Chapter 9. Social Stratification in Canada
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Figure 9.1. The vehicle a perchild drives have the right to be viewed as a symbol of money and power. What does a Rolls-Royce signify around its owner? Why? (Picture courtesy of dave_7/Flickr)

Learning Objectives

9.1. What Is Social Stratification?

Differentiate between open and closed stratification systemsDistinguish in between caste and also course systemsUnderstand also meritocracy as a suitable device of stratification

9.2. Social Stratification and also Mobility in Canada

Understand Canada’s class structureDescribe a number of types of social mobilityRecognize features that define and also determine class

9.3. Global Stratification and also Inequality

Define global stratificationDescribe different sociological models for expertise worldwide stratificationUnderstand how researches of worldwide stratification identify global inequalities

9.4. Theoretical Perspectives on Social Stratification

Understand also and use functionalist, problem concept, feminist, and interactionist perspectives on social stratification

Summary to Social Stratification in Canada

When he died in 2008, Ted Rogers, CEO of Rogers Communications, was the fifth-wealthiest individual in Canada, holding assets worth $5.7 billion. In his autobiography (2008) he credited his success to a willingness to take threats, work-related difficult, bend rules, be on the consistent look out for avenues, and also be dedicated to building organization. In many respects, he saw himself as a self-made billionaire, founding from scrape, seizing avenues, and also developing company via his own initiative.

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The story of Ted Rogers is not exactly a rags to wealth one, yet. His grandpa, Albert Rogers, was a director of Imperial Oil (Esso) and also his father, Ted Sr., became rich once he created an alternating present vacuum tube for radios in 1925. Ted Rogers Sr. went from tright here to manufacturing radios, owning a radio terminal, and acquiring a licence for TV.

However, Ted Sr. passed away when Ted Jr. was 5 years old, and also the family businesses were marketed. His mommy took him aside as soon as he was eight and told him, “Ted, your service is to acquire the family name back.” The household was still well-off enough to sfinish him to Upper Canada College, the famed private school that additionally educated kids from the Black, Eaton, Thompboy, and also Weston families. Ted seized the opportunity at Upper Canada to make money as a bookie, taking bets on horse racing from the other students. Then he attended Osgoode Hall Law School, wbelow apparently his secretary saw classes and also took notes for him. He bought a very early FM radio terminal when he was still in university and also began in cable TV in the mid-1960s. By the moment of his fatality, Rogers Communications was worth $25 billion. At that time, just 3 family members, the Rogers, Shaws, and Péladeaus, owned much of the cable service in Canada.

At the various other end of the spectrum are the aboriginal gang members in the Saskatchewan Correctional Centre we disputed in Chapter 1 (CBC 2010). The CBC regimen noted that 85 percent of the inmates in the prikid were of indigenous descent, fifty percent of whom were involved in aboriginal gangs. Furthermore the statistical profile of indigenous youth in Saskatchewan is grim, through aboriginal world consisting of the greatest number of high institution dropouts, domestic abusage victims, drug dependencies, and also kid poverty backgrounds. In some respects the aboriginal gang members interperceived were choose Ted Rogers in that they were willing to seize opportunities, take dangers, bend rules, and apply themselves to their vocations. They as well aspired to gaining the money that would certainly offer them the flexibility to make their very own lives. However before, as one of the inmates put it, “the only job I ever had was offering drugs.” The consequence of that was to autumn into a way of life that caused joining a gang, being kicked out of institution, developing issues via addiction, and also eventually obtaining arrested and also incarcerated. Unchoose Ted Rogers the inmate added, “I didn’t flourish up with the best life.”

How do we make sense of the divergent stories? Canada is meant to be a country in which individuals have the right to occupational tough to acquire ahead. It is an “open” society. Tright here are no formal or explicit class, gender, racial, ethnic, geographical, or various other limits that prevent civilization from rising to the peak. People are free to make selections. But does this adequately define the difference in life possibilities that divide the fortunes of the aboriginal youth from those of the Rogers family? What determines a person’s social standing? And just how does social standing straight or limit a person’s choices?

