the definition of social stratification

Part 1

In Week 3, we studied social stratification and how it influences what goes on in many social interactions among people. Imagine you are a sociologist who works for an elected official who has no background in sociology or a related field. You have been assigned the task of identifying an important example of social stratification that impacts the elected official’s constituency. After you have read the textbook and lectures assigned for this week, draft a 2-4 paragraph memo that accomplishes the following:

  1. Quotes the definition of social stratification from the textbook and/or lectures in correct APA citation.
  2. Identifies at least one example of social stratification in your community.
  3. Identifies one of the sociological explanations of class inequality in the United States and explain why you think it is helpful in understanding the example you discussed in part 2. For example, you could discuss the classical perspectives of Marx and Weber, the symbolic interactionist perspective, the functionalist perspective, or the conflict perspective.


  1. What does Max Weber mean by the term “life chances?” Do you think life chances impact social stratification in the United States? Why or why not? Try and develop your response with concrete, real-life examples from your life, culture, and community.
  2. What does it mean to say that race is a social construct? Does this mean that race is not real? Why or why not?
  3. Consider the functionalist, conflict, and symbolic interactionist approaches to racial and ethnic relations. Which do you find most compelling, and why?
  4. Define ethnic pluralism and discuss what might be necessary to achieve it in the United States.

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