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The Davis-Moore thesis, though open for debate, was an early attempt to explain why stratification exists. The thesis states that social stratification is necessary to promote excellence, productivity, and efficiency, thus giving people something to strive for. Davis and Moore believed that the system serves society as a whole because it allows everyone to benefit to a certain extent.

Conflict theory

A group of people are shown standing on a sidewalk holding protest signs.
These people are protesting a decision made by Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee, to lay off custodians and outsource the jobs to a private firm to avoid paying employee benefits. Private job agencies often pay lower hourly wages. Is the decision fair? (Photo courtesy of Brian Stansberry/Wikimedia Commons)

Conflict theorists are deeply critical of social stratification, asserting that it benefits only some people, not all of society. For instance, to a conflict theorist, it seems wrong that a basketball player is paid millions for an annual contract while a public school teacher earns $35,000 a year. Stratification, conflict theorists believe, perpetuates inequality. Conflict theorists try to bring awareness to inequalities, such as how a rich society can have so many poor members.

Many conflict theorists draw on the work of Karl Marx. During the nineteenth-century era of industrialization, Marx believed social stratification resulted from people’s relationship to production. People were divided by a single line: they either owned factories or worked in them. In Marx’s time, bourgeois capitalists owned high-producing businesses, factories, and land, as they still do today. Proletariats were the workers who performed the manual labor to produce goods. Upper-class capitalists raked in profits and got rich, while working-class proletariats earned skimpy wages and struggled to survive. With such opposing interests, the two groups were divided by differences of wealth and power. Marx saw workers experience deep alienation, isolation and misery resulting from powerless status levels (Marx 1848). Marx argued that proletariats were oppressed by the money-hungry bourgeois.

Today, while working conditions have improved, conflict theorists believe that the strained working relationship between employers and employees still exists. Capitalists own the means of production, and a system is in place to make business owners rich and keep workers poor. According to conflict theorists, the resulting stratification creates class conflict. If he were alive in today’s economy, as it recovers from a prolonged recession, Marx would likely have argued that the recession resulted from the greed of capitalists, satisfied at the expense of working people.

Symbolic interactionism

Symbolic interactionism is a theory that uses everyday interactions of individuals to explain society as a whole. Symbolic interactionism examines stratification from a micro-level perspective. This analysis strives to explain how people’s social standing affects their everyday interactions.

Questions & Answers

importance of sociology as a course to my discipline
favour Reply
can someone explain social system theory
Evalyne Reply
the study society as a complex ,arrangement of element individual and their beliefs
ghaza
how climate change human behavior
Hope Reply
climate change human behaviour... it have the power to change human emotions.
MINU
lack of agriculture can cause financial problems
MINU
disscus the roles challenges of sociology as social engineer with concrete examples
honour Reply
honour Austin met me in school, i got a material for your question or I can tell you what to do to get your assignment done....(uniuyo)
Icecool
define crime and explain its categories
Abdullahi Reply
definition of crime and explain its categories
Nathax
Criminology is the study of the law enforcement and criminal justice. Criminology covers these area: Frequency of crime Location of crimes Causes of crimes Types of crimes Social and individual consequences of crimes Social reactions to crimes Individual reactions to crimes Governmental reactions
Amman
what are roles and challenges of sociology as social engineers
Icecool Reply
Fo any of you have any idea about Ibn ek khuldun theory of Population . kindly share
Maria Reply
No idea
Dede
Maria ibn ek khuldun supposed to be the first founder of sociology but due to the country he is that's why is not recognized as well... he was born 1332 and died 1406, is an Egyptians... he defined sociology as the science of nature and discipline
IBRAHIM
what re the importance of sociology as a course to my discipline
favour
Auguste Comte The French philosopher Auguste Comte (1798–1857)—often called the “father of sociology”—first used the term “sociology” in 1838 to refer to the scientific study of society. He believed that all societies develop and progress through the following stages: religious, metaphysical
Abdikadir
what are the impact of HIV and aids in the society plz help
Mvumeni
the father of sociology
Chiamaka Reply
The father of Sociology is called "August Comte " but the term "Sociology is coined by Ibn e khuldun " and he is the founder of social sciences .
Maria
but sociology word first introduced by August comte
Izhar
Discuss some scholars contribution on sociology as a science
Nafisat Reply
cultural lag culture and civilization
Sundeep Reply
define culture by Edward ty
Victoria Reply
what is the basic theory
Umar Reply
basic theory of what
Victoria
Discuss* *the important of* *sociology in a developing* *country like Nigeria*
Owolo
I think he say basic theory of sociology
Arxoo
what study of sociology is important...?
Maira
the studies of human behavior as it relates to society is one major definition of sociology.
Alfred Reply
Sociology definition. "The scientific study of group behavior and social organization.
Arxoo
what is adopted culture?
Muhammad
it's a culture copied from other countries.
Davison
meaning of international understanding
Ason Reply
Is sociology a science discipline
Odimgbe Reply
yes
Maira
sociology is a scientific study of human society and interaction. ... Sociology as a scientific discipline However, when conducting social sciences research there are some systematic steps which are needed to be followed. There must be a careful selection of topic to be studied.
Maira
Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. 
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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