Class, Conflict, and Mobility: Theories and Studies of Class Structure

Class, Conflict, and Mobility: Theories and Studies of Class Structure

Class, Conflict, and Mobility: Theories and Studies of Class Structure

Class, Conflict, and Mobility: Theories and Studies of Class Structure

Excerpt

By all accounts, social stratification has clearly become one of the chief substantive "specialities" of the sociological enterprise. Even a cursory review of the discipline's major journals, for example, will reveal a startling growth in the relative number of materials devoted to the area. Understandably, of course, the greatest increment followed closely upon that series of economically and socially catastrophic events known in the aggregate as the Great Depression. Between 1930 and 1940, the incidence of journal articles concerned with issues of stratification more than doubled certainly, and perhaps even tripled.

This growth ought to have happened, for the study of social stratification deals with issues that pervade, indeed are at the heart of, the whole sociological enterprise. One could also justifiably argue that it is a scientifically opportune growth, for in this time of increasing academic specialization social stratification constitutes a most natural antidotal bridge between the entirety of sociology and many of its sister disciplines--philosophy, anthropology, economics, political science, history, psychology.

The pervasiveness of the social-stratification perspective is easy enough to understand. Social stratification is unique in laying emphasis on an idea about the social existence that is central to nearly all scholarly social pursuits. It is the idea, lifted to the level of an epoch-making formula by the theorists of the social contract, that social living is social participation in a written or unwritten, spoken or understood contract bearing with it a cost for a profit. Social . . .

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