Доклад: 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
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
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
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
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 society.
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
|Objective||A clear-cut method for studying the correlates of social class. It is commonly the simplest and cheapest approach since data can usually be obtained from government sources.||The method often does not yield divisions that people themselves employ in their daily lives.|
|Self-placement||The method can be applied to a large population since survey techniques can be employed for securing the data. A useful method for predicting political behavior since who people think they are influences how they vote.||The class with which people identify may represent their aspirations rather than their current associations or the appraisals of other people.|
|Reputational||The method provides a valuable tool for investigating social distinctions in small groups and communities. It is specially useful for predicting associational patterns among people.||The method is difficult to use in large samples where people have little or no knowledge of one another.|
Middles rank according to profession
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.
1. Phillips, B. Sociology research methods.
2. Schaffer R. Sociology.
3. Zanden, James, Vander. Sociology.
4. Enciclopedia Britannica (www.britannica.com).
5. Журнал Социологические исследования. 1999, №7-10
Whole amount of respondents
|Middle class of Russia||Ideal middle 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 joint-stock companies||1.2||2.1||-|
|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||-||-|