Essay on Social Hierarchy, Or Social Stratification

1296 Words Nov 27th, 2016 6 Pages
Social hierarchy, or social stratification, exists in almost every part of human society, be it formal or informal. Social hierarchies in different societies vary along several dimensions: the criteria used to differentiate people into one level of society or another, the number of levels that exist, the kinds of privileges and rights that attach to people at different levels, and the strength of the social boundaries that separate the different levels (Robbins, 2013). This paper will discuss why many people have accepted these hierarchies as natural, how they have been used to justify social inequality, and the ways in which people’s lives have been affected by them.
Social hierarchy considers a wide range of elements, such as class, race, age, gender, culture, or religion. How one succeeds in society is not based on any one variable, but a combination of stratification related factors. Some are ascribed stratifiers, those which people are born into, and some are achieved stratifiers, those traits that will affect a person’s position in the social hierarchy but that they still have some control over.
People with specific ascribed characteristics have been mistreated and unfairly judged in ways that have greatly impacted their standing and achievement in life and continue to do so today. Some examples of ascribed stratifiers are sex, age, and race. Race has always been of great importance because throughout history, people have been treated differently due to their…

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