Social Stratification
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| Social Stratification

Meaning of Social Stratification

The classification of the members of the society includes superiority or inferiority, upper or lower, and high or low is termed stratification.

Definition of Social Stratification

The process by which individuals or groups are ranked is more or less enduring linearly (orderly) of status is known as stratification.

A stratified society is one marked by inequality by differences among the people that are evaluated by them as being ‘lower’ or ‘higher’.

Based on the above-mentioned definition, it may be concluded that social stratification is a hierarchically organized structure of social inequality that is found in all societies.

Types of Social Stratification

  • Close Stratification: Stratification which a person ascribed by birth. E.g. caste, religion.
  • Open Stratification: Stratification which a person achieves by his/her ability, intelligence, capability, skills, etc.

The Ways of Social Stratification

  • Biological: Sex, race, age, birth, ethnicity.
  • Socio-cultural: Economic, political, religious, etc.


| Social Differentiation

Meaning of Social Differentiation

In all societies, there is the differentiation of population by age, sex, and personal characteristics or occupation.

Everywhere individuals and societies differ. In all societies, people are equal in all respects. Hence, differentiation is the keynote of human society. Society rest on the principle of difference.

According to Talcott Parson, there are three casual factors of social stratification. They are:

  • Possession: It refers to mainly material possession such as money, wealth, property, etc.
  • Qualities: These refer to the capabilities of abilities of people. E.g. physical strength, intelligence, encouragement, beauty, loyalty, etc.
  • Performance: It refers to the task in a given time and situation. It always judges according to its product or result as well as manner and style.

According to Nietzsche: Women is the “God’s Second Mistake”. Plato thanked God for he had been born free and not a slave and that he was a man and not a woman.

According to St. Paul: Man is not of the woman but the woman of the man.

Age-Based Social Differentiation

  • Childhood
  • Adolescence
  • Adulthood
  • Old Age


| Social Inequality

Meaning of Social Inequality

It is as old as a society and throughout history. It has been a constant source of tension, conflict, violence, injustice, and oppression. In most societies, it is built into the social structure in such a way that is passed down from one generation to another generation.

According to William P. Scott: Social inequality refers to the existence of unequal opportunities and rewards for different social positions or statuses within a group or society.

Robertson: Social inequality exists when some people have a greater share of power, wealth, or prestige than others.

Characteristics of Social Inequality

  • Result of differentiation.
  • Built into the social structure.
  • Source of conflict or social change.
  • Universal.


| Gender Dimension of Social Stratification

One of the major forms of stratification prevailing in Nepali society is based on gender. Gender is the most fundamental feature of human society. It is the biological differences that lead to the existence of two sex which is ‘Male’ and ‘Female’.

In Nepalese society, males and females are expected to perform different roles and discharge different responsibilities. The mode of doing things status assigned the interest they hold and ultimately the goals and aspirations of males and females are different.

The difference between males and females is not only biological but also cultural. In the context of Nepal, the male is the dominant sex whereas females are (relatively less dominant) followers. The major economic, household and other decisions are taken by males. However, there are certain communities where females are dominant.

In recent years the increasing education labor among females and the awareness of their roles and status have accelerated the process of empowerment of women to a large extent.

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