Theories of social stratification | Sociology Notes UPSC

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Theories of social stratification

Theories like structural functionalism, Marxism, and Weberian theory

1. There are different levels of people in every society. It’s historical because it happens in all societies, both old and new, and it’s global because it happens in both simple and complicated societies. All societies have a history of putting people into groups based on how rich or poor they are.

2.These social strata, layers, divisions, and subdivisions have been accepted over time based on gender and age, rank and role, qualifications and inefficiency, life chances and economic cum, political ascription and monopolisation, ritual and ceremony, and many other factors. It has many different kinds. It is still based on things like being better or worse, being in charge or being a follower, and having a job or a calling.

Even though there have been new ideas, radicalism, equality, democracy, socialism, and communism, social stratification has stayed the same. A society without class is just a dream. The division seems to have something to do with the way people think.

4. History can’t explain how the different levels of society came to be. It’s hard to say for sure if early societies were divided into classes or not. Even in the Indus Valley world, there were different kinds of people. It looks like they had priests and other groups.

Meaning and Nature:

1. By “stratification,” we mean the way that a group or society is set up so that roles are arranged in a hierarchy. The roles are not the same in terms of power, property, evaluation, and how they make you feel. We add the word “social” because places are made up of social statuses.

2. Stratification happens in all societies that have made more than they need. Stratification is when people in a society put themselves and each other in a hierarchy based on how many valuable things they have.

3. The problem of social imbalance has been around for a long time because of stratification. In societies with limited stratification systems, these kinds of differences are set in stone and hard to change. A person who is born into a certain economic and social caste stays in that caste until he or she dies. Most industrialised countries today have open or class-based systems. In open stratification systems, it is possible to move up or down the social ladder, but not everyone has the chance to reach their full potential.

4. Stratification is the process of putting people and groups in a more or less permanent order of status. It means dividing a group into layers, or “strata,” based on things like personality, wealth, and performance.

5. Raymond W. Murray says that “Social stratification is a way of dividing society into higher and lower social units on a horizontal plane. Malvin M. Tumin says that social stratification is when a group or society sets up a hierarchy of places that are not the same in terms of power, property, social standing, and/or social pleasure.

6. Lundberg writes, “A stratified society is one in which people have different opinions about who is better and who is worse than them.” Gisbert says, “Social stratification is the way that society is split into permanent groups of categories that are linked by a hierarchy of power.”

7. According to Bernard Barber, “Social stratification in its broadest sense is a sociological concept that means people and groups of people are seen as belonging to higher or lower strata or classes based on some specific or general characteristic or set of characteristics.” Sociologists have been able to figure out that a society has different levels or strata that make up a hierarchy of power or status.

8. The process of layering in a society leads to the formation of social classes, which are structure forms. When there are different classes in a society, the social organisation looks like a pyramid. The lowest social class is at the bottom of the building, and the other social classes are set up in a hierarchy above it.

9. This means that stratification includes two things: 1) putting people or groups in different ranks, so that some people or groups are higher than others; and 2) putting people in different ranks based on how they are valued.

10. From this point of view, we can say that every society is made up of more or less separate groups. There is no known society that doesn’t put people on some kind of scale of value to show how important they are. There has never been a society where everyone is equal in rank and has the same rights.

Sorokin said, “An unclassed society in which everyone is really the same is a myth that has never been realised in the history of mankind.” In smaller, less complex towns, there might not be any class differences other than those based on age, gender, and family ties. But in the ancient world, chieftainship, individual skill, and clan or family property started to create different levels. But stratification in modern societies is very different from stratification in ancient societies.

12. When people were first living, There aren’t many differences between classes. In the modern industrial age, lands are passed from one social class to the next. Even though there are no longer any hereditary ranks, there are still big differences in economic power and social possibilities.

13. Each member of every society, both in the past and the present, has a different part in the group. The formal positions or statuses that a society gives its members define these roles.People and groups are compared and ranked by society based on the different values it gives to different jobs. When people and groups are put into a hierarchy of status levels based on differences in social place, this is called social stratification.

Stratification has the following Characteristics:

Melvin M. Tumin has said that social division has the following traits:

1. It is a social process. Stratification is a social process because it doesn’t show differences that are based on biology. It is true that things like strength, education, age, and sex can often be used to show who is more important. But these differences are not enough to explain why some classes have more power, wealth, and prestige than others. Biological traits don’t show who is better or worse in society until they are accepted by society. For example, a boss of an industry doesn’t get to be in charge because he’s strong or old, but because he has certain traits that society values. People think that his schooling, training, experience, personality, character, etc. are more important than his physical traits.

