Test #3 Study Questions

Chapter 9: Global Stratification

  • Define social stratification and explain why it is of sociological significance.
  • Describe the characteristics of slavery and note the uses of slavery in the New World.
  • Identify the features of caste systems and provide examples.
  • Describe an estate system.
  • List the characteristics of a class system and contrast its features with those of other systems of stratification.
  • Identify the basic assumptions of Karl Marx regarding what determines social class.
  • Compare and contrast Karl Marx and Max Weber’s views on class stratification.
  • Describe how functionalists and conflict theorists explain stratification. What are functionalist fallacies? Does functionalism explain or it also justifies inequalities?
  • Explain the mechanisms by which the elite maintains stratification.

Chapter 10. Social Class and poverty in the US.

  • Explain Mills’ interpretation of the social stratification in the US. What is "power elite" and what is "circulation of the elites"? Provide examples to illustrate these two notions.
  • Explain status inconsistency and discuss its consequences in terms of individual behavior.
  • Examine the consequences of social class in terms of new technology, family life, politics, religion, and illness and health care.
  • Explain, how has income and wealth inequality changed since the late 1970s? Did it increase or decrease? How much wealth does the top 10% of the families in the US own?
  • Which group had lost most in terms of real wages during that period of time? (Blue-collar workers’ wages declined close to 20%)
  • Why does income inequality constitute a social problem? (ethics and political stability).
  • Distinguish between absolute and relative poverty. How does poverty in developed countries differ from poverty in developing countries?
  • How did poverty rate among elderly change since the 1970s?
  • What is feminization of poverty? What factors influenced its growth since the 1970s?
  • Who are "the working poor"? Did their numbers increased or decreased during the 1990s? What factors influenced the growth of the working poor during the 1990s?
  • What is the poverty rate among children in the US? How does poverty rate among children in the US compare with poverty rates of children in other developed countries?
  • What is underclass? What are the major characteristics of the underclass?
  • Indicate how the poverty line is drawn. State the major characteristics of the poor in the United States. How many poor there are currently in the US?
  • How did rate of poverty change in the U.S. since 2000?
  • How long does the poverty last? Contrast short and long-term poverty.
  • Explain and assess individual (individual faults and culture of poverty) versus structural (functionalist and conflict theory) explanations of poverty.