9.1. What Is Social Stratification?

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Figure 9.2.In the top echelons of the functioning people, civilization with the most power reach the optimal. These people make the decisions and also earn the the majority of money. The majority of Canadians will certainly never before check out the watch from the optimal. (Picture courtesy of Alex Proimos/Flickr)

Sociologists usage the term social inequality to define the unequal circulation of valued resources, rewards, and positions in a culture. Key to the idea is the notion of social differentiation. Social characteristics—distinctions, identities, and also roles—are offered to differentiate human being and divide them right into different categories, which have ramifications for social inetop quality. Social differentiation by itself does not necessarily imply a department of people right into a hierarchy of rank, privilege, and power. However before, once a social category prefer class, occupation, sex, or race puts people in a position in which they deserve to insurance claim a higher share of sources or services, then social differentiation becomes the basis of social inehigh quality. The term social stratification refers to an institutionalized mechanism of social inehigh quality. It refers to a situation in which the divisions and relationships of social inehigh quality have solidified into a mechanism that determines that gets what, once, and why.

You may remember the word “stratification” from geology class. The distinctive horizontal layers found in rock, dubbed “strata,” are an excellent way to visualize social structure. Society’s layers are made of civilization, and society’s resources are spread unevenly throughout the layers. The human being who have actually more sources reexisting the height layer of the social structure of stratification. Other groups of human being, via progressively fewer and also fewer resources, represent the reduced layers of our society. Social stratification asindications people to sociofinancial strata based upon determinants prefer wealth, income, race, education, and power. The question for sociologists is exactly how systems of stratification come to be created. What is the basis of systematic social inetop quality in society?

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Figure 9.3. Strata in rock illustrate social stratification. People are sorted, or layered, into social categories. Many type of factors recognize a person’s social standing, such as earnings, education, occupation, as well as age, race, gender, and also even physical abilities. (Photo courtesy of Just a Prairie Boy/Flickr)

In Canada, the leading ideological presumption about social inehigh quality is that everyone has an equal opportunity at success. This is the belief in etop quality of opportunity, which deserve to be contrasted via the best of ehigh quality of condition. Equality of condition is the instance in which everyone in a society has a comparable level of riches, condition, and power. Although levels of ehigh quality of problem vary markedly in modern societies, it is clear that even the most egalitarian societies this day have actually considerable levels of inehigh quality of problem. Ehigh quality of possibility, on the other hand, is the concept that everyone has actually an equal opportunity of coming to be effective. It exists once civilization have actually the same chance to pursue economic or social rewards. This is regularly seen as a function of equal access to education, meritocracy (where individual merit determines social standing ), and formal or informal procedures to get rid of social discrimination. At some point, equality of possibility indicates that inefeatures of problem are not so good that they substantially hamper a person’s life possibilities.

To a specific extent, Ted Rogers’ story illustrates the belief in equality of chance. His personal narrative is one in which difficult work and also talent—not inherent privilege, birthideal, prejudicial treatment, or societal values—recognize social rank. This focus on self-initiative is based upon the idea that people individually manage their very own social standing, which is a vital piece in the idea of equality of opportunity. Most world affix ineattributes of wealth, standing, and power to the individual attributes of those who succeed or fail. The story of the indigenous gang members, although it is likewise a story of personal selections, casts that belief into doubt. It is clear that the form of options available to the aboriginal gang members are of a various range and also quality than those available to the Rogers family.

Sociologists identify that social stratification is a society-wide device that renders inecharacteristics noticeable. While tright here are always inecharacteristics between individuals, sociologists are interested in larger social fads. Stratification is not around individual inecharacteristics, yet around systematic inecharacteristics based on team membership, classes, and also the favor. In various other words, sociologists are interested in researching the structural conditions of social inetop quality. Tbelow are of course differences in individuals’ abilities and also talents that will influence their life opportunities. The larger question yet is just how inequality becomes systematically structured in financial, social, and political life. In regards to individual capability, who gets the methods to build their abilities and talents and also that does not? Wbelow does capacity or talent come from? As we live in a culture that emphasizes the individual—i.e., individual initiative, individual morality, individual option, individual duty, individual talent, etc.—it is often hard to check out the way in which life chances are socially structured.

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Figure 9.4. The civilization who live in these houses the majority of likely share equivalent levels of income and also education. Neighbourhoods regularly home civilization of the exact same social standing. Wealthy households do not commonly live next door to poorer households, though this varies depending on the certain city and also nation. (Picture courtesy of Orin Zebest/Flickr)

Factors that define stratification vary in various cultures. In most modern-day cultures, stratification is regularly shown by distinctions in wealth, the net value of money and also assets a person has, and  income, a person’s wperiods, salary, or investment dividends. It deserve to likewise be characterized by differences in power (just how many kind of civilization a perchild have to take orders from versus just how many type of people a person can provide orders to) and also status (the degree of honour or prestige one has actually in the eyes of others). These 4 factors develop a complex amalgam that specifies individuals’ social standing within a pecking order.

