Forms of Stratification

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Forms of Stratification

Stratification is that form of inequality in which the members of the society are divided into higher and lower positions or positions. The bases on which this height and low of the position are determined also determine the nature or type of stratification. Two basic forms of stratification have been mentioned by the early social scientists. One form of stratification is normative and the other is realistic or real. Exemplary stratification is concerned with the nature of levels, such as free stratification and restricted stratification, or ideals of a given and accrued status, or the institutional amount and nature of stratification.

Actual stratification is concerned with the factors on the basis of which stratification occurs among the members of society, such as economic stratification, low status or power stratification. The two-fold explanation of the forms of stratification is very ancient, by which the members of the society are divided into two high and low groups such as the elite and the general, the elite and the masses, the independent and the dependent, the rich and the poor, the ruler and Governed and productive and unproductive groups. In the modern era, the three-class form of stratification is prevalent in which there are upper classes, middle classes and lower classes. Sociologists have mainly mentioned the following five forms of stratification


1. Slavery –

Slavery is that form of stratification in which society is divided into two classes, which are called masters and slaves. The keeping of other person or persons as slaves by a person or persons as a form of custom or practice, expresses the slavery nature of stratification. Slaves are the property of the owner. There was also stratification among the owners on the basis of their ability to keep slaves and the number of slaves. The slaves also attained high and low positions depending on the nature of the work. There was a difference of status between domestic slaves and field slaves. Two major examples of slavery are found in human history. Ancient slavery, which was prevalent in the societies of Greece and Rome, was a well-known form of slavery. Another form of slavery was given in the south of the United States of America. has been prevalent for centuries. Slavery has also been prevalent in China as a domestic slave system, but here the slave was not treated as private property to the extent it was treated in Rome.


2 . Estate –

Estate is that form of social stratification which developed in the feudal era after slavery. Estate is also a political concept and a term symbolizing social status. A group with exclusive rights in the political field is called an estate or a jagirdari. On the other hand Jagir or Estate is that section of the population which enjoys a high position in stratification and enjoys special social rights and facilities. These rights and facilities have legal consent. Under the estate system, the feudal society was divided into three upper and lower groups. The first place in social stratification belonged to the priests who performed the rituals. In the second place were the gentlemen or nobles who performed the responsibility of protection in times of war etc., and in the third place were the common people who did labour. The basis of estate was birth and property. The estate form of stratification began towards the end of the eleventh century when many slaves were being freed. The nobles were not ready to include them in their group. The definition of this elite became related to wealth, power and social habits. The elite class in a way became the master class and the workers were subordinated to it. The military attitude also made his nature full of commandment. His distinctive lifestyle became his hallmark. He lived in a rural area separate from the general public but did not do agriculture. The descendants of the elite group became eligible for special privileges. In India she became associated with the estate system. There was no formation of luxuries and labor groups, but this form of stratification based on rural agriculture was economic and military in nature. Here Europe did not have a feudalistic character, nor did it have an exploitative system. The estate system was also based on law. In short, estate was a form of restricted stratification. The rules of stratification were supported by custom and tradition, and formal laws were also instrumental in these rules and models.




3. Caste –

The direction of social life and thinking in India has been determined by the caste system. The caste system with distinctive features of the Indian social structure is a rigid form of stratification which is not exemplified elsewhere. It is that form of restricted stratification in which a person’s position is determined with birth and remains in that position throughout his life. An infinite corpus of wealth, or the intensity of talent cannot change its status. Religious opinion has been associated with caste. Caste has been interpreted as a rigid class and also as a status group. Although the caste system appears to be an immutable permanent system, yet it is a dynamic fact. This Indian form of stratification is adaptation to the circumstances. The development of the democratic system has brought about many changes. There is a change in its cultural form and there is also a change in the hierarchical order.

Body is getting Caste is a born group which cannot be changed. It is also an endogamous group. The occupations of the castes are pre-determined and cannot be lost. Restricted eating habits and social contact or limitation make the caste system a form of highly restricted stratification. Due to no restrictions, the disabilities of the lower castes developed till the medieval period and they became victims of exploitation of the upper castes. They were considered worse than animals. In independent India, the processes of technology, urbanization, secularization, sanskritisation, democratization and westernization etc. have brought about many changes in the caste system, but these changes have not changed the fundamental nature of caste stratification. There is to be a change in the status of different castes, but the continuity of the status hierarchy and the basis of caste membership have not changed. Ethnic stratification exists in the face of many religious and political conflicts.


4. Class –


Social class is that type of stratification which is more prevalent in the modern era. Classes can be thought of as low-status economic groups that enjoy no religious or legal affiliation. Class stratification is a free form of rationale. The members of the class behave according to their status by treating other groups as high or low. Class consciousness is a special feature of class. Marx has recognized two classes in social stratification. The bourgeoisie is the owner of the means of production. He is the ruler as well as the exploiter. It is upper class. The proletariat works, is exploited and poor. Mars Weber also divided the society into two classes, the wealthy and the propertyless. Class is a characteristic form of stratification in modern society. Economic status is the main basis of class determination. Therefore wealth, income and occupation are particularly associated with the concept of class. In some areas like America etc. Species has become a helpful element in class determination. The members of a class have the same lifestyle and the opportunities for advancement in life are also the same for them. Ability, hard work and aspiration provide opportunities for class change. In the modern class stratification upper, middle and lower, these are the three most prevalent classes. Classes play an important political role in democratic countries. Political classes have developed in authoritarian structures.


5 Status Groups –

In modern societies, subdivisions have become the mainstay of stratification. Max Weber has tried to determine the higher and lower social level by taking the quantity of consumption as the basis. People who spend more are in a higher position. Briefly explain the following forms of social stratification


Economic Stratification –


The basis of religious stratification is wealth and income. The moral status of a person is not always the same. There are ups and downs in this, fluctuations can also change the economic condition of the whole group, if the economic conditions of different groups within the group can also change. The average wealth and frequency of each group is different, which increases from time to time. Economic stratification is the grading of different members and groups of society on the basis of economic status i.e. wealth and income.
Due to the expansion of population and the development of civilization, societies have become very complex. Ancient societies were small and simple societies. So people were not high or low on political basis in it. The king, chief or chieftain was the supreme person and all the rest were subordinate to him. Various types of political structures have developed in the modern era, under which the political situations have started to be divided. In a democracy, there has been a hierarchy of positions like President, Prime Minister, etc. Political conditions keep on changing due to which political stratification also changes. Stratification also changes as the size of a political organization rises and falls. If the variation among its members increases, the stratification expands and if the variation decreases, the stratification narrows. Even in the event of war, revolution or rebellion, there are ups and downs. Opposing political forces also influence social stratification.

Occupational Stratification

Sorokin has described two types of occupational stratification. Finally, occupational stratification is one in which there is inequality in the conditions of persons engaged in the same occupation. In the highest position are those people who are the owners, administrators etc. of the businesses and keep control over the employees. The second position is that of managers or other high officials, who are important authority persons even though they are not the owners themselves. The wage earners at the last level are ordinary workers and workers. Generally, occupational and political stratification mutually influence each other. A person who is in a high position in one area attains a high position in other areas as well.



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