Social stratification in modern Russia
Ministry of General and Professional Education
of Russian Federation
Tula State University
Department of Sociology
Social Stratification and Mobility
Fulfilled by: Golopolosov Dmitry
Checked by: Scherbakova V.P.
What is Stratification? 3
Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis 4
Social mobility 4
Identifying social classes 5
Middles rank according to profession 6
What is Stratification?
Social stratification is a structured ranking of individuals and groups –
their grading into horizontal layers or strata.
There are two different types of stratification systems: open system and
closed system. Open system is a stratification system, in which people can
change their status with relative ease. Closed system is a stratification
system, in which people have great difficulty in changing their status.
I think that there is a closed system in our country, because a person
having nothing-valuable resources can’t change his social status. For
example, ordinate engineer can’t suddenly become a bank officer with
greater income. Person must have some capital, money, bank securities or
intellectual capital. But, I think, nowadays there is a great tendency in
our society to have more money than an intellect, i.e. money capital is
more preferable than a great intellectual potential of our nation.
The study of social stratification is the study of class, caste, privilege,
status that is characteristic of a particular society. It varies according
to how society is organized especially in terms of production and work. We
will emphasize class.
What is the connection between the question: what do you want to be when
you grow up and social stratification (especially the class character of
the society you live in)? Your position in society and the rewards that
will be associated with it. It has an impact on your possibility of
realistically meeting your opportunities for mobility. Mobility refers to
the likelihood that you can achieve a class, caste different from where you
come from, your roots. Mobility and stratification are related.
What image does strata invoke as a model of the social world? Strata comes
the natural sciences. Dr. Brush argues that it is interesting that
sociologists use a natural phenomena to talk about social phenomena. It
seems to contradict the main message of the course: our world is socially
constructed phenomena and not a natural process. Thus, stratification is
not equal to natural accretion.
Hypothesis posed by a classmate: society needs stratification to be healthy
and keep the peace. Which of the three main sociological perspectives
supports this statement? The functionalist perspective. Most stratification
arguments come out of this perspective. The second part of the hypothesis
(to keep the peace) relates more to the conflict perspective.
Stratification and egalitarianism are related. In a sociological sense
strata is a category that's associated with social hierarchy. That is,
people are ranked according to their rank, class, authority. If a society
has ranks then it is a stratified society. If it does not, then it is an
egalitarian society. Keep in mind, that these are relative terms.
Last week we drew a picture that tells the story of how societies are
organized around work. As societies move from simple to complex
organization, they start to get levels of inequality that would need
stratification to keep the peace. The differences are not natural, neutral
nor random. They are ranked and constitute a hierarchy along the lines of
race, gender, age, income among others.
Class is about how society organizes production and the outcomes that it
creates for people; this a combination of a Marxian (stratification) and
Weberian (organization) understanding.
Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis
1. Certain position in any society are functionally more important than
others and require special skills for their performance.
2. Only a limited number of individuals in any society have the talents
which can be trained into the skills appropriate to these positions.
3. the conversion of talents into skills involves a training period during
which sacrifices of one kind or another are made by those undergoing the
4. In order to induce the talented persons to undergo these sacrifices and
acquire the training, their future positions must carry an inducement
value in the form of differential, i.e., privileged and disproportionate
access to the scarce and desired rewards which the society has to offer.
5. These scarce and desired goods consist of the rights and perquisites
attached to or built into, the positions, and can be classified into
those things which contribute to a.) sustenance and comfort, b.) humor an
diversion, c.) self-respect and ego expansion.
6. This differential access to the basic rewards to the society has a
consequence the differentiation of the prestige and esteem which various
strata acquire. This may be said, along with the rights and perquisites,
to constitute institutionalized social inequality, i.e., stratification.
