Social Stratification In The United States

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Social stratification can be defined as “a system in which groups of people are divided into layers according to their relative property, power, and prestige” (p.191). One of these layers is called a social class. This type of social stratification is unlike the others in the fact that you actually have “social mobility”, but the position you were born in does determine the difficulty level of find success (p.197). The three main criteria in which a person’s or group’s position in social class is determined, which was first thought up by Max Weber, is in fact property, power, and prestige (p.199). These three criteria shape social class, and social class is important in shaping our understanding of social stratification in both the United States …show more content…
Power can come from wealth, but really it is just about how well a person or group is able to manipulate their surroundings. People tend to confuse greed and the hunger for power, but they are completely different. Greed simple means that you want to have an immense amount of wealth, while people who are power hunger want control. Realistically more evil comes from the second one. On a global scale power is usually defined by military might. The reason the United States is considered the most powerful nation in the world is because we have the largest military force. This defines our position in the global social stratification. Here in the United States power is defined by the person who creates and implements decisions, such as laws, regulations, and sanctions. While this is a democracy it is also a republic. Meaning that while we are, sort of, the ones who decide who represents us, we have very few options when it comes to controlling what they do with their political position. This creates a divide between regular citizens and the “power elite” (p.226). The power elite are the individuals who, according to the political science definition of government, own the monopoly on legitimate violence in a certain geographic territory. The power elite also can consist of those who have used their wealth to gain power of people and politicians (p.226). This define the understanding of social stratification in the United

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