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Social stratification in modern Russia

Работа из раздела: «Социология»

               Ministry of General and Professional Education
                            of Russian Federation

                            Tula State University

                           Department of Sociology

                     Social Stratification and Mobility

                                            Fulfilled by: Golopolosov Dmitry
                                                                group 220671

                                                Checked by: Scherbakova V.P.

                                 Tula, 1999

What is Stratification?      3

Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis   4

Social mobility  4

Identifying social classes   5

Middles rank according to profession    6

References  7

                           What is Stratification?

Social stratification is a structured ranking of individuals  and  groups  –
their grading into horizontal layers or strata.

There are two different types of stratification  systems:  open  system  and
closed system. Open system is a stratification system, in which  people  can
change their status with relative ease. Closed system  is  a  stratification
system, in which people have great difficulty in changing their status.

I think that there is a closed system  in  our  country,  because  a  person
having nothing-valuable  resources  can’t  change  his  social  status.  For
example, ordinate  engineer  can’t  suddenly  become  a  bank  officer  with
greater income. Person must have some capital,  money,  bank  securities  or
intellectual capital. But, I think, nowadays there is a  great  tendency  in
our society to have more money than an  intellect,  i.e.  money  capital  is
more preferable than a great intellectual potential of our nation.

The study of social stratification is the study of class, caste,  privilege,
status that is characteristic of a particular society. It  varies  according
to how society is organized especially in terms of production and  work.  We
will emphasize class.

What is the connection between the question: what do you  want  to  be  when
you grow up and social stratification (especially  the  class  character  of
the society you live in)? Your position in  society  and  the  rewards  that
will be associated with  it.  It  has  an  impact  on  your  possibility  of
realistically meeting your opportunities for mobility.  Mobility  refers  to
the likelihood that you can achieve a class, caste different from where  you
come from, your roots. Mobility and stratification are related.

What image does strata invoke as a model of the social world?  Strata  comes
the  natural  sciences.  Dr.  Brush  argues  that  it  is  interesting  that
sociologists use a natural phenomena to  talk  about  social  phenomena.  It
seems to contradict the main message of the course: our  world  is  socially
constructed phenomena and not a natural  process.  Thus,  stratification  is
not equal to natural accretion.

Hypothesis posed by a classmate: society needs stratification to be  healthy
and keep the peace.  Which  of  the  three  main  sociological  perspectives
supports this statement? The functionalist perspective. Most  stratification
arguments come out of this perspective. The second part  of  the  hypothesis
(to keep the peace) relates more to the conflict perspective.

Stratification and egalitarianism  are  related.  In  a  sociological  sense
strata is a category that's  associated  with  social  hierarchy.  That  is,
people are ranked according to their rank, class, authority.  If  a  society
has ranks then it is a stratified society. If it does not,  then  it  is  an
egalitarian society. Keep in mind, that these are relative terms.

Last week we drew a picture that  tells  the  story  of  how  societies  are
organized  around  work.  As  societies  move   from   simple   to   complex
organization, they start  to  get  levels  of  inequality  that  would  need
stratification to keep the peace. The differences are not  natural,  neutral
nor random. They are ranked and constitute a hierarchy along  the  lines  of
race, gender, age, income among others.

Class is about how society organizes production and  the  outcomes  that  it
creates for people; this a combination of  a  Marxian  (stratification)  and
Weberian (organization) understanding.

           Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis

1. Certain position in any society  are  functionally  more  important  than
   others and require special skills for their performance.

2.  Only a limited number of individuals in any  society  have  the  talents
   which can be trained into the skills appropriate to these positions.

3. the conversion of talents into skills involves a training  period  during
   which sacrifices of one kind or another are made by those undergoing  the

4. In order to induce the talented persons to undergo these  sacrifices  and
   acquire the training, their future positions  must  carry  an  inducement
   value in the form of differential, i.e., privileged and  disproportionate
   access to the scarce and desired rewards which the society has to offer.

5. These scarce and desired goods consist  of  the  rights  and  perquisites
   attached to or built into, the positions,  and  can  be  classified  into
   those things which contribute to a.) sustenance and comfort, b.) humor an
   diversion, c.) self-respect and ego expansion.

6. This differential access to the  basic  rewards  to  the  society  has  a
   consequence the differentiation of the prestige and esteem which  various
   strata acquire. This may be said, along with the rights and  perquisites,
   to constitute institutionalized social inequality, i.e., stratification.