2. It’s Old: The system of division has been around for a long time. Even in the small groups that moved around, there were different classes. Age and gender are the main ways that people are put into groups. Almost every ancient civilization had differences between the rich and the poor, the strong and the humble, and free people and slaves. Since Plato and Kautilya’s time, social philosophers have been very worried about economic, social, and political inequality.

3. Everyone has it. Everyone has social inequality. The ‘haves’ or ‘have notes’ show the difference between the rich and the poor. Even in countries where people don’t read or write, there is a lot of stratification.

4. It comes in many forms: Social class has never been the same in every society. In ancient Rome, there were two levels of people: the Patricians and the Plebians.The Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Sudras were the four Varnas that made up Aryan society. The ancient Greeks had freemen and slaves, and the ancient Chinese had mandarins, merchants, farmers, and warriors. In the modern world, class and land seem to be the main ways that people are put into different groups.

5. It Has Effects: The structure of stratification has its own effects. Because of division, people don’t get the most important, most wanted, and often rarest things in life in the same way. There are two kinds of results from the system:

• Life chances: Things that affect life chances include the death rate of babies, how long people live, physical and mental sickness, marital problems, separation, and divorce.

• Life style: This includes things like how people live, where they live, what they do for fun, how parents and children interact, how they get around, and so on.

Elements of Social Stratification:

Some things are the same in all forms of stratification. Differentiation, ranking, evaluation, and reward have been named as these factors. Here, Tumin is used to talk about the different parts of social order.

Differentiation of status:

Status differentiation is the way that different social roles are defined and set apart from each other by giving them their own set of rights and duties, such as being a father or mother.

Status differentiation works better when:

1. Tasks are clear and easy to understand.

2. There is a difference between power and duty.

3. There are ways to hire and train people.

4. There are enough rewards and punishments, like money, to drive people.

Responsibilities, resources, and rights are not given to specific people, but to their position. Because that’s the only way societies can come up with general, uniform rules or norms that apply to many different people in the same position, like all the different women who will be parents. Differentiation is not a process that works on its own. Ranking is the most important thing you need to know to understand how difference works.

Ranking is based on:

1. Personal traits that people are thought to need to learn and play the parts well, such as intelligence, aggression, and politeness.

2. The skills and abilities that are thought to be needed to do a job well, such as surgery, math, or language skills.

3. General things about the job, like how hard it is, how clean it is, how dangerous it is, and so on. The point of scoring is to find the best person for each job.

Jobs are ranked as harder or easier, cleaner or dirtier, safer or more dangerous, and people are ranked as slower, better, or more skilled than others, but this doesn’t mean that some people are more important in society than others because of these qualities. Ranking is a selective process in that only some statuses are chosen to be compared, and only some of the factors for ranking are actually used. For example, the status of “Father-Mother” is not ranked.

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1. The evaluation method makes it easier to tell people apart and rank them. The ranking process is based on how much or how little of something there is. The rating process, on the other hand, is based on how good or bad something is. Evaluation is something that people and groups do.

2. This means that people give everything a relative value, a level of taste, and a ranking of how much they want it. So long as judging is a learned skill, people in a group tend to agree on a common set of values. The social aspect of evaluation stratification that is most important is this value agreement.

3. There are three parts to assessing:

• Prestige: This means having honour and acting in a polite way. Radcliffe Brown says that in hunting societies, the old, people with supernatural powers, and people with special skills like hunting are often given more respect than other people. In the more advanced culture, prestige is the thing that is hard to get, so it is worth more.

• Preferability: Positions, such as status jobs, that are preferred by most people are given more weight. For example, “I want to be a doctor.”

• Popularity: People give more weight to high-status roles that are popular and well-known to be very prestigious. For example, it’s popular for students to go into engineering jobs these days because they are known to be very prestigious. It is the job that most people want.


Different statuses get different good things in life because they are different, ranked, and evaluated. Families, subcultures, social groups, and jobs that are different from each other in some way are rewarded in different ways. Some of the benefits are good health care, schooling, money, and important jobs.

There are two kinds of Rewards:

1. Abundant: Having a lot of things that aren’t material and are more spiritual or mental, like pleasure, love, and respect, that you get from playing a role.