Usually the four components coincide, as in the instance of corporate CEOs, prefer Ted Rogers, at the top of the hierarchy—rich, effective, and also prestigious—and also the indigenous offenders at the bottom—negative, powerless, and abject. Sociologists usage the term condition consistency to define the consistency of an individual’s rank throughout these components. However before, we have the right to likewise think of someone choose the Canadian prime minister, who ranks high in power, but with a salary of about $320,000, earns much less than similar executives in the personal sector (albeit eight times the average Canadian salary). The prime minister’s status or prestige additionally rises and drops via the vagaries of national politics. (The Nam-Boyd range of standing ranks political leaders at 66/100, the exact same condition as cable TV technicians (Boyd 2008).) Tright here is status inconsistency in the prime minister’s place. Similarly, teachers frequently have actually high levels of education, which provide them high status (92/100 according to the Nam-Boyd scale), however they get fairly low pay. Many think that teaching is a noble profession, so teachers should execute their tasks for love of their profession and the excellent of their students, not for money. Yet no successful executive or entrepreneur would certainly adopt that perspective in the company people, wright here profits are valued as a driving pressure. Cultural mindsets and beliefs prefer these assistance and perpetuate social inefeatures.

Equipment of Stratification

Sociologists differentiate in between 2 kinds of devices of stratification. Closed systems accommoday bit adjust in social place. They do not permit people to shift levels and also execute not permit social relationships in between levels. Open systems, which are based on accomplishment, permit motion and also interactivity in between layers and also classes. Different units reflect, emphasize, and also foster specific social worths, and also shape individual ideas. This difference in stratification systems have the right to be examined by the comparikid between class systems and also caste devices.

The Caste System
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Figure 9.5. India offered to have actually a rigid caste device. The world in the lowest caste experienced from excessive poverty and also were shunned by culture. Some aspects of India’s defunct caste system remajor socially relevant. The Indian woman in this photo is of a certain Hindu caste. (Picture courtesy of Elessar/Flickr)

Caste systems are closed stratification devices in which human being deserve to do little bit or nothing to adjust their social standing. A caste system is one in which world are born right into their social standing and remain in it their whole lives. It is based on resolved or rigid condition distinctions, quite than economic classes per se. People are assigned roles regardless of their talents, interests, or potential. Marriage is endogamous, interpretation that marital relationship in between castes is forbidden. Tright here are practically no avenues to enhance one’s social place. Instead the relationship between castes is bound by institutionalized rules and extremely ritualistic measures come right into play when human being from various castes come into call. An exogamous marriage is a union of world from different social categories.

The feudal devices of Europe and Japan deserve to in some ways be viewed as caste devices in that the statuses of positions in the social stratifications units were addressed, and also tbelow was little bit or no chance for motion with marital relationship or financial opportunities. In Europe, the estate mechanism separated the population right into clergy (first estate), the aristocracy (second estate), and also commoners, consisting of artisans, merchants, and peasants (3rd estate). In beforehand European feudalism, it was still feasible for a peasant or a warrior to attain a high place in the clergy or the aristocracy, but later on the divisions came to be more rigid. In Japan, between 1603 and 1867, the mibunsei mechanism separated culture right into five rigid strata in which social standing was inherited. At the optimal were the emperor, court nobles (kuge), shogun, and also daimyo. Beneath them were 4 classes or castes: the samurai (military), peasants, craftsmales, and merchants. The merchants were considered the lowest course bereason they did not create anything with their very own hands. Tright here was additionally an outcast or untouchable caste well-known as the burakumin, who were taken into consideration impure or defiled because of their association via fatality (executioners, undertakers, slaughterhome workers, tanners, and also butchers) (Kerbo 2006).

However, the caste device is probably ideal typified by the mechanism of stratification that existed in India from 4,000 years earlier until the 20th century. In the Hindu caste heritage, human being were additionally supposed to work in the occupation of their caste and also to enter into marriage according to their caste. Originally tright here were four castes: Brahmans (priests), Ksyatriyas (military), Vaishyas (merchants), and Shudras (artisans, farmers). In addition there were the Dalits or Harijans (“untouchables”). Hindu scripture said, “In order to preserve the universe, Brahma (the Supreme) brought about the Brahmin to continue from his mouth, the Kshatriya to continue from his arm, the Vaishya to proceed from his thigh, and also the Shudra to continue from his foot” (Kashmeri 1990). Accepting this social standing was considered a moral duty. Cultural values and also economic restrictions reincompelled the mechanism. Caste devices promote ideas in fate, destiny, and also the will certainly of a greater power, quite than fostering individual freedom as a worth. A perchild who stayed in a caste society was socialized to accept his or her social standing.

