Sociology 09 Social Stratification in the US MCQ


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A collage of social media logos such as Twitter and Facebook
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are just a few examples of social media that increasingly shape how we interact with the world. (Photo courtesy of Khalid Albaih/flickr)

How many good friends do you have? How many people do you meet up with for coffee or a movie? How many would you call with news about an illness or invite to your wedding? Now, how many “friends” do you have on Facebook? How often do you post a "selfie" online? How often do you check e-mail? How often do you meet friends for a meal and spend your time texting other people instead of talking to each other? Technology has changed how we interact with each other. It has turned “friend” into a verb and has made it possible to share mundane news (“My dog just threw up under the bed! Ugh!”) with hundreds or even thousands of people who might know you only slightly, if at all. You might be glued to your cell phone, even when you should be focused on driving your car, or you might text in class instead of listening to the professor's lecture. When we have the ability to stay constantly connected to a data stream, it is easy to lose focus on the here and now.

At the same time that technology is expanding the boundaries of our social circles, various media are also changing how we perceive and interact with each other. We don’t only use Facebook to keep in touch with friends; we also use it to “like” certain television shows, products, or celebrities. Even television is no longer a one-way medium; it is an interactive one. We are encouraged to tweet, text, or call in to vote for contestants in everything from singing competitions to matchmaking endeavors—bridging the gap between our entertainment and our own lives.

How does technology change our lives for the better? Or does it? When you tweet a social cause, share an ice bucket challenge video on YouTube, or cut and paste a status update about cancer awareness on Facebook, are you promoting social change? Does the immediate and constant flow of information mean we are more aware and engaged than any society before us? Or are Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Real Housewives franchise today’s version of ancient Rome’s “bread and circuses”––distractions and entertainment to keep the working classes complacent about the inequities of their society?

These are some of the questions that interest sociologists. How might we examine these issues from a sociological perspective? A functionalist would probably focus on what social purposes technology and media serve. For example, the web is both a form of technology and of media, and it links individuals and nations in a communication network that facilitates both small family discussions and global trade networks. A functionalist would also be interested in the manifest functions of media and technology, as well as their role in social dysfunction. Someone applying the conflict perspective would probably focus on the systematic inequality created by differential access to media and technology. For example, how can middle-class U.S. citizens be sure the news they hear is an objective account of reality, unsullied by moneyed political interests? Someone applying the interactionist perspective to technology and the media might seek to understand the difference between the real lives we lead and the reality depicted on “reality” television shows, such as The Bachelor . Throughout this chapter, we will use our sociological imagination to explore how media and technology impact society.

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Sociology 09 Social Stratification in the US
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Sample Questions from the Sociology 09 Social Stratification in the US MCQ Quiz

Question: The behaviors, customs, and norms associated with a class are known as:


class traits




Question: Which of these systems allows for the most social mobility?






Question: Based on meritocracy, a physician's assistant would:


receive the same pay as all the other physician's assistants

be encouraged to earn a higher degree to seek a better position

most likely marry a professional at the same level

earn a pay raise for doing excellent work

Question: What factor makes class systems open?


They allow for movement between the classes.

People are more open-minded.

People are encouraged to socialize within their class.

They do not have clearly defined layers.

Question: Which statement illustrates low status consistency?


A suburban family lives in a modest ranch home and enjoys nice vacation each summer.

A single mother receives food stamps and struggles to find adequate employment.

A college dropout launches an online company that earns millions in its first year.

A celebrity actress owns homes in three countries.

Question: Which person best illustrates opportunities for upward social mobility in the United States?


First-shift factory worker

First-generation college student

Firstborn son who inherits the family business

First-time interviewee who is hired for a job

Question: What factor makes caste systems closed?


They are run by secretive governments.

People cannot change their social standings.

Most have been outlawed.

They exist only in rural areas.

Question: Occupational prestige means that jobs are:


all equal in status

not equally valued

assigned to a person for life

not part of a person's self-identity

Question: Structural mobility occurs when:


an individual moves up the class ladder

an individual moves down the class ladder

a large group moves up or down the class ladder due to societal changes

a member of a family belongs to a different class than his or her siblings

Question: Which of the following scenarios is an example of intergenerational mobility?


A janitor belongs to the same social class as his grandmother did.

An executive belongs to a different class than her parents.

An editor shares the same social class as his cousin.

A lawyer belongs to a different class than her sister.

Question: In the United States, most people define themselves as:


middle class

upper class

lower class

no specific class

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