2. Scarce: When gifts are wanted and hard to get, social class becomes important. In a world where rewards aren’t given to everyone the same way, those with power take these rewards.

In the end, we can say that differentiation, ranking, evaluation, and rewards are the social processes that form and keep the system of stratification in place.

Basis or Forms of Stratification:

Social stratification can be built on many different things or ideas that overlap, such as free and not free, class, caste, estate, occupation, administrative hierarchy, or level of income.

1. Free and not free: A society’s people can be split into free people and slaves.

• In some places, slaves don’t have any rights or benefits. The boss can do almost anything with the slave. His owner is in charge of him. Slaves can always be bought and sold, but how they are treated and how much safety they get varies from place to place and over time. Slaves come from many different places, such as war, slavery, buying, being born, or being taken for debt.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, serfs usually owned a small piece of land that they could farm on their own. But they had to work the fields of their local land owner and pay extra taxes in some cases. People in Europe were either land owners or serfs. A serf is not as much a slave as a slave.

Class: Class is one of the main ways that people in modern, educated countries divide themselves into different groups. In countries where everyone is free before the law, stratification may be based on how people think they are better or worse than others. Ginsberg says that social classes are parts of a community or a group of people who stand in relation to each other in terms of quality and are set apart from other people by accepted standards of superiority and weakness. Maclver and Page say that a social class is “any part of a community that is set apart from the rest by social status.”

• A structure of social class includes an order of status groups, an understanding of who is better and who is worse, and a certain amount of stability in the structure. When a society has different social classes, its social organisation looks like a pyramid that has been cut off at the top.

o The lowest social class, which is set up in an order, is at the bottom of the structure. People in the same class are equal to each other and can be told apart from people in other classes by accepted measures of superiority and inferiority. Inequality and differences in rank are part of a class system.

3. Caste: Caste is also a way to divide people into different groups. In an open society, people can move from one class or standing level to another. This means that everyone has the same chances. The class system is “closed” when this kind of chance is almost impossible to find.The Indian caste structure is a great example of this, A “caste” system is one in which a person’s rank and the rights and responsibilities that come with it are based on their birth into a certain group. In traditional India, Hindu society was made up of five main groups: four Varnas, or castes, and the out caste, whose members were called “untouchables.”

• Each class is made up of smaller groups called “sub castes.” There are many thousands of sub castes in all. Priests, who belong to the top caste, are called Brahmins. They represent purity, holiness, and sanctity. They are where we learn, get wise, and find the truth. On the other hand, untouchables are seen as dirty and impure, which affects their interactions with everyone else. They should be kept away from people of other castes and live on the edges of towns. In general, the hierarchy of power is the same as the hierarchy of status, which is based on ideas of ritual purity. The Brahmins were in charge of the law, and much of the legal system they ran was based on what they said. Most of the time, differences in wealth were linked to differences in status and power.

4. Estate and Status: The estate system is the same as feudalism, which was the root of social class in Europe from the fall of the Roman Empire until the rise of the commercial classes and especially the French Revolution in 1989.

• In Russia, it kept going on in one way or another until the October Revolution of 1917. Under this system, land was thought to be a gift from God to the king. Since there were no local administrative systems, the king gave land, called Estates or fiefs, to nobles, who were called lords temporal, in exchange for military service. The lords temporal, in turn, gave land to the lower class in exchange for an oath of loyalty and military support. The person who owned the land was called a vassal. The people who worked the land were called serfs, and those who were even lower than serfs were called slaves.At first, these grants and the benefits that came with them were more personal. Later, when the central government got weaker, the estate and the benefits that came with it were passed down from generation to generation. The church did the same. Over time, the lords of the earthly estate, the lords of the spiritual estate, and the commons grew up. They were called serfs. They were a little better than slaves, who were property under the law. They had no rights as citizens. In Russia, for example, about nine-tenths of the farmable land was owned by the Czar, the ruling family, and about a lakh noble families. It was worked by millions of people who were called serfs. Serfdom went on until 1861, when it was finally done away with.In all of Europe, people were put into different social classes based on their estates. It was built on all kinds of inequality; Economically, there were not many landlords, but there were a lot of serfs and slaves. Socially, a person’s land determined their social standing and role, and people without land had to work just to stay safe.They were just the servants; Politically, the fact that the estate was given in exchange for military service made the owner the backbone of the state and gave him full control over the people and things in his estate. The nobles and their important vassals lived well, while the rest of the people were poor. Mobility didn’t pay any taxes and didn’t do their feudal tasks, but they still got all of their dues. They were immune to the law and had special rights in politics. They made their own laws and forced people to work for them.

