Sociology is a field which developed over a millennia ago, but it was not until the nineteenth century that it came into the fore as a bona fide social science, in need of its own classification apart from other social sciences. Sociology, 'the study of the process of companionship';(pg.396, Ambercrombie,Hill,Turner), is a discipline, which is not exclusively independent in and of its self, yet borrows from many other disciplines such as: history, geography, and anthropology.
'American sociology is fundamentally analytical and empirical; it proposes to examine the way of life of individuals in the societies … prefers to explain institutions and structures in terms of the behavior of individuals and the goals, mental states, and motives which determine the behavior of members of various social groups (pg.5,Aron).';
A specialization within Sociology is social stratification. This segment of sociology attempts to deal with the structures of any given society and ones' relationship with the institution. 'Social stratification means that inequality has been hardened or institutionalized, and there is a system of social relationships that determines who gets what, and why (pg.11, Kerbo).'; Through various paradigms, and theories we are able to come to a better understanding of social stratification.
The paradigm that is most rational to my understanding of social stratification is the critical-conflict. In this paradigm the state embodies the interests of the "common citizen," and mediates between primitive human desires and the rational need for freedom and well being. Conflict theorists view that definitions of norms and values are also a source of conflict over who has the right to create laws and justice. As a consequence, not only behavior but also power relationships become important topics to study. Unlike the structural-functionalist view of society, which views harmony as the basis of order, conflict theorists see conflict as the natural state of social existence. Despite their critical examination of power relations, conflict theorists tend to accept the fundamental existing social arrangements, and instead of arguing for new social systems tend to argue for rearrangement of existing relations.
'This paradigm (critical-conflict) shares with the uncritical-conflict paradigm an image or model of society that considers conflict and...
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...ack the essential tools such as: family name, wealth, and networking opportunities. These tools are utilized to gain access to the training necessary to achieve in a meritocracy like the United States. As the Upper Class and the Corporate Class wonder why those on the bottom are not able to 'pull themselves up by their boot straps'; and find solutions to their social, political, and economic predicament. The people on the bottom are screaming the solutions yet the Upper Class and Corporate Class are turning a deaf ear.
1.) Abercrombie, Nicholas; Hill, Stephen; and Turner, Bryan S. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. Penguin Books.London: 1984
2.) Aron, Raymond, Main Currents In Sociological Thought. Anchor Books: 1968.
3.) Campbell, Ken. Http://cst.colorado.edu/psn/Marx/bio/Marx-karl/Granat/z.Html March 1,1999.
4.) Kerbo, Harold R., Social Stratification and Inequality: Class Conflict in Historical and Comparative Perspective. McGraw-Hill Companies,Inc. New York: 1996.
5.) McLellan, David., Karl Marx: Selected Writings. Oxford University Press: 1979.
6.) Tumin, M.,'; Some principles of stratification: A critical analysis.'; American Sociological Review, New York:1954
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