Anthropology Chapter 12

Social inequality: Max Weber’s 3 criteria for measuring social inequality
Wealth, Power, Prestige
The extent to which one has accumulated economic resources
Ability to achieve one’s goals and objectives even against will
Social esteem, respect or admiration
3 types of societies
– Egalitarian
– Rank
– Stratified societies
No individual or group has more wealth, power, prestige than any other
Unequal access to prestige or status but not unequal access to wealth or power
– Primogeniture: The exclusive right of the eldest child (usually the son) to inherit this father’s estate
Stratified societies
Considerable inequality in all forms of social rewards (power, wealth, prestige)
Achieved Status
The status an individual acquires during the course of his/her lifetime – associated with class systems
Ascribed Status
The status a person has by virtue of birth – associated with caste systems
Social mobility
The ability of people to change their social position within the society
A ranked group within a stratified society characterized by achieved status and considerable social mobility
A rigid form of social stratification in which membership is determined by birth and social mobility is nonexistent
Social Class
A segment of a population whose members share similar lifestyles and levels of wealth, power and prestige
Soft money
A form of political contribution not covered by federal regulation, which works to the advantage of wealthy candidates and their benefactors
Hindu caste system
– Social boundries are strictly maintained by caste endogamy and notions of ritual purity and pollution
– Caste system has persisted for about 2,000 years and enables the upper castes to maintain a monopoly on wealth, status and power
– Varnas: Caste groups in Hindu India that are associated with certain occupations
– 4 major varnas originated from body of primeval man
Brahmains (priests & scholars) – mouth
Kshatriyas (warriors) – arms
Vaishyas (tradesmen) – thighs
Shudras (cultivators & servants) – feet
Untouchables – outcasts – lowest
Dalit: politically correct term for untouchables
Jati: local subcastes found in Hindu India that are strictly endogamous
Sanskritization: Form of upward social mobility found in contemporary India whereby people born into lower castes can achieve higher status by taking on some of the behaviors and practices of the highest caste
European gypsies (Roma)
– 7-9 million people
– Migratory version of Indian untouchables
– Oppressed under class
– 8 central and SE European countries with significant Roma populations (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia/Montenegro, Slovakia) pledged to close gap in welfare and living conditions between the Roma and non-Roma populations
– Subgroup of the human population whose members share a greater number of physical traits with one another than they do with members of other subgroups
– No pure races
Ethnic group
– A group of people who share many of same cultural traits
Traits include: Religion, Dietary practices, Language, Humor, Clothing, Cultural heritage, Folklore, National origins, Shared ancestry & social experience
Forms of Intergroup Relations
1. Pluralism
2. Assimilation
3. Legal protection of minorities
4. Population transfer
5. Long-term subjugation
6. Genocide
1. Pluralism
– 2 or more groups live in harmony and retain their own heritage, pride and identity
ex: Pennsylvania – Amish
2. Assimilation
– Racial or ethnic minority is absorbed into the wider society
3. Legal protection of minorities
– The government steps in to legally protect the minority group
4. Population Transfer
– Physical removal of a minority group to another location
5. Long-term subjugation
– Political, economic, and social repression for indefinite periods of time
6. Genocide
– Mass annihilation of groups of people
Race and Intelligence
– Before 1920s it was generally believed that intelligence varied according to race
– Significant amounts of research have proved theory wrong – Franz Boas
– Intelligence is difficult to measure across subgroups, even within the same cultural group, because of varying types of cultural content
– Franz Boas – took skull measurements of over 14,000 american immigrants
Functionalist theory
– Class systems contribute to the well-being of a society by encouraging constructive endeavors
Conflict theory
– Stratification systems exist because the upper classes strive to maintain a superior position at the expense of the lower classes
Bourgeoisie: Karl Marx’s term for those who own the means of production
Proletariat: Working class who exchanged their labor for wages
Global Stratification
– Societies (nation-states) also stratified relative to one another
Per Capita Gross National Income (GNI) – commonly used index of relative wealth among nations calculated by adding the output of goods & services in a country to the incomes of residents & dividing by total population

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