5. Occupation and Income: Occupation is a part of economic systems that affects the way people are put into social classes.In her study “Social Stratification in France and the United States,” Rogoff pointed out that “occupational position is the most often mentioned factor in determining class position across all strata in both societies.”Talcott Parsons also confirmed this for the United States when he said, “The main way to tell a man’s class status is by what he does at work, because prestige is tied to occupation.” In advanced countries, a person’s job determines his or her social standing. P.K. Hatt and C.C. North have tried to rank jobs in the United States.In this state, a random group of adults from all over the country were asked to rate the prestige of 90 different jobs. The ‘physician’ was the most respected, while the’shoe shiner’ was the least. In between them, there were other jobs like office work, sales, etc. People are also separated by how much money they have. Different incomes lead to a very different standard of living. • In all capitalist countries, cash and real income are spread out in a gradient, with a small group at the top getting a lot of money and a larger but still small group of people in the “negative income” bracket.

Race and ancestry: In the past and in some places even now, race and culture were seen as the source of inequality and social stratification.

• Wherever they went, people from the West claimed to be better than other races and said that was why they were successful. They thought that the ‘natives’ were of a lower-class race. In Africa, the U.S., and some European countries, the race conflict is still the main cause of social stratification and inequality. • In South Africa, the whites are a status group that Africans can’t join, no matter how rich or skilled they are. The Greeks and Romans also had ideas about race, and so did the Turks in our land.

• The Turko-Afghans thought that Indian Mussalmans were a lower class, so they didn’t usually give them jobs with a lot of duty or trust. Balban, who lived from 1266 to 1286 and was born a Turk, thought that Turks were better than other people and were the only ones who could rule. During the height of British imperialism, the British had similar ideas. They treated everyone else in their colonies better than they treated us.

7. The ruling class always thinks it is better than the people it rules over. This shows the psychology behind the relationship between a “lord” and a “servant.”

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• The differences did not go away because of democracy. The ruling class uses political parties and pressure groups to have an effect on the community and keep themselves in power. In newly independent countries like ours, political power is held by a group of “new men” who don’t have much experience but control the party and the government. These “new men” form a new ruling elite because they started the party and run the government. They have so much power that a newcomer can hardly do anything on his own. He needs them to back him up. Without the “blessings” of the elite, the people don’t have much of a voice. They have to agree that what is good for them is good.

8. Administrative Position: Sometimes stratification is based on administrative position. For example, people in the Civil Service have a better status than people in the Provincial Service. Members of the military with better ranks also get more respect. When it comes to police and military service, the clothing, badges, and ribbons that the officers wear make the differences between them clearer. Sprott said, “In the Civil Service, a person’s grade is shown by the shape of the chair he sits on and the size of the desk where he writes.”

Function of Social Stratification:

• For society to work well, it needs to figure out a way for people with different jobs to be recognised in different ways. If each action brings the same kind of money and status, there won’t be any competition for different jobs.

• Stratification is the way that different roles are arranged in a hierarchy. Because of this system, there are now Upper, Middle, Working, and Lower classes, as well as castes like Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Sudras. The functions that stratification serves for both the person and society show how important it is.

For the person: The system of stratification affects the whole society, but it also helps the person in some ways.

Competition: People fight with each other based on their characteristics, and only those with better characteristics get more attention. This could be in sports, school, work, or other areas.

2. Recognising Talent: People with more schooling, training, and experience are given better jobs. People who deserve it are not treated the same as people who deserve it. This kind of method helps people get better at what they do.

Motivation: The system of social order gives people a reason to work hard so they can move up in society. It’s especially true in societies where you can earn a standing.

4. Job Satisfaction: Because people are given jobs based on their skills and schooling, they are happy with their jobs. If a person with more education isn’t allowed to move up the social ladder, he or she will be unhappy with their job.

5.Mobility: The method of earned status also gives people the chance to move up or down the ladder. People move up the social ladder when they work hard and are smart. Those who don’t meet standards, on the other hand, move down. So, the fact that people know their jobs could change keeps them on their toes and makes them work hard.

