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BSOE-148: Social Stratification

BSOE-148: Social Stratification

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

If you are looking for BSOE-148 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Social Stratification, you have come to the right place. BSOE-148 solution on this page applies to 2023-24 session students studying in BAG courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: BSOE-148/ASST/TMA/Jul 2023-Jan 2024

Course Code: BSOE-148

Assignment Name: Social Stratification

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment - I

Answer the following in about 500 words each.

Q1) Discuss the Weberian approach of social stratification.

Ans) Max Weber, a German sociologist, contributed significantly to the understanding of social stratification with his multidimensional approach that went beyond economic factors. Unlike Karl Marx, who primarily focused on economic class, Weber's perspective considers various aspects like class, status, and party (or power) as essential components of social stratification.

Weber's approach provides a nuanced understanding of how different factors intersect to shape individuals' positions in society.


a) Weber's Concept of Class: According to Weber, the allocation of economic resources, most notably wealth and property, is the foundation upon which class is built. On the other hand, he goes beyond Marx's concept by recognising that other aspects, such as an individual's abilities, education, and marketable qualities, also play a role in determining their class rank.

b) Life Chances: Weber introduces the concept of "life chances," suggesting that one's class position affects their access to opportunities, education, healthcare, and overall quality of life. This highlights the multidimensional impact of class on individuals.


a) Weber's Concept of Status: On the other hand, Weber accords status an independent function in social stratification, in contrast to Marx, who viewed distinctions in status to be nothing more than reflections of class relations. Prestige or social honour in a society is what is meant by the term "status" for an individual.

b) Factors Influencing Status: Status can be determined by various factors, including education, ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, and cultural capital. People with similar status may share a common lifestyle, values, and social recognition.

Party (Power):

a) Weber's Concept of Party: Weber introduces the concept of party or power as a distinct element in social stratification. It refers to an individual's ability to influence others or impose their will, regardless of economic or social status.

b) Power as a Separate Dimension: Unlike Marx, who saw power as an extension of class, Weber sees power as a separate dimension. Individuals or groups may wield power even if they lack economic resources.


Multidimensional Approach: Weber's model is inherently intersectional, recognizing that an individual's position in society results from the interplay of class, status, and power. This complexity allows for a more comprehensive understanding of social stratification, considering the various ways privilege and disadvantage manifest.

Criticisms and Limitations:

a) Ambiguity in Defining Classes: When opposed to Marx's approach, critics contend that Weber's approach is less clear when it comes to designating classes. The presence of a number of different elements makes it difficult to establish distinct class borders.

b) Subjectivity in Determining Status: The concept of status that Weber proposes is both subjective and dependent on the situation, which makes it difficult to measure in an objective manner. From one society to another and from one time period to another, the factors that are used to determine status can be diverse.

Contemporary Relevance:

Recognition of Cultural Capital: Weber's emphasis on cultural capital, which includes education and lifestyle, has gained prominence in modern discussions on social stratification. Culture capital includes education and lifestyle. In order to have a complete grasp of modern civilizations, it is necessary to acknowledge that variables other than economics might impact one's perspective.

Q2) Briefly outline the organizing principles of social stratification.

Ans) The term "social stratification" refers to the hierarchical ordering of individuals or groups within a society based on a variety of characteristics including income, power, education, and social standing from the perspective of the society.

When it comes to explaining the patterns and structures that influence individuals' positions within a given society, the organising principles of social stratification are helpful in providing an explanation.

There are a number of economic, social, and political elements that contribute to the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities. These principles address all of these issues. A brief summary of the fundamental structuring principles of social stratification is shown here:

Economic Class:

Wealth and Income Disparities: One of the primary organizing principles is economic class, which is based on the distribution of wealth and income. Individuals are classified into different economic classes, such as upper class, middle class, and lower class, influencing their access to resources and opportunities.

Social Status or Prestige:

Occupation and Education: Social status is determined by an individual's occupation, level of education, and associated prestige. Professions with higher educational requirements or social recognition often contribute to elevated social status. For example, doctors and professors may enjoy higher social status than some blue-collar workers.

Power and Political Influence:

Political Capital: The ability to influence political decisions and policies is another organizing principle of social stratification. Those with political power can shape laws, regulations, and societal norms to serve their interests, contributing to the perpetuation of social inequalities.

Caste System:

Ascribed Status: In societies with a caste system, individuals are assigned social positions at birth based on ascribed characteristics such as caste, race, or ethnicity. These ascribed statuses dictate one's occupation, social interactions, and access to resources.