Although the caste device in India has been officially dismantled, its residual presence in Indian society is deeply embedded. In rural locations, facets of the heritage are more most likely to remajor, while metropolitan centres present less evidence of this past. In India’s bigger cities, world currently have even more opportunities to choose their own career courses and also marriage partners. As a worldwide centre of employment, corporations have presented merit-based hiring and employment to the nation.

The Class System

A course system is based on both social components and also individual success. It is at least a partly open mechanism. A class is composed of a collection of human being that have actually the very same partnership to the means of production or fertile home, that is, to the points provided to develop the items and also solutions essential for survival: devices, technologies, resources, land also, workareas, and so on In Karl Marx’s evaluation, course devices form approximately the college of private residential property, splitting those that own or control productive residential or commercial property from those who carry out not. Those who do not make it through on the basis of their work.

Marx suggested that course units originated in early on Neolithic hortisocial cultures once hortisocial technologies raised returns to financial surplprovides. The first course divisions occurred between those that owned and controlled the farming land and excess manufacturing and those that were dispossessed of ownership and control (i.e., the agricultural labourers). Prior to the Neolithic duration 8,000 to 10,000 years earlier, tbelow were no classes. Societies were egalitarian and also were characterized by etop quality of condition. For tens of countless years, hunter-gatherer cultures shared abundant residential property and also sources collectively and also did not produce economic surpluses. They can not form class societies.

In capitalism, the principle course division is in between the capitalist course who live from the proceeds of owning or managing fertile building (funding assets favor factories and also machinery, or resources itself in the form of investments, stocks and also bonds) and the functioning course who live from offering their labour to the capitalists for a wage. Marx referred to these classes as the bourgeoisie and the proletariat respectively. In enhancement, he defined the classes of the petite bourgeoisie (the bit bourgeosie) and also the lumpenproletariat (the sub-proletariat). The petite bourgeoisie are those choose shopkeepers, farmers, and also contractors that own some residential or commercial property and also maybe employ a few workers however still count on their very own work to make it through. The lumpenproletariat are the chronically unemployed or irconsistently employed that are in and out of the workpressure. They are what Marx described as the “reserve army of labour,” a pool of potential labourers who are excess to the requirements of manufacturing at any kind of particular time.

In a course mechanism, social inetop quality is structural, definition that it is “constructed in” to the organization of the economic situation. The partnership to the indicates of manufacturing (i.e., ownership/non-ownership) defines a persistent, objective pattern of social relationships that exists, in a sense, prior to or outside of individuals’ individual or voluntary choices and also motives. In Marx’s analysis, this was additionally the basis of class conflict, because objectively (i.e., past individuals’ individual perceptions or beliefs) the course positions are inconsistent. The existence of the bourgeoisie is defined by the financial drive to accumulate funding and also increase profit. The crucial indicates to attain this in a competitive marketlocation is by reducing the cost of production by lowering the cost of work (by reducing weras, by relocating manufacturing to reduced wage locations, or by replacing employees through labour-saving technologies). This contradicts the interests of the proletariat who look for to create a sustainable traditional of living by maintaining the level of their wages and the level of employment in culture. While individual capitalists and individual employees could not watch it this method, objectively the course interests clash and also define a persistent pattern of management-labour dispute and also political cleavage frameworks in modern-day, capitalist cultures.

However, unfavor caste units, class systems are open. People are at leastern formally cost-free to acquire a different level of education or employment than their parents. They deserve to move up and down within the stratification device. They have the right to likewise socialize with and marry members of other classes, permitting human being to relocate from one class to an additional. In other words, individuals deserve to move up and down the class pecking order, even while the class categories and the course pecking order itself remain fairly secure.

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This means that in a class mechanism, occupation is not addressed at birth. Though family and also various other societal models help overview a perboy towards a career, personal alternative plays a role. For example, Ted Rogers Jr. made a decision a career in media similar to that of his father however regulated to move from a place of loved one wide range and privilege in the petite bourgeoisie to being the fifth wealthiest bourgeois in the nation. On the other hand, his father, Ted Sr., decided a career in radio based on individual interests that differed from his own father’s. Ted Sr.’s father, Albert Rogers, hosted a place as a director of Imperial Oil. Ted Sr. therefore moved from the class of the bourgeoisie to the class of the petite bourgeoisie.