Stratification in Modern Societies essay

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1.       Compare and Contrast Marx and Weber’s Theories of Stratification in Modern Societies. Give Examples

According to the theory of Marx, a class is based on the association with the ways of production (Andersen and Taylor, 67). The ways of production involves how production of goods and services is done in certain society. This comprises of social relationship between producers and technology. According to Marx theory, the key driving force in a society is economics. The theory strongly holds that divisions within a society arise from the relationships of people with the means of production (Andersen and Taylor, 56). Examples of classes include capitalists and the working class. The Marx theory defines capitalists as individuals who own land, companies or stocks and deploy them to generate returns (Andersen and Taylor, 89). Capitalists, from the perspective of Marx are involved in production and significantly contribute to the economy of a society (Andersen and Taylor, 67). The working class, as pointed out by the Marx theory, refers to individuals who sell their labor to capitalists and generate surplus value. This implies that capitalists utilize their authority by regulating the workforce. This is because the working class can produce more than the cost associated to paying them (Better, 67). According to Andersen and Taylor, (56) capitalists own the surplus value, which is actually the profit that is realized after production and selling has taken place.

Weber’s theory differs from Marx theory. The theory points out that besides the relationship to the production means, class divisions are based on social status, skills and credentials (Andersen and Taylor, 78). For instance, people in higher positions experience favorable conditions of working since their credentials and skills are highly valued. On the other hand, some people experience unfavorable working conditions because their credentials and skills are lowly valued. An example of such group is the pariah groups, who experience discriminations. The Jews in the Medieval Europe represent a pariah group (Andersen and Taylor, 76).

2.      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

Liberal feminism is a theory that strongly believes that gender inequalities stem from unequal access to certain social resources and civil rights such as the right to education and employment based on sex (Andersen and Taylor, 67). According to liberal feminists, inequalities are rooted in the attitudes and beliefs of a society. Liberal feminists seek solutions to gender inequalities through legislations. According to (Andersen and Taylor, 45), liberal feminists are supporters of Acts such as the Sex Discrimination Act and Equal pay Act. They work within the available economic and political systems to affect gradual change in the society.

The second feminist theory is the radical feminism. Radical feminist strongly believe that gender inequality stems from male domination in all aspects of economic and social life (Andersen and Taylor, 98). These feminists believe that the end to inequality can be achieved by overthrowing patriarchy. Unlike liberal feminists, radical feminists strongly believe that the only solution to getting rid of gender inequality is to overthrow the patriarchical order (Andersen and Taylor, 78). This is because patriarchy is associated to all aspects of economic and social life. In addition, radical feminists argue that men regulate the roles of women in child rearing and production. Men achieve their control over women by depending on their unpaid domestic labor (Andersen and Taylor, 56).

The third feminist theory is black feminism. This theory points out the various disadvantages of gender, race and class that influence the experiences of non-white women (Andersen and Taylor, 65). According black feminists, gender inequality stems from class and racial equalities. In developing nations, women argue that radical and liberal feminisms cannot be applied to most of the women in the world. This is because they arise from the experiences of middle-class women in developed nations. The concerns of white middle-class women cannot be applied to the experiences of black women either (Andersen and Taylor, 76) 

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

According to Andersen and Taylor (67), institutional racism refers to the patterns of discrimination according to ethnicity, which has become structured in to the current social institutions. Racism refers to attributing inferiority or superiority to a specific population that shares particular physically inherited characteristics (Andersen and Taylor, 45). Classification systems of racism are frequently hierarchical, while some races are viewed superior and others inferior. Individuals and institutions commit racism. When institutions and individuals discriminate people based on their ethnicity, they commit institutional racism. An example of institutional racism is the killing of Amadou Diallo by a police office in New York (Andersen and Taylor, 34). The limited or negative depictions of ethnic and racial minorities in televisions or Hollywood films are also good examples of institutional racism.

Institutional racism is destructive to human dignity. According to Andersen and Taylor (34), institutional racism is less viable and identifiable than individual racism acts, though not less destructive to human dignity and human life. Racism based in discrimination in education, housing, health and employments are some of the institutional racism that are destructive to human dignity (Andersen and Taylor, 56). According to Better (56), institutional racism reflects the cultural presumptions of the dominant group or race. 

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