Gender and Sexuality:

Gender Roles and Inequality: Social stratification is often organized along gender lines, with distinct roles and expectations for men and women. Gender-based discrimination and unequal access to opportunities contribute to the perpetuation of gender-based social hierarchies.

Age and Generational Differences:

Intergenerational Mobility: Age can influence social stratification, with younger generations often having different opportunities and challenges compared to older generations. Intergenerational mobility, or the ability to improve one's social and economic status compared to one's parents, is a key factor in understanding social stratification dynamics.


Educational Attainment: The level of education an individual achieves often correlates with their social position. Higher educational attainment is associated with greater access to well-paying jobs, social networks, and cultural capital, contributing to social mobility.

Global Stratification:

Global Economic Disparities: Social stratification is not confined to individual societies but extends globally. Global economic disparities between developed and developing nations contribute to global social hierarchies, influencing access to resources, technology, and opportunities.

Race and Ethnicity:

Racial and Ethnic Inequality: The organizing principle of race and ethnicity plays a significant role in social stratification. Discrimination and prejudice based on racial or ethnic identity contribute to disparities in economic opportunities, education, and social status.

Religious Affiliation:

Religious Influence: In some societies, religious affiliations can impact social stratification. Certain religious groups may have distinct social norms, practices, and access to resources that contribute to their social position.

Assignment - II

Answer the following in about 250 words each.

Q3) Discuss class as a form of stratification.

Ans) Social class, defined by wealth, income, occupation, and resource access, stratifies society. Class distinctions contribute significantly to the distribution of opportunities, privileges, and life chances, creating a hierarchical structure.

Economic Inequality:

Economic inequality is reflected in social class. Higher-class people have more wealth and income, which improves their level of life, education, and healthcare.

Occupational Prestige:

Occupation determines social class. Doctors and CEOs are prestige jobs in higher socioeconomic strata due to their education and skill requirements.

Social Mobility:

Social mobility, or the ability to move between social classes, is a key aspect of class stratification. Societies may exhibit varying degrees of mobility, impacting individuals' opportunities for upward or downward movement in the social hierarchy.

Cultural Capital:

Beyond economic criteria, social class includes cultural capital—education, etiquette, and lifestyle. Cultural capital elevates higher classes and distinguishes them from inferior classes.

Power Dynamics:

Power and social class are linked. Higher socioeconomic classes have more influence over politics, legislation, and social norms, retaining their advantages and status quo.

Class Consciousness:

People's awareness of their social class and class systems is called class consciousness. It fosters class cohesion and action.

Marxist Perspective:

Influenced by Karl Marx, the Marxist perspective emphasizes the conflict between social classes. Marx argued that class struggle, particularly between the bourgeoisie (capitalist class) and the proletariat (working class), is a driving force in societal change.

Weberian Perspective:

Max Weber expanded the understanding of social class by incorporating multiple factors such as wealth, status, and power. Weber's model recognizes that individuals may occupy different class positions based on various dimensions.

Q4) Write down Marx’s ideas on the mode of production.

Ans) Karl Marx's mode of production theories underpin historical materialism and Marxist sociology. Marx defined the mode of production as how society organises and uses its productive forces, including its means and relations.

Means of Production:

Marx identified the means of production as the physical and technological resources necessary for producing goods and services. This includes tools, machinery, land, and raw materials.

Relations of Production:

Manufacturing relations are the social bonds and structures formed during production. Bourgeoisie (owners of production means) and proletariat are key differences (those who sell their labour to the bourgeoisie).

Historical Materialism:

Marx's historical materialism holds that production determines a society's social, political, and cultural institutions. Production mode changes drive historical and social evolution.

Class Struggle:

Manufacturing relations are the social bonds and structures formed during production. Bourgeoisie (owners of production means) and proletariat are key differences (those who sell their labour to the bourgeoisie).

Primitive Communism to Capitalism:

Marx traces ancient communism, when common ownership ruled, to feudalism and capitalism. Capitalism with private ownership of production has its drawbacks.

Capitalist Exploitation:

In capitalism, Marx highlighted the exploitative nature of the relationship between capitalists and workers. Capitalists extract surplus value—the difference between the value of labour power and the value created by workers—resulting in economic inequality.

Dialectical Materialism:

Marx's dialectical materialism views social phenomena as dynamic, contradictory processes. Production mode changes affect society's quality.

Communism as the Future Stage:

Marx saw communism as the pinnacle of human growth, eradicating private property, class inequalities, and establishing a classless society where the means of production are jointly held.

