Stratification, Class and Inequality essay

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Compare and contrast Marx and Weber’s theories of stratification in modern societies. Give examples.

Marx and Weber provide different interpretations of the social stratification observed in the contemporary society. According to Marxist theory of social stratification, elements of production such as property relations, division of labor and employee-employer work conditions play an important role in defining social classes (Doob 2013). Fundamentally, Marx argued that stratifications in the contemporary society are as a result of the relationships that people have with the means of production. According to Marx theory, the society can be stratified into two broad categories, which includes the subject class and the ruling class. The ruling class own and control the means of production whereas the subject class work for the ruling class; this results in a conflict of interest between these classes. On the other hand, Weber argued that social stratification cannot only be explained by the class (derived from relationships with the means of production) but also other complex factors resulting in classes, status and power. In this regard, class is viewed as the economic position of a society based on either individual achievement or by birth; status denotes the popularity, prestige and social honor that an individual has in a society (Doob 2013). For instance, poets can be very influential but they may have few resources; power refers to an individual ability to get what they want regardless of resistance from others. For instance, people in state jobs can have little property but they may have substantial power. It is imperative to note that both Max and Weber utilize the economic dimension in explaining social stratification although Weber adopts a wider view that extends beyond economic variables.

Chapter 10: Gender Inequality

Summarize the explanations provided for gender inequalities by the three main feminist approaches discussed in the textbook: liberal, radical, and black feminism. Be sure to cover what each approach sees as the causes of and solutions to gender inequality

There are three explanations for gender inequalities, which include black, radical and liberal feminism. According to black feminism theory, gender inequality is perceived through the light of the disadvantages associated with gender, class and influences, which play an integral role in shaping the experiences of non-whites women. Black feminists argue that gender equality is a product of racial and class inequalities, which implies that addressing gender inequality first requires one to alleviate inequalities stemming from class and race. In addition, black feminists maintain that liberal and feminists explanations for feminism is not applicable to most women across the globe owing the fact class and race differences are not accounted for in these explanations. For instance, the experiences of a white middle class woman are not similar to the experiences of a black middle class woman and vice versa (Schiebinger 2001).

Radical feminism theory attributes gender inequality to male domination in almost all facets of social, economic and political life. Radical feminists are of the opinion that ending gender inequality requires doing away with patriarchy; this is because men tend to restrict women only in the domestic sphere, which gives men greater control in the social, economic and political sphere.

Liberal feminism theory suggests that gender inequalities are as a result of the uneven access to civil rights and social resources between men and women; for instance employment basing on gender, which tends to favor men instead of women. In this regard, advocates for liberal feminism suggest that the solution to gender inequality is through enacting legislations that advocate for gender equality. An example is the Equal Pay Act and Sex Discrimination Act. Liberal feminists utilize the existing political and economic systems to advocate for societal change and attitudes towards women (Schiebinger 2001).

Chapter 11: Race and Ethnicity

Explain what institutional racism is and how it operates. What outcomes does institutional racism cause? Use concrete examples.

Bonilla-Silva (2003) defines institutional racism as racism initiated by religions, governments, companies, large organizations or educational institutions having the power to impact the lives of several individuals. Fundamentally, institutional racism is manifested through societal patterns that exert a net oppressive effect on the identifiable groups basing on their ethnicity or race. In this regard, people are discriminated or become victim of oppression because of their physically inherited characteristics. In addition, these physically inherited characteristics are used to determine the superiority or inferiority of an individual. A case in point of institutional racism is the prevalence of racial profiling by law enforcement officers in the United States wherein people of Middle East origin are associated with terrorists; linking Hispanics with drug crimes; and African-Americans with gang violence (Bonilla-Silva 2003).

Depending on the scope, institutional racism entails procedures, practices and policies adopted by institutions that have a substantial negative impact on individuals from a particular race. For instance, an institution may adopt policies that restrict access to some resources to individuals from a given race. In this regard, institutional racism is detrimental towards upholding human dignity and human life; this is because it affects almost all elements of social, political and economic life. In addition, Bonilla-Silva (2003) blames institutional racism for the marginalization of minor ethnic groups, where the dominant race is favored against the minority race.

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