitalist class (Modern Europe, United States)
Socialist Society
Society ruled by the working class based on state-owned public property (Modern China, Cuba, former USSR)
Communist Society
Society ruled by the whole people based on common, community-owned property (none exists yet)
Capitalist Class (bourgeoisie)
owners
(~ 2% of the population)
(a) monopoly (big business) sector
(b) non-monopoly (competitive) sector
Working Class
(proletariat) wage-labor (~ 85% of the labor force)
(a) industrial workers
(b) farm workers
(c) clerical workers
(d) service workers
(e) highly technical workers
(f) retired and/or temporarily unemployed workers
Self-employed(petty bourgeoisie)
own account (~ 15% of the labor force)
(a) shopkeepers
(b) family farmers
(c) professionals and managers
Unemployed(lumpenproletariat )
welfare/poor (~ 8-10% of the population)
(a) permanently unemployed
(b) homeless/street people
(c) disabled/unemployed
(d) criminal element
(e) dropouts