State and describ
In our society, people are divided on the basis of their wealth, power, talent or hard work creating social inequality. This difference is created by our society in which we live. Sociologists use the term ‘social stratification’ to define the system according to which people living in a society are divided or ranked in a hierarchy. It means people are ranked according to their status or authority creating people’s identity, experiences, their relations with others, and also decided their access to resources and opportunities.
The various features of social stratification are as follows:
• Social stratification is a characteristic of a society – it means that the ranking made on the basis of status or authority is not the individual choice or differences but it is created by society. It is a system where people are unequally provided with social resources among different categories of people. For example – in hunting and gathering societies, people produce according to their consumption, thus basic stratification existed. Today, people produce more than their consumption needs. Thus, resources are divided unequally among the people in spite of the individual’s inherent abilities.
• It is continuing over a generation to generation – it means that social stratification existed and continued from generation to generation. Social resources are inherited from one generation to another. The social position of the individual is ascribed. It means something that the child gets due to his parents, like in the caste system, the birth of the child defines his/her occupational opportunities. Dalit is supposed to acquire traditional occupation like agricultural labour, scavenging, leather work, etc. Also, the practice of endogamy existed, i.e., marrying within the caste, community or clan. It is because to eliminate the risk of ruining the principles of the caste system that is happening due to inter-marriage.
• It believes in belief or ideology – the social stratification believed in an ideology that continued from generation to generation. For example- the caste system existed because at that time Brahmins considered themselves superior and created this division based on castes so to remain pure and not get polluted (impure). Thus, Dalits became inferior based on their birth and occupation.
People with the greatest social privileges supported such social stratification based on caste or race. But yet, not everyone believes in such ideology, people who are the witnesses of social exploitation and humiliation and is at the bottom of the hierarchy questions and challenges such as social stratification.
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