Talk:Social stratification

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Stratification universal?[edit]

“While these hierarchies are not universal to all societies, they are the norm among state-level cultures (as distinguished from hunter-gatherers or other social arrangements).”

Why have I seen books that state that social stratification is universal? 15:50, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Many reasons...
  1. Because most surviving societies are stratified. Non-stratified societies are rare--mostly because they're usually conquered by more warlike neighbours. It's likely they were once far more numerous for much of human history, before mass warfare became common.
  2. Because not everyone who writes a book about human society knows what they are talking about. Everybody from Plato to Dr. Phil has had something to say about society, but most of the time they are speaking from opinion, not from objective study. Even objective social sciences like psychology and economics tend to overlook non-stratified, non-state cultures because...(see the next reason)
  3. Because members of stratified societies have stratified prejudices, and don't pay much attention to non-state societies. If they don't have writing, architecture, money, and warfare, they don't count as civilizations as far as most people are concerned.
  4. Hunter-gatherer societies can be stratified or non-stratified; but it's hard to tell them apart when they're all lumped together by many social commentators. It's easier to assume they're all stratified.
I'm sure there are other possible reasons. But does this address the question?--Pariah 06:27, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

NPOV External Link[edit]

The only external link provided on this page is essentially Marxist, and describes social stratification as inherently unjust. Someone should probably put up a link to a less ideological website to balance the external links section.

I don't think it's a problem. If you'd ever taken a sociology class on this kind of topic, you'd see that Marxist views ("conflict theory") pretty much dominate the topic. You could try adding another to balance it out if you'd like, but within sociology Marxism isn't at all controversial (and to be honest, it actually feels terribly dry after a while). Sarge Baldy 08:46, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Article Is Taken Word for Word from Another Site[edit]

I think this is definitely a worthy topic, but I have a problem with lifting something from another website that is associated with a travel group. There is only one authoritative source to quote from. The article needs to be given a more sceintific treatment. Unfortunately, I am not a sociologist and would ask anyone in that field or in anthropology or archaeology to come to our aid. Here is the link to the straw-man article which doubles as a travel community [[1]] Prospero74 00:21, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is the original article--several search engines have taken to copying wiki articles and posting them as their own.--Pariah 18:02, 29 July 2006 (UTC)


I am cuirous about the reference to M.L. Tubo. Who is s/he? and where did this quote come from?

Not sure. It definitely should be referenced, or else removed from the article.--Pariah 22:18, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

request for comments[edit]

On race and intelligence, please [2] Slrubenstein | Talk 16:24, 31 January 2007 (UTC)


While there are no fewer than two NPOV tags, there are no comments about them here. My edits always tend to get reverted, so I will leave them for somebody else to remove.

I agree. Since no one has come forward to explain the source of the NPOV complaint, I am removing the NPOV tags from the article. If there is still a problem, the tags can be re-added later, with discussion on this talk page.--Pariah (talk) 10:56, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Undid Recent Edits[edit]

I undid the following edits to the article:

"social stratification is the division of people of a particular society on the basis if occupation, income, power, prestige, authority, status, dignity, education, class, castle, gender, race and ethnicity"

"types of stratificaion 1. slavery 2. Estates 3. Social castes 4. Social classes"

The edits seemed redundant and were poorly formatted. A section enumerating types of social stratification would be an interesting addition the article if cited sources can be found for such a list. Please comment if you thought the edits removed should have been left and/or incorporated into the article.--Pariah 01:32, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Major overhaul & update[edit]

I reworked a couple of sections of the article; notably the first paragraph under "Non-stratified societies" and the "Marx's Inspiration" section. There are many more references and I think the writing is more solid. Also, while editing, I removed the following reference: "Also see Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State (ISBN 0-87348-261-1)." It seemed a little orphaned and unclear (since an author and page number are missing), so I've moved it here.--Pariah (talk) 02:05, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Justification of the NPOV tags[edit]

The article was poorly written to begin with. The way it's written may have been improved with the revisions discussed on this TalkPage, but when I editted it and added the NPOV tag there was nothing much beyond a Marxist screed there. One cannot assert one's moral convictions as facts. I'm not saying by any means that the Marxist perspective shouldn't be included, but there are very few sources of anthropological 'evidence' referenced and from this there seems very little justification for making broader conclusions, let alone the bold assertions which one occassionally (perhaps inevitably) finds on pages such as this. The fact is, it's written from one sociological perspective, which is not befitting this site or its standards.