Functions for the Society:

The social class system also helps the society move forward and stay healthy. This is clear when we look at two ways that people are put into different groups.

Form of Stratification Based on Attributes: Under the caste system, a person’s position is set at birth, and the different castes are set up in a hierarchy.

• But even within the caste system, people with higher status are those who do their caste jobs well and efficiently. On the other hand, even if a person is in the same caste, they have a lower standing if they don’t do their job well.Because of how this base works, there are now smaller castes. In other words, there are different subcastes within a caste group, and these subcastes are arranged in a hierarchy. Fixing the rank of a caste group also helps the people in it get better training. As soon as the members know what their jobs will be in the future, they start training.

• This was more likely to happen in traditional societies, where information was considered sacred and could only be gained by being part of a caste group. In this way, we can see that society was well-served by the ascriptive form of stratification, and there was interdependence between the castes because their jobs were specialised.

2. Form Achieved: Under the achieved form of social stratification, a person’s social standing is based on how valuable they are. The following things are done by this method for society:

• Jobs in order of importance: Depending on how important a job is, different jobs are put into different organisational groups. High status is given to jobs that are very important to the well-being of society, while low status is given to jobs that don’t require special training. A method like this is easy to understand and makes people want to work hard so they can get jobs with high status.

• Divide by intelligence: People are not all the same when it comes to their intelligence. People who are smarter can do more difficult jobs for society. So, they have a lot of different options and a lot of respect.

• Training: Society has a lot of complicated plans for training young people. People who spend a lot of time training and learning new skills get high returns in return. Even though these people start working later than others, they make more money and have a better social status because of it.

• Work efficiency: People in the right jobs have the right information and training. So, they are also more productive at work. Parasites and people who don’t want to work have no place in this scheme. The rule is that only the strongest will be able to stay alive.

• Development: The race to move up the social ladder has led to new inventions, new ways of doing work, and more efficient ways of doing things. This method has helped the country move forward and grow. The high level of development in Western societies is due to the fact that these societies use an open system of stratification. In this way, we can see that the system of division helps society move forward. Some sociologists think that social stratification is also linked to dysfunctions, such as causing frustration, worry, and mental tension. In short, we can say that there are both good and bad reasons for social division. But no society can live without a way to divide people into different groups.

Theories of Social Stratification

Structure Functionalist Theory

1. The structural-functionalist point of view tries to explain social stratification by looking at how it helps keep social order and security.

2. The TALCOTT PARSONS thought that order and stability based on what people agree is important. People who act in line with these beliefs are ranked higher than those who don’t. In a society that puts a high value on individual performance, a successful business executive would be at the top of the list, while people who fight in battles and wars would be at the top of the list.

3.Functionalists say that the relationships between social groups in society are based on teamwork and mutual dependence. Parsons says that in an industrial society with a lot of specialisation, some people are good at organising and planning, while others do what they say. Some jobs are more important to the functioning of society than others. Most of the time, these are higher on the social ladder and bring in more money than others. Because of this, power and status will always be shared unevenly.

Wilbert Moore and Kinsley Davis:.

1. They talked for a long time about whether stratification is necessary for society to work, what determines a person’s place, how society works and stratification, and how a stratified system can change. They said that unequal distribution of rights and privileges, which leads to social inequality, gives people a reason to do the work for their position and try to move up to a position with more respect and esteem.

2. Because of this, social inequality makes sure that the most important jobs are filled by the most capable people. So, “no matter how simple or complicated a society is, people must be treated differently in terms of prestige and esteem, and there must be a certain amount of institutionalised inequality because of this” (Davis and Moore). The best-paying and highest-ranking jobs are those that are very important to society and require the most training or skill. They explain that, in reality, a society only needs to give high-ranking jobs enough pay to make sure they are filled by qualified people. It might also be clear that a role that is important in one society might not be in another.

Kinsley Davis and Wilbert Moor say the following about their main argument:

1. “In every society, there are some jobs that are more important than others and require special skills to do well. In every society, only a certain number of people have the skills that can be taught into the skills needed for these jobs.

2. People who want to turn their gifts into skills have to train for a while and make sacrifices of one kind or another while they do so. To get talented people to make these sacrifices and get the training, their future positions must come with an incentive in the form of differential reward, which means that they will get more of the scarce and desired rewards that society has to give.

3. These rare and wanted goods are the rights and perks that come with or are built into the roles. They can be put into three groups: things that help with a) food and comfort, b) fun or distraction, and c) self-respect and growth.