7. Therefore, social inequality among different strata in the amounts of
scarce and desired goods, and the amounts of prestige and esteem, which
they receive, is both positively functional and inevitable in any
Social mobility is a process, when individuals or groups can move from one
level (stratum) to another in the stratification system. There are three
types of social mobility:
1. Vertical mobility involves movement from one social status to another of
higher or lower rank.
2. Horizontal mobility entails movement from one social status to another
that approximately equivalent in rank.
3. Integrational mobility involves a comparison of the social status of
parents and their children at the same point in their respective careers.
Integrational mobility entails a comparison of the social status of a
person over an extended time period.
Identifying social classes
There are three main approaches to identifying social classes: the
objective method, the self-placement method, and the reputational method.
Although all the approaches overlap in classes, there are appreciable
differences in the results afforded by each. Moreover, each method has
certain advantages and disadvantages (see Table 1).
1. The objective method. The objective method views social class as a
statistical category. The categories are formed not by the members
themselves, but by sociologists or statisticians. Most commonly people
assigned to social classes on the basis of income, occupation, or
education (or some combination of these characteristics). The label
“objective” can be misleading, for it is not meant to imply that the
approach is more “scientific” or “unbiased” than the others. Rather, it
is objective in that numerically measurable criteria are employed for the
placement of individuals.
2. The self-placement method. The self-placement method (also known as the
subjective method) has people identify the social class to which they
think they belong. Class is viewed as a social category, one in which
people group themselves with other individuals they perceive as sharing
certain attributes in common with them. The class lines may or may not
conform to what social scientists think are logical lines of cleavage in
the objective sense.
3. The reputational method. In the self-placement method people are asked
to rank themselves. In the reputational method they are asked how they
classify other individuals. This approach view class as a social group,
one in which people share a feeling of oneness and are bound together in
relatively stable patterns of interaction. Thus class rests on knowledge
of who associates with whom.
Table 1. Identifying social classes
|Method |Advantages |Disadvantages |
|Objective |A clear-cut method for studying the |The method often does not |
| |correlates of social class. It is |yield divisions that |
| |commonly the simplest and cheapest |people themselves employ |
| |approach since data can usually be |in their daily lives. |
| |obtained from government sources. | |
|Self-place|The method can be applied to a large |The class with which |
|ment |population since survey techniques |people identify may |
| |can be employed for securing the |represent their |
| |data. A useful method for predicting |aspirations rather than |
| |political behavior since who people |their current associations|
| |think they are influences how they |or the appraisals of other|
| |vote. |people. |
|Reputation|The method provides a valuable tool |The method is difficult to|
|al |for investigating social distinctions|use in large samples where|
| |in small groups and communities. It |people have little or no |
| |is specially useful for predicting |knowledge of one another. |
| |associational patterns among people. | |
Middles rank according to profession
|Professionals |Whole amount|Middle |Ideal |
| |of |class of |middle |
| |respondents |Russia |class |
|1. Industrial workers |35.2 |25.2 |4.2 |
|2. Technicians, middle part managers |14.4 |23.4 |20.8 |
|3. Directors of public industries and |1.2 |2.1 |- |
|joint-stock companies | | | |
|4. Businessmen |6.9 |12.8 |25.0 |
|5. Accountant, financier etc. |4.0 |4.2 |12.5 |
|6. Humanitarian intelligence |20.5 |23.4 |16.7 |
|7. Workers of communal sphere |10.2 |8.5 |20.8 |
|8. Trade and supply workers |7.6 |- |- |
Russian middle class: 6% of all respondents
. self-identification: middle place
. Financial position: sufficient to live
. Education: specialized secondary education, incomplete or complete
Numerical superiority: men and citizens of big towns and Moscow.
Ideal middle class: 3.4% of all respondents (most close to middle class of
. Financial position: sufficient amount of money for almost all needs
. Education: specialized secondary education or higher (50% -
specialized secondary education)
Citizens of big towns (21.1%) and villages (52.7%). Thus 2-3% of
villagers are of middle class.
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