Q5) Discuss the functional approaches of social stratification.

Ans) Functionalism, a sociological paradigm that stresses social institutions' contributions to society's stability and functioning, offers its own methods to social stratification. Structural functionalism investigates how diverse sectors of society contribute to society's stability, but functionalist theorists have shed light on social inequality.

Davis-Moore Thesis:

According to Kingsley Davis and Wilbert E. Moore's Davis-Moore theory, civilization needs social stratification. This approach ranks social positions by function. Special advantages and incentives should encourage talent and effort in high-status jobs, which need more skill and training.

Incentive for Achievement:

Functionalists believe societal stratification motivates people to flourish in their vocations. The prospect of wealth, position, and reputation inspires people to learn, study, and contribute to society.

Social Order and Stability:

Social stratification creates order and stability, say functionalists. By allocating social roles based on abilities and achievements, society may efficiently organise its members and ensure qualified people complete their obligations.

Role Allocation:

Functionalists say social stratification helps assign tasks and obligations. A division of labour that matches skills and qualifications boosts production.

Social Integration:

Functionalists believe societal stratification promotes social integration by generating shared values and beliefs. Hierarchies promote order and predictability, promoting a coherent society where everyone know their jobs.

Social Mobility as a Safety Valve:

Social mobility helps society release tensions and frustrations, according to functionalists. The possibility of upward mobility gives people hope and prevents unhappiness.


Functionalists favour a meritocratic system where people are promoted based on their talents and accomplishments. Meritocracies justify social stratification as a reflection of work and aptitude.

Assignment – III

Write a following in about 100 words each.

Q6) Racism.

Ans) Racism is a systemic belief or practice that assigns inherent characteristics, abilities, or values to individuals based on their race, leading to discrimination, prejudice, and unequal treatment. It operates on the assumption of one race's superiority over others, perpetuating social hierarchies and marginalization.

Racism can manifest at individual, institutional, and structural levels, affecting access to opportunities, resources, and basic rights. Overcoming racism requires challenging biased beliefs, dismantling discriminatory policies, and fostering inclusivity. In order to make progress toward equality, it is necessary to acknowledge historical wrongdoings and to work toward achieving social, economic, and political fairness for people of all races.

Q7) Intragenerational mobility.

Ans) Intragenerational mobility refers to the changes in an individual's social or economic status within their own lifetime or career. It measures the upward or downward movement in social class, income, or occupational status experienced by a person during their working years. Factors such as education, career choices, and individual efforts can influence intragenerational mobility.

This concept contrasts with intergenerational mobility, which examines social mobility between different generations. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of social mobility within a particular time period, it is essential to understand intragenerational mobility. This type of mobility highlights the opportunities or challenges that individuals face in advancing their socioeconomic positions throughout their lifetime.

Q8) Features of caste.

Ans) Caste is a social stratification system characterized by several distinctive features. It is hereditary, with individuals inheriting their caste status from their parents. Castes are endogamous, meaning individuals typically marry within their own caste. Occupations are often associated with specific castes, creating a division of labour. Social interaction and marriage outside one's caste are often restricted.

Caste-based discrimination can lead to social and economic disparities. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of social mobility within a particular time period, it is essential to understand intragenerational mobility. This type of mobility highlights the opportunities or challenges that individuals face in advancing their socioeconomic positions throughout their lifetime.

Q9) Ethnonationalism.

Ans) Ethnonationalism is a political ideology emphasizing the alignment of a nation with a particular ethnic or cultural group. It asserts that a nation should coincide with a specific ethnic community, linking national identity closely to shared cultural characteristics. Ethnonationalist movements often advocate for political sovereignty or autonomy based on ethnic distinctions.

While some ethnonationalist movements seek self-determination peacefully, others can lead to conflicts, as they may challenge existing political boundaries. Ethnonationalism is a multifaceted phenomenon that has a variety of effects depending on the geographical location and historical context in which it is experienced. It has an impact on issues concerning citizenship, political institutions, and concerns of identity.

Q10) Estate system.

Ans) The estate system was a medieval social hierarchy characterized by three main estates: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. Each estate had distinct privileges and responsibilities. The clergy, associated with the church, held spiritual authority. The nobility, comprising aristocrats and warriors, held political and military power.

The commoners, including peasants and merchants, were responsible for economic production. This hierarchical structure was prevalent in feudal societies, reinforcing social stratification based on birthright. The demise of the estate system coincided with the establishment of capitalism and the development of social structures that were more equitable throughout the transition from the mediaeval to the modern stage.

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