4. Because different groups have different levels of access to the basic benefits of society, they also have different levels of status and respect.

5. Because of this, there will always be differences between social groups in the amount of scarce and wanted things they have access to, as well as how much prestige and respect they get.

Melvin Tumin Critisises the functional proposition of Davis and Moore.

1. He says that from the start, it’s not right to think that some jobs are functionally more important than others. For example, it’s not right to think that engineers in a plant are functionally more important than unskilled workers because they have special skills. Some unskilled workers are just as important and necessary for the factory to run as some engineers. Also, the relative importance and respectability of a set of skills in a society depends a lot on the bargaining power of the people who have them. How this power is rated varies on the system that is used. Motivation is based on a number of things, and awards and other incentives are just two of them.

The second criticism is about the range of abilities and the small number of people who have talents. Tumin disagrees with this idea because he thinks that no society has enough information to be able to figure out and judge the amount of ability in that society. He says that strictly stratified societies are less likely to be able to find out new things about their members’ skills. If the different rewards and chances are socially passed down from one generation to the next, it becomes harder to find talents in the next generation. More importantly, motivation rests on how rewards were given out in the generation before. This means that different levels of drive in a generation are caused by different amounts of rewards in the generation before. Elites in society make it hard for people to get into powerful positions. Take the Indian Caste System as an example.

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The other idea that Davis and Moore have introduces the idea of suffering that Tumin talks about. He questions why bright people who are getting training often make sacrifices, since they lose money by giving up their ability to make money and paying for the training. One of the main points of contention is the idea that the training time in a system is basically lost. This isn’t always true, though, because the costs of teaching people may be paid for by society as a whole. If this happens, it doesn’t make sense to pay different amounts to different people when the skilled jobs are filled.

4. Tumin says that Davis and Moore’s other idea that people have different access to the rewards they want doesn’t hold, even if the training plan is cut and talent is rare in society. Giving different benefits isn’t the only way to get the right people to apply for top jobs, and it’s not even clear that it’s the best way. The joy of work, job satisfaction, and socially important roles that have become part of the workplace. Davis and Moore haven’t thought about this part.

5. Davis and Moore divide rewards into three groups: those that provide food and warmth, those that are funny or distracting, and those that help people feel good about themselves and grow their egos. He says it’s not possible to tell if one type of prize or all three got people to work hard. Different kinds of rewards are emphasised in different societies to keep a balance between duty and record. Davis and Moore’s other idea is about how different social groups have different access to scarce and wanted things and how much prestige and esteem they get because of this. These things are very useful and necessary in society. Tumin writes, “If these differences in power and property are seen by everyone as fitting with the differences in responsibilities, and if they are seen culturally as resources and not as rewards, then there is no need for differences in prestige and esteem.”

The arguments of Davis and Moore:

1. Davis says that Tumin wants to destroy the idea of institutionalised injustice. He doesn’t explain why tiered inequality is always the case. Davis and Moore were interested in figuring out why there are different classes in society, but Tumin says that it doesn’t have to be that way. They are obviously talking about different things. Davis says that Tumin’s critique mixes up abstract or theoretical thinking with rough, empirical generalisations. He defends his own stance by saying that the main concern was stratified inequality as a general property of social systems with a high degree of abstraction again.

2. Tumin’s criticism of the theory Davis and Moore came up with is based on just one article. He ignores other publications that answer some of the questions he has asked. His own knowledge of Davis and Moore theory and the way he talks about it are not good enough. In fact, this is why Tumin’s idea of division doesn’t make sense. Moore says too clearly that Tumin hasn’t given a clear definition of social order. This made him think, wrongly, that different benefits and different chances were the same thing.

Tumin came up with the following criticism of the Structural-Functional Theory of Stratification:

1. “Social stratification systems make it harder to find out about all the different kinds of ability in a society. This is because not everyone has the same access to the right motivation, routes for hiring, and training centres.

2. Because social stratification limits the range of ability available, it makes it harder for the society to get more productive, at least compared to what might happen if everyone had the same chances.

3. The purpose of social stratification systems is to give the elite the political power they need to get people to accept and follow a doctrine that makes the status quo seem “logical,” “natural,” and “morally right.” In this way, social division systems are mainly conservative forces in the societies where they exist.

