Based on the discussion in chapter 7 (Stratification, Class and Inequality), respond to the following questions:

(1) What are the key nature, characteristics and attributes of social stratification as a sociological concept? (Length: At least 200 words; Max points = 5)

(2) Compare and contrast Karl Marx and Max Weber’s perspectives on social class. How would they categorize people into different social class (i.e., factors or dimensions)? (Length: At least 200 words; Max points= 5)

(3) According to the authors, what is the key sociological debate (Pp. 225-227 in the latest edit of the text) on explaining poverty? Use relevant examples and statistics other than the ones found in the textbook to support your discussion. In your view, what are the strengths and weaknesses of these arguments or perspectives? (Length: At least 300 words; 10 Points).

Use American Sociological Association (ASA) citation format when citing sources:

______________________
1. What are the key nature, characteristics and attributes of social stratification as a sociological concept?

Social stratification is a sociological concept that refers to the hierarchical arrangement of individuals and groups in society based on their access to resources, power, and prestige. Stratification systems are found in all societies, and they can be based on a variety of factors, including wealth, income, occupation, education, race, ethnicity, gender, and religion.

The key nature, characteristics, and attributes of social stratification include:

Inequality: Stratification systems are inherently unequal, as they distribute resources, power, and prestige unequally among individuals and groups.
Hierarchy: Stratification systems are hierarchical, with some individuals and groups at the top of the hierarchy and others at the bottom.
Permanence: Stratification systems are relatively permanent, as it is difficult for individuals and groups to change their social position.
Legitimacy: Stratification systems are often legitimated, or justified, by cultural beliefs and values.
2. Compare and contrast Karl Marx and Max Weber’s perspectives on social class. How would they categorize people into different social class (i.e., factors or dimensions)?

Karl Marx and Max Weber were two of the most influential sociologists of all time, and their work has had a profound impact on our understanding of social stratification. Marx and Weber both believed that social class is an important factor in determining an individual’s life chances, but they had different ideas about how social class should be defined and measured.

Marx’s Perspective

Marx defined social class in terms of one’s relationship to the means of production. He argued that there are two main classes in society: the bourgeoisie, who own the means of production, and the proletariat, who do not own the means of production and must sell their labor to the bourgeoisie in order to survive. Marx believed that the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat was inherently exploitative, and he predicted that the proletariat would eventually overthrow the bourgeoisie and establish a communist society.

Weber’s Perspective

Weber defined social class in terms of three factors: wealth, income, and occupation. He argued that these three factors are interrelated, and that they together determine an individual’s life chances. Weber also believed that social class is not as rigid as Marx believed, and that individuals can move up or down the social ladder through education, hard work, and other factors.

3. According to the authors, what is the key sociological debate on explaining poverty? Use relevant examples and statistics other than the ones found in the textbook to support your discussion. In your view, what are the strengths and weaknesses of these arguments or perspectives?

The key sociological debate on explaining poverty is whether poverty is caused by individual factors, such as laziness or lack of motivation, or by structural factors, such as discrimination, lack of opportunity, and economic inequality.

Individual Factors

Proponents of the individual factors perspective argue that poverty is caused by individual choices and behaviors. They point to the fact that many poor people are lazy, lack motivation, and make poor decisions. They also argue that many poor people are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and that this contributes to their poverty.

Structural Factors

Proponents of the structural factors perspective argue that poverty is caused by structural factors, such as discrimination, lack of opportunity, and economic inequality. They point to the fact that poor people are more likely to be discriminated against in housing, employment, and education. They also argue that poor people are more likely to live in neighborhoods with high crime rates and poor schools.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Arguments

The individual factors perspective has the advantage of being easy to understand and it is consistent with the American value of individualism. However, it is also simplistic and ignores the role of structural factors in poverty.

The structural factors perspective is more complex and nuanced, but it is also more accurate. It recognizes that poverty is caused by a combination of individual and structural factors.

In my view, the structural factors perspective is the most accurate explanation of poverty. However, I also believe that the individual factors perspective can be helpful in understanding why some people are able to escape poverty while others are not.

Sources

Gans, Herbert J. The War on Poverty. New York: Basic Books, 1995.
Krugman, Paul. The Conscience of a Liberal. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007.
Wilson, William Julius. The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

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