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Social Class and Social Stratification Glossary

caste system a system of stratification (characterized by low social mobility) in which one's place in the stratification system is determined by birth
class consciousness the awareness that a class structure exists and the feeling of shared identification with others in one's class with whom one perceives common life chances
culture of poverty the argument that poverty is a way of life and, like other cultures, is passed on from generation to generation
educational attainment the total years of formal education
estate system a system of stratification in which the ownership of property and the exercise of power is monopolized by an elite or noble class, which has total control over societal resources
false consciousness the thought resulting from subordinate classes internalizing the view of the dominant class
feminization of poverty the process whereby a growing proportion of the poor are women and children
ideology a belief system that tries to explain and justify the status quo
income the amount of money brought into a household from various sources during a given year (wages, investment income, dividends, etc.)
life chances the opportunities that people have in common by virtue of belonging to a particular class
median income the midpoint of all household incomes
occupational prestige the subjective evaluation people give to jobs as better or worse than others
poverty line the figure established by the government to indicate the amount of money needed to support the basic needs of a household
prestige the value with which different groups or people are judged
social class the social structural hierarchical position groups hold relative to the economic, social, political, and cultural resources of society
social differentiation the process by which different statuses in any group, organization, or society develop
social mobility a person's movement over time from one class to another
social stratification a relatively fixed hierarchical arrangement in society by which groups have different access to resources, power, and perceived social worth; a system of structured social inequality
socioeconomic status (SES) a measure of class standing, typically indicated by income, occupational prestige, and educational attainment
status an established position in a social structure that carries with it a degree of prestige
status attainment the process by which people end up in a given position in the stratification system
urban underclass a grouping of people, largely minority and poor, who live at the absolute bottom of the socioeconomic ladder in urban areas
wealth the monetary value of what someone actually owns, calculated by adding all financial assets (stocks, bonds, property, insurance, value of investments, etc.) and subtracting debts; also called net worth
Race and Ethnicity Glossary
affirmative action programs in education and job hiring that recruit minorities over a wide range, but do not use rigid quotas, or, that use admissions slots (quotas) for minorities in education and set aside contracts in the economy
anti-Semitism the belief or behavior that defines Jewish people as inferior and that targets them for stereotyping, mistreatment, and acts of hatred
assimilation process by which a minority becomes socially, economically, and culturally absorbed within the dominant society
authoritarian personality a personality characterized by a tendency to rigidly categorize people, and to submit to authority, rigidly conform, and be intolerant of ambiguity
contact theory the theory that prejudice will be reduced through social interaction with those of different race or ethnicity but of equal status
cultural pluralism pattern whereby groups maintain their distinctive culture and history
discrimination overt negative and unequal treatment of the members of some social group or stratum solely because of their membership in that group or stratum
domestic colonialism the view that a minority in a society is forced to be a colonized group within the dominant society
dominant group the group that assigns a racial or ethnic group to subordinate status in society
ethnic group a social category of people who share a common culture, such as a common language or dialect, a common religion, and common norms, practices, and customs
ethnocentrism the belief that one's in-group is superior to all out-groups
forms of racism types of racism such as traditional, aversive, laissez-faire, color-blind, and institutional
institutional racism racism involving notions of racial or ethnic inferiority that have become ingrained into society's institutions
minority group any distinct group in society that shares common group characteristics and is forced to occupy low status in society because of prejudice and discrimination
out-group homogeneity effect the tendency for an in-group member to perceive members of any out-group as similar or identical to each other
prejudice the negative evaluation of a social group, and individuals within that group, based upon conceptions about that social group that are held despite facts that contradict it
race a social category, or social construction, that we treat as distinct on the basis of certain characteristics, some biological, that have been assigned social importance in the society
racial formation process by which groups come to be defined as a "race" through social institutions such as the law and the schools
racial profiling the use of race alone as the criterion for deciding whether to stop and detain someone on suspicion of their having committed a crime
racialization a process whereby some social category, such as a social class or nationality, is assigned what are perceived to be race characteristics
racism the perception and treatment of a racial or ethnic group, or member of that group, as intellectually, socially, and culturally inferior to one's own group
residential segregation the spatial separation of racial and ethnic groups in different residential areas
salience principle categorizing people on the basis of what initially appears prominent about them
scapegoat theory argument that dominant group aggression is directed toward a minority as a substitute for frustration with some other problem
segregation the spatial and social separation of racial and ethnic groups
stereotype an oversimplified set of beliefs about the members of a social group or social stratum that is used to categorize individuals of that group
stereotype interchangeability the principle that negative stereotypes are interchangeable from one racial group (or gender or social class) to another
urban underclass a grouping of people, largely minority and poor, who live at the absolute bottom of the socioeconomic ladder in urban areas
Gender Glossary
biological determinism explanations that attribute complex social phenomena to physical characteristics
comparable worth the principle of paying women and men equivalent wages for jobs involving similar levels of skill
dual labor market theory the idea that women and men have different earnings because they tend to work in different segments of the labor market
feminism a way of thinking and acting that advocates a more just society for women
feminist theory analyses of women and men in society intended to improve women's lives
gender socially learned expectations and behaviors associated with members of each sex
gender apartheid the extreme segregation and exclusion of women from public life
gender identity one's definition of self as a woman or man
gender segregation the distribution of men and women in different jobs in the labor force
gender socialization the process by which men and women learn the expectations associated with their sex
gender stratification the hierarchical distribution of social and economic resources according to gender
gendered institution the idea that whole institutions are patterned by gender
hermaphroditism a condition produced when irregularities in chromosome formation or fetal differentiation produces persons with mixed sex characteristics
homophobia the fear and hatred of homosexuality
human capital theory a theory that explains differences in wages as the result of differences in the individual characteristics of the workers
labor force participation rate the percentage of those in a given category who are employed
liberal feminism a feminist theoretical perspective asserting that the origin of women's inequality is in traditions of the past that pose barriers to women's advancement
matriarchy a society or group in which women have power over men
multiracial feminism form of feminist theory noting the exclusion of women of color from other forms of theory and centering its analysis in the experiences of all women
patriarchy a society or group where men have power over women
radical feminism feminist theoretical perspective that interprets patriarchy as the primary cause of women's oppression
sex used to refer to biological identity as male or female
sexism an ideology that defines women as different from and inferior to men
socialist feminism a feminist theoretical perspective that interprets the origins of women's oppression as lying in the system of capitalism
Created by: 241152