7. Therefore, social inequality among different strata  in  the  amounts  of
   scarce and desired goods, and the amounts of prestige and  esteem,  which
   they receive,  is  both  positively  functional  and  inevitable  in  any

                               Social mobility

Social mobility is a process, when individuals or groups can move  from  one
level (stratum) to another in the stratification  system.  There  are  three
types of social mobility:

1. Vertical mobility involves movement from one social status to another  of
   higher or lower rank.

2. Horizontal mobility entails movement from one social  status  to  another
   that approximately equivalent in rank.

3. Integrational mobility involves a comparison  of  the  social  status  of
   parents and their children at the same point in their respective careers.
   Integrational mobility entails a comparison of the  social  status  of  a
   person over an extended time period.

                         Identifying social classes

There  are  three  main  approaches  to  identifying  social  classes:   the
objective method, the self-placement method, and  the  reputational  method.
Although all the  approaches  overlap  in  classes,  there  are  appreciable
differences in the results afforded  by  each.  Moreover,  each  method  has
certain advantages and disadvantages (see Table 1).

1. The objective method. The  objective  method  views  social  class  as  a
   statistical category. The  categories  are  formed  not  by  the  members
   themselves, but by sociologists or statisticians.  Most  commonly  people
   assigned to social  classes  on  the  basis  of  income,  occupation,  or
   education (or some  combination  of  these  characteristics).  The  label
   “objective” can be misleading, for it is not  meant  to  imply  that  the
   approach is more “scientific” or “unbiased” than the others.  Rather,  it
   is objective in that numerically measurable criteria are employed for the
   placement of individuals.

2. The self-placement method. The self-placement method (also known  as  the
   subjective method) has people identify the social  class  to  which  they
   think they belong. Class is viewed as a social  category,  one  in  which
   people group themselves with other individuals they perceive  as  sharing
   certain attributes in common with them. The class lines may  or  may  not
   conform to what social scientists think are logical lines of cleavage  in
   the objective sense.

3. The reputational method. In the self-placement method  people  are  asked
   to rank themselves. In the reputational method they are  asked  how  they
   classify other individuals. This approach view class as a  social  group,
   one in which people share a feeling of oneness and are bound together  in
   relatively stable patterns of interaction. Thus class rests on  knowledge
   of who associates with whom.

Table 1. Identifying social classes

|Method    |Advantages                           |Disadvantages             |
|Objective |A clear-cut method for studying the  |The method often does not |
|          |correlates of social class. It is    |yield divisions that      |
|          |commonly the simplest and cheapest   |people themselves employ  |
|          |approach since data can usually be   |in their daily lives.     |
|          |obtained from government sources.    |                          |
|Self-place|The method can be applied to a large |The class with which      |
|ment      |population since survey techniques   |people identify may       |
|          |can be employed for securing the     |represent their           |
|          |data. A useful method for predicting |aspirations rather than   |
|          |political behavior since who people  |their current associations|
|          |think they are influences how they   |or the appraisals of other|
|          |vote.                                |people.                   |
|Reputation|The method provides a valuable tool  |The method is difficult to|
|al        |for investigating social distinctions|use in large samples where|
|          |in small groups and communities. It  |people have little or no  |
|          |is specially useful for predicting   |knowledge of one another. |
|          |associational patterns among people. |                          |

                    Middles rank according to profession

|Professionals                            |Whole amount|Middle     |Ideal      |
|                                         |of          |class of   |middle     |
|                                         |respondents |Russia     |class      |
|1. Industrial workers                    |35.2        |25.2       |4.2        |
|2. Technicians, middle part managers     |14.4        |23.4       |20.8       |
|3. Directors of public industries and    |1.2         |2.1        |-          |
|joint-stock companies                    |            |           |           |
|4. Businessmen                           |6.9         |12.8       |25.0       |
|5. Accountant, financier etc.            |4.0         |4.2        |12.5       |
|6. Humanitarian intelligence             |20.5        |23.4       |16.7       |
|7. Workers of communal sphere            |10.2        |8.5        |20.8       |
|8. Trade and supply workers              |7.6         |-          |-          |

Russian middle class: 6% of all respondents

      . self-identification: middle place

      . Financial position: sufficient to live

      . Education: specialized secondary education, incomplete or  complete
        higher education

      Numerical superiority: men and citizens of big towns and Moscow.

Ideal middle class: 3.4% of all respondents (most close to middle  class  of
advanced countries)

      . Financial position: sufficient amount of money for almost all needs

      .  Education:  specialized  secondary  education  or  higher  (50%  -
        specialized secondary education)

      Citizens of big towns (21.1%)  and  villages  (52.7%).  Thus  2-3%  of
      villagers are of middle class.


1. Phillips, B. Sociology research methods.

2. Schaffer R. Sociology.

3. Zanden, James, Vander. Sociology.

4. Enciclopedia Britannica (www.britannica.com).

5. Журнал Социологические исследования. 1999, №7-10

6. www.spc.uchicago.edu/ssr1/PRELIMS/Strat/

ref.by 2006—2022