I understand that everyone's not as 'unpolitical' as myself, but I shouldn't think it's too hard to exercise a little restraint and intelligence in writing these articles. It's not hard to outline and describe a subject without 'having a say'. TheScotsman1987 (talk) 22:34, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Hi Scotsman, thank you for responding, but I think you're jumping the gun here. I don't believe the section was ever a "Marxist screed" or an endorsement of any kind. The section on Marx simply presents information about his philosophy, neither for nor against it. In fact, I think many Marxists would be surprised and maybe a little dismayed to hear his ideas were influenced by hunter-gatherer social arrangements--but then I'm not a Marxist so I can't say for sure. Perhaps if you could say specifically what bold assertions and broader conclusions you are having trouble with, we could work together to make a better article.--Pariah (talk) 01:35, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I have removed the NPOV tags from the article. While I agree that the article needs work, particularly the external links, I don't believe it is fair to add NPOV tags--especially to the well referenced section on Marx--without proper discussion of specific issues to be solved. As has been mentioned before on this talk page, all of the sociological and anthropological theories dealing with social stratification are built on Marx's theories. This does not make the article any sort of endorsement of Marx's political position, and I don't think it's fair to add NPOV tags to an article discussing such theories simply because someone does not agree with them. It's an abuse of the NPOV policy.--Pariah (talk) 20:38, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Ayn Rand's Objectivist Concept Countering the Kinship-Orientation[edit]

In the Kinship-Orientation section, the Indigenous Australians of Groote Eylandt almost completely opposite Ayn Rand's Virtue of Selfishness. I think this should be mentioned as a directly related counterargument. Under the Objectivist Ethics, the proud selfishness of each individual propels the society by a laissez-faire means. This selfishness, though, is not defined by its social definition of being rudely self serving careless of all others. It is a productive selfishness. Someone who has a better understanding of this topic (Enough to mention it in this article smoothly) may want to add it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Harleh (talkcontribs) 05:05, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Interesting, but I'm not sure that it has any bearing on the topic of the article. In order to include it, we would have to cite a reputable secondary source that compares Rand's ideology and the Indigenous Australians' way of life, and most importantly: relates that to the issue of social stratification. However, it is certainly interesting that the Australians managed to live well and happy for tens of thousands of years by doing the exact opposite of what Rand recommends.--Pariah (talk) 05:07, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Section for proposed merge discussion - merging data from Social hierarchy (I've created this on behalf of (talk)  Ronhjones  (Talk) 22:46, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

  • I agree with this merger, as it was done.[3] The social hierarchy article has been too confused, and the social stratification article too lacking, for too long. Together they might start to make some sense. The terms are not identical, but close enough to be merged. -- zzuuzz (talk) 22:56, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
  • Agreed. Abtract (talk) 23:06, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree, so long as social hierarchy is merged into this article, and not visa versa. --Tomsega (talk) 11:04, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I would support folding Social hierarchy into Social Stratification, so long as the Non-stratified Societies section and its sub-sections are carried over into the final product. I mean, an article on social stratification or hierarchy isn't complete unless it talks about societies which don't demonstrate this hierarchical tendency, in addition to those that do.
Also, in reference to the one of the questions above: Socio-Cultural Anthropology also uses the term "Social Stratification" rather than Social Hierarchy. Anthropology shares a number of key theorists with Sociology (Weber, Durkheim, Marx, etc.), and uses many of the same terms.--Pariah (talk) 23:18, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

(Undent) This proposal was taken down, but I am putting it back up. The talk for this proposal was all mixed up between the pages before; I am now centralising it at Talk:Social hierarchy#Merges. Do NOT post more responses on this page! — Skittleys (talk) 04:05, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

As stated on the other wall: These articles are now merged. We achieved a small consensus (4 agreed, none disagreed), and bearing in mind how few people are contributing to either of these pages currently, I don't think it should cause any controversy. I have taken the best elements from social hierarchy and incorporated them here. I have also divided the article somewhat between sociology and anthropology, as the social hierarchy article had a slightly more anthropological emphasis (despite the unofficiality of the term). A hell of a lot of work still needs to be done - social stratification still is - as I'm sure any knowledgeable person would agree - not a particularly good article at present. I'll return every day for the next week or so to sort it out, hopefully some other users can help.--Tomsega (talk) 19:16, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Davis-Moore Thesis[edit]

Add topic "Functions of Social Stratification" and discuss Davis Moore Thesis. Such as how social stratification has beneficial consequences for the operation of a society. Ramjeesa (talk) 20:16, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Marxist Revolution[edit]

Expand on Karl Marx section by adding information on why the revolution did not occur. Reference Ralf Dahrendorf's four reasons: (in brief) 1. fragmentation of capitalist class 2. Increase standard of living 3. More worker unions 4. Legal protection Ramjeeka (talk) 20:17, 21 February 2012 (UTC)


Perhaps that the dominantiewereld model by Charlotte Hemelrijk needs to be mentioned ? See