4. The purpose of social division systems is to give people different levels of positive self-image. In the same way that having a good self-image is necessary for men to develop their creative potential, social stratification systems work to stop men from developing their creative potential.

5.Social stratification systems make it harder for people to get along with each other because they aren’t treated the same. This makes it harder for people from different parts of a society to get along with each other, which makes it harder for people from different parts of a society to get along with each other.

From the Marxist point of view:

The Marxist view is different from the functionalist view because it looks at how social order divides rather than how it brings people together. Marxists think that social division is a way for the people at the top to take advantage of the people at the bottom. In this case, the system of stratification is built on how different social groups are related to the forces of production.

1. Said more clearly Marxists say that there are two main groups in society: the Bourgeoisie, which controls the forces of production and therefore rules over others, and the Proletariat, which works for the Bourgeoisie. Marx thought that economic power controlled political power. The power of the ruling class comes from who owns and controls the forces of production. The way things are made is more important than big institutions, values, and beliefs. It’s clear that the political and legal structure works for the people in power. The ruling class hurts the people who work for them. So, social division makes it easier for people from the two main groups to take advantage of each other and fight with each other.

Karl Marx said that in all divided societies, there are two main social groups: the ruling class (the “Haves”) and the “Have Nots” (those who are ruled by the “Haves”). The power of the ruling class comes from the fact that they own and direct the forces of production. The ruling class takes advantage of and hurts the people in the target class. Because of this, the two classes have basic different goals. The ruling class is in charge of society’s institutions, such as the legal and political systems. These institutions are used to further the goals of the ruling class. Marx thought that the development of western society could be broken down into four main periods: primitive communism, old society, feudal society, and capitalist society.

3. The societies of pre-history show primitive communism and are the only example of a society with no classes. From then on, all societies are split into two main groups: masters and slaves in ancient societies, lords and serfs in mediaeval societies, and capitalists and wage workers in capitalist societies.

4. The most important terms in Marx’s theory of social division are: • Class consciousness, which means that people in a class (like workers) know where they fit in the production process and how they relate to the owning class. Class consciousness also includes being aware of how much the owning class takes advantage of the workers by denying them a fair share of the “surplus value” of the things they make and not giving them enough of it. Over time, workers realise that the only way to stop being exploited and oppressed is to get rid of the capitalist owners through a united, collective revolution.(See “Sociological Thinker’s” for more)

From a Weberian point of view:

The third is the Weberian view, which says that people are put into different groups based on their Class, Status, and Power. class is based on the economic state of the market and an individual’s place in the market. People who are in the same class have the same chances in life. They are part of a layer.

The most important things about class are that:

1) People share a common cause in their lives; 2) These causes are only shown in the possession of goods and chances to get more property; and 3) Class situation is mostly a market situation. Classes are not societies; they are just places where people could work together.

In a capitalist society, Weber saw four groups:

the top class, the white-collar workers without property, the petty bourgeoisie, and the manual workers.

Status groups

1. Weber did agree with Marx about how important it was for division to be about money. He, on the other hand, added the ideas of status (Status) and power (Party) to the idea of how people are placed in society. Weber thought that different levels of status led to different ways of life. “As opposed to how differences in property affect life chances, Weber says that differences in status lead to differences in life styles, which is a big part of why people in different status groups tend to stick together. Most status groups get their respect by taking it from others. They say they deserve certain benefits and show that they deserve them by acting in certain ways and doing things that most people don’t do. Communities are often made up of standing groups.

2. A person’s status situation is based on how well or badly people think of their honour; it is not always related to their class situation. The richest people don’t always have the most respect in a certain social group. Status groups are different because they wear special clothes, belong to exclusive clubs, and live in different ways. Weber agreed with Marx that differences in property are an important part of how Class is formed. Differences in property also define the lines between them and their rights. Status groups were more important to Weber than they were to Marx.


1. Weber also put a lot of emphasis on parties, which often stand for values that are based on “class situation and status situation.” Weber says that the most important thing in classes is money, that the most important thing in standing groups is honour, and that the most important thing in parties is power. Parties come from the nature of dominance, which is present in all societies in some way.

2. Weber analysed the differences between the economic, social, and political levels of society and found that there are three levels of stratification: class, standing, and power. When it came to the basics, there wasn’t much difference between what Weber and Marx said about class. Weber went further than just criticising Marx’s simple, linear theory of class by saying that there couldn’t be a single theory of social division.