Sociology Today; Problems and Prospects

By Robert K. Merton; Leonard Broom et al. | Go to book overview

19
Social Differentiation and Stratification 1

LEONARD BROOM University of California, Los Angeles

B roadly defined, social stratification covers so large a part of sociology that a synoptic assessment would be a major work and a critical assessment in a brief paper would be bad manners.2 This paper is principally devoted to the pervasive problem of "good­ness of fit" 3.a topic that seems to offer particularly good prospect for

____________________
1
The helpfulness of Frances G. Scott is gratefully acknowledged.
2
Three publications afford general and rather different surveys of the field, but until quite recently there were none at all: Bernard Barber, Social Stratification, Harcourt, Brace, 1957; J. A. Kahl, The American Class Structure, Rinehart, 1957; and Kurt B. Mayer, Class and Society, Double- day, 1955. For a rich sampler and bibliography, see R. Bendix and S. M. Lipset (eds.), Class, Status and Power: A Reader in Social Stratification, Free Press, 1953; and for bibliography, Harold W. Pfautz, "The Current Literature on Social Stratification: Critique and Bibliography," Amer. J. Sociol., 58 ( 1953), 391-418; and "Social Stratification and Social Mobility," Curr. Sociol., 2:1,4 ( 1953-54).
3
An early expression of concern with this problem in the sociological literature is Sumner's notion of a strain toward consistency in the mores. See William Graham Sumner, Folkways, Ginn, 1906, esp. The strain of improvement and consistency, pp. 5-6; "Consistency in the mores," p. 391 and "Inertia and rigidity of the mores," pp. 79-80

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