It's about the social hierarchy with monkeys. It assumes that monkeys do not have any notion of coalitions, reconciliation, or any ability to plan. (talk) 09:17, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

NPOV violation[edit]

This article is portraying social stratification in a negative manner and goes on to list laws that it claims reduced social stratification, this is in violation of NPOV.--R-41 (talk) 01:20, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree with the first point. On the second point, the list of US laws and constitutional amendments is especially glaring. Regardless of whether or not one thinks the reduction or elimination of social stratification is a good thing, many countries have made similar efforts, in some cases with far more effective results. Iceland, for example. The fact that the English-language Wikipedia is edited largely by people who live in the USA means that we should go out of our way to avoid making articles unnecessarily USA-centric if it isn't relevant to the article. Zyxwv99 (talk) 16:55, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

Clear class separation in Western societies?[edit]

Quote from the introduction:

«In modern Western societies, stratification is broadly organized into three main layers: upper class, middle class, and lower class. Each of these classes can be further subdivided into smaller classes (e.g. occupational).[4]»

The class distinction is, at best, dubvious in modern Western society. Nowadays, the mere use of the word has political connotations that don't fit with the sociological reality in the West: the lines between classes in most Western countries (specially in the EU, excluding the UK) have become so thin and flexible that they've lost most of their meaning (the educational background, profession and income define the position of the individual, yet they only correlate with his/her origins in a vague way). The concepts of class differentiation per se were coined more than 150 years ago, in a social environment that didn't allow for an individual to ascend in the then-existing class strata; if born in a lower class family, one would be lower class for life no matter what (Marx and Engels used proletariat as a synonim for lower class, a mere semantical choice; but all their work was based on the assumption of the rigidity of the system). Therefore, is the upper paragraph really accurate?
Jordissim (talk) 22:29, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Race/Class/Gender and Intersectionality[edit]

As a sociologist currently teaching a course on social stratification, I can say that at least one category this article needs is one titled either Race, Class, and Gender or Race/Class/Gender. Patricia Hill Collins has a classic essay titled "Toward a New Vision," which is a staple of sociology courses like Social Stratification, and it argues that these three categories are the fundamental social categories needed to analyze the institutional, symbolic, and individual level phenomena involved in stratification and inequality. Furthermore, this section will need to link to the Wiki page on intersectionality as that is the main concept used to explain the position in Collins's "matrix of domination" in terms of race, class and gender. Moreover, sociologists quite frequently use these three categories as key independent variables in studies of inequality, and they are treated as measures of stratification of societies. Asdimd (talk) 00:19, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

Hi Asdimd and welcome to Wikipedia also from me! If you say this article needs "at least one category", do you mean a new section "Race, class and gender"? If so, it seems to me you could be an excellent editor of this new section. Lova Falk talk 10:59, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I believe I meant that it needs a new section. My course is dedicated, in part, to the United States Education Program, and so we are starting to look at pages on this topic to edit. A few of my students will be working on it, and I will be monitoring them.Asdimd (talk) 19:48, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm looking forward to it! Lova Falk talk 08:58, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

Racial and Ethnic stratification[edit]

Both racial stratification and ethnic stratification have been re-directed to this page. Stratification results as a combination of factors, two of which may be ethnicity and race either as socially identified with status or as intervening variables in economic status. Both factors should be further discussed in this article or developed as new articles in their own right. See previous discussion at Talk:Racism#Racial.2Fethnic_stratification_-_same_as_racism_or_not.3F. Meclee (talk) 20:37, 22 May 2014 (UTC)


This article is undergoing substantial re-write, re-organization, and expansion. A current draft may be found at User:Meclee/proj1-sandbox#External_links. Meclee (talk) 16:30, 23 June 2014 (UTC)  Done Meclee (talk) 16:05, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Children in Social Class[edit]

This page on social stratification fails to mention the status of children within classes. It talks about caste systems in which a lifetime social class is inevitably the social class you were born into. Also mentioned is that social class can vary in generations. The truth is children should not be identified as a specific social class at all at such a young age unless we are a caste system, which the United States is not. Children are not a part of the working class. This article would be improved if the position in which children fit into stratification was mentioned. If children can't help what family, race, or gender, they are born into, where do they stand as far as classification?

I would suggest incorporating information from this article:

Felski, Rika. "Nothing to Declare: Identity, Shame, and the Lower Middle Class" Special Topic: Rereading Class Vol. 115, No.1 (2000): 33-45' — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:02, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Children are classified according to the strata in which their family is classified. This is rational for a number of reasons, not the least of which is there are demonstrated differences in child rearing practices among the various classes. Research shows that children's life chances are greatly affected by their parents' social status. The best predictor variable of a child's future social status is the social stratum into which they were born. Meclee (talk) 04:08, 9 October 2015 (UTC)