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Social Stratification

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The urge to understand and theorize the socio-economic status led to the rise of different arguments, each fighting to be at the centre stage of focus. Exploring sociological trends like social stratification is highly dependent on facts rather than theorizing. However, relying on beliefs and value systems are both as important as identifying the facts and thus having a strong foundation for arguments. The dissection into this sociological aspect depended much on the reliance of facts against arguments grounded by fictitious imagination. Laureu’s attempts and those of Duncan and Blau represent such efforts. Expectedly, they have some common meeting points while at times they espouse incisive differences. The arguments proposed by all centre on what leads to upward class mobility with factors like background, class distinction at ones time of birth, race, gender, religion or personal achievements (Laureu pg 1-10, Blau & Duncan pg 429). The individuality ineptly provides a measure through achievements, merit (warranted by ability and effort) as well as levels of education.

Parentage is a point of similarity. Interestingly, it also provides points of difference, especially in the view adopted. Laureu dug deep into the society to establish how children were reared in the upper, middle and lower classes (1st chapter pg 1-23). On the other hand, Blau and Duncan looked at the establishment of a child’s socio-economic status as connected to the father son relation ship. Initially, they held the belief that the level at the time of birth had an impact (pg 430). They argued that one ought to begin from the lowest level (pg 431). After insightful thought, they disposed off this idea and believed that it was ideal for one to be born in the highest level in terms of societal stratification (pgs 433-436).

In her part, Laureu focused on parenting and child rearing, arguing that the way in which it is done reflects and contribute to how establishment in life at home or school does contribute to their perception of social stratification (pg 50-67). She argues that middle class families engage in systematic cultivation whereas the lower level classes and top levels engage the naturalistic approach, prompted by either lack of sufficient time to attend to their children (pg 66). This is a significantly important dimension of parenting in the American society and does raise questions for parents and policy makers whether indeed it is the ideal way to mould that high class individual they desire out of their sons and daughters (pg 107). Is this prompted by the achievements of their parents or the socio-economic class they are born in.

Blau and Duncan explored the topic through questioning how people attain statuses. They viewed this as a process in a continuum. Initially, their research focused on which level one should be born. They argued that one should be born in the lowest level and then find his/her way up (pg 430). After giving this a serious thought, they later established that those people born in the highest class stood a better chance for a good life, thus agreed that one should better be born in the highest class. This prompted their earlier oversight over which level one should be born be overturned in favor for the basic mobility model. They explored the mobility trend and   not which level should be done (pg 429). They established a map of life course stage; years of preparation in the family, at school entry in to the adult life of work and the expectations one is endowed with at this stage of responsibility.

The process of social stratification is therefore connected to educational attainment and status gained on the first job (pg 439). Their hypothesis is highly dependent on psychological dependencies hinged on social lifestyle like individuals’ ambition, ability and the influence from others (pg 440). This clearly is an exploration of the process that eventually modifies the path to achievement, focusing on early childhood exploits through education to the experiences of the working class (pg 440). This intently points out at a narrowed view where the individual paddles their way into which ever social class they want to belong.

The impact of family ties and upbringing of children is a centre upon which Laureu bases her arguments on. Hers’ as it appears from the explicit examples she quotes is a well researched view. She tells of a poor family struggling to make ends meet and how they are committed to provide for their child and abandoning the child to naturalistic approach and likens it to the rich who barely have time for their children (pg 197). This view is juxtaposed with a middle class family that offers their child all the attention it needs (pg 200). This is totally unlike Blau and Duncan who based their arguments on hypothesis. Most of their arguments lack sufficient substance and can pass off for many as mere speculations. This can be exemplified by their lack of research into how childhood affects social mobility yet they go ahead, without fats being given to substanciate that indeed it does affect class stratification. Where is the evidence? On her side, Laureu’s book cites realistic examples in life, giving her work more credibility and authenticity.

To conclude, understanding social stratification and trying to getting beneath the motivating factors is actually a complex chore. Thus, the school of thought that examines the same as a creation of human imagination might as well have a point. Indeed, the two works are master pieces that either highlighted the real issues behind the forces behind social stratification or initiated debate and subsequently research into the area.

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