Social Sciences: A Foundation Course Essay


How make you understand the constructs of societal stratification and societal mobility? Critically examine whether Hong Kong is a extremely graded capitalist society that provides small chance for societal mobility.


Inequality exists in the human societies since the earliest times. It forms regular forms within the society. The different degrees which can be ranked in order from top to bottom are called Social Stratification. The motion of people between these societal degrees is called Social mobility. In this article. we are traveling to discourse about the constructs of societal stratification and societal mobility and analyze whether Hong Kong provides small chance for societal mobility.

Under sociology term. societal inequalities are the skewed allotment of scarce resources and power in society that conveying about an unequal distribution of position or prestigiousness and frequently bring forth a feeling of high quality or lower status among different people. They are non lasting and non entirely separate from one another but connected. Social stratification is the division of a population into inequalities beds of strata based on different dimensions like wealth. gender. income. power. position. ethnicity. age. faith etc. These beds can be ranked from top to bottom.

It non merely reflects the differences of single. it is besides a structural feature of society and a system of belief warranting its being. It can prevail over coevalss and is hard to hold any alterations. It is cosmopolitan and variable. The life experiences and chances of the people are depending to a great extent on the strata they or their societal classs belong in society. The individuality for people turn uping in the same societal stratum is shared by societal stratification engenders. The easiness of societal mobility varies in different stratification system is the indicant for the openness of a society.

There are different systems of societal stratification in different societies. Below are some illustrations.

Some pre-industrial societies are stratified by age sets. Peoples move from one age set to the following 1 as they grow up. Different age sets are responsible for different undertakings.

It is based upon the power relation of domination ( maestro ) and subordination ( slaves ) which is maintained by the changeless usage of physical force and penalty for pre-industrial societies.

It is based on scribed positions for pre-industrial societies. Different civilizations have different significance. regulations and patterns of the caste system. It can make utmost rigidness and non-openness.

It is a complex socio-economic and political entity that supplied and sustained an orderly concatenation of meshing rights and duties throughout society. The aristocracy. clergy and parks are the chief groups. The societal mobility was really limited but there still have small motion from coevals to coevals.

The footings of category is different from each state but it is largely recognised the being of an upper category. a in-between category and a lower or working category. Class systems are unstable. big graduated table and impersonal. They are non established by political or spiritual governments but they operate through big graduated table and impersonal associations. It is an look of the difference of economic between classs of persons.

Different sociological theoretician has different reading of societal stratification. In the followerss. we will concentrate on three theories to explicate societal stratification.

Functionalist theory
This theory is based on the biological theoretical account of society. All functional functions in the society must be filled and the people who fill the function are trained and adept. An of import function is one on which other functions depend and the maps can non be performed satisfactorily by other functions. As merely few people can carry through the particular demands for the functions. excess wagess and position will be allocated to those who are willing to take the functions. The sums of wagess are determined by the grade of functional importance of the functions in the society.

Marxist View
Under Marx’s theory. all hitherto human societies are category societies. The societal stratification arises when an economic system is developed beyond mere subsistence under a private ownership of the agencies of production where the fruits of labors are non being distributed every bit. This sort of unequal distribution creates a property-owning category and a wage-earning category. The cardinal involvements such as net incomes of property-owning category are in struggle with the cardinal involvements of the propertyless category and the property-owning category control and work the propertyless category. It is a hierarchy of control. The wage-earning category may hold false and category consciousness that they overlook their cardinal involvements due to their immediate involvements of procuring a occupation and it is hard for them to lift up against the property-owning category. For illustration. Sun Hung Kei Properties ( property-owning category ) merely invests in constructing luxury residential belongings to gain net incomes and disregard the demands of Hong Kong people.

Weberian View
Weber argued that it requires an even greater degree of damaging societal control and bureaucratization than capitalist society. The certificates and marketable accomplishment of the people can find their market state of affairs and category place. He claimed that there are four chief categories which are upper category. white collar workers. petit middle class and manual working category. The four chief categories can be farther subdivided by utilizing the ownership of agencies of production. work state of affairs and market state of affairs. He besides introduced three independent factors which are category. position and power. Class is a person’s economic place in the society based on birth and single accomplishment. Status is the prestigiousness. societal honor or popularity of a individual while power is the ability of the individual to acquire their manner despite the opposition of others. He emphasized the difference between these three factors and treated these as offprint.

Social mobility refers to the motion of people up or down the societal stratification order in society. It may mention to categories. cultural groups or full states and may mensurate wellness position. literacy or instruction. The mobility can be either absolute or relative. Absolute mobility measures whether the life criterions have been increased while comparative mobility refers to how probably the kids are to travel from their parents’ topographic point in the income distribution. For the perpendicular mobility. it is the motion of people up or down from one socio-economic degree to another by altering occupations or matrimony. It is normally measured by occupational alteration.

Horizontal mobility refers to the motion from one place to another within the same societal degree which does non affect a major motion up or down the stratification order. For illustration. the bank courier alterations to work as bank Teller is the illustration of perpendicular mobility while the bank accountant alterations to work as the cost controls in transporting company with same salary bundle is horizontal mobility. Lateral mobility is a geographical motion between vicinities. towns or parts. It is frