It has been suggested that social inequality is a feature of all human societies Haralambos and Holbornp.
Stratification, and here I shall begin by adopting a Functionalist approach, even though I belong to the Conflict school - with a Master's in Conflict Management ironically enough is a very necessary system in a diverse, densely populated and extremely competitive society.
The more diversity, and the greater the division of labor, the more it tends to stimulate economic activity, and the economy as a whole, even though cyclical recessions may still occur. So therefore, stratification is something that we cannot escape.
Our society, western civilization today, and in the future, is just way too complex.
The needs of communities, families, groups, institutions and individuals do require people at different levels of society, with different skills. However, again it depends on the overall nature of the society - its social structure prevailing norms, attitudes, values, individual and institutional practises, and of course, its social class structure as a subdivision of the overall social structure.
Again, it depends on the situational context. So, one has to agree with both theories. Remember, there is no one unifying theory.
To think this would be a fallacy. Because for every example a Functionalist would think of, a Conflict Theorist such as myself would counter with ten of his own from real life and vice versa.
In many cases, thus, it is through hard work, the will to become or have a higher education, which in turn, though, still no guarentee opens up other opportunities, where the need for highly educated people in the job market arises, and an opportunity which can and may arise opens up.
However, in real life, as real time unfolds, also there are cases where people who are perceived to be of the wrong 'class', gender, race, religion, language group may be blocked from the opportunities for upward mobility by the 'other' - groups or individuals, because they do not fit an accepted preconceived, erroneous, biased profile.
So here, conflict theory also has its merits, because we may all be aware of instances like these in the 'real world' even though legislation may suggest against this, perhaps even you yourself.
Your place in the pecking order as it were, is in many other instances, a function of prevailing social perceptions - do you come from the 'right neighbourhood, university, social class - who are your parents, how much influence, prestige, wealth and connections do they have, etc.
The higher you are ranked in society, the more access you have to others who are ranked as high as you are, or even higher, all belonging to the same country club, Master Card, champagne, caviare, and so on There is a certain elite clique, or group you become a part of - exclusionist, gilded, gated - the higher you are ranked in the system.
Society - especially Western Society, favors, wealth, power and prestige and influence to varying degrees and in various combinations - unfortunately - over their opposites So yes, I would lean more toward the Conflict Theory for this one, although as I have stated above - one cannot entirely discount the Functionalist position - even though I would have liked toMore emphasis on play and less on commercial spectator sports Weaknesses of Conflict Theory Assumes that all social life is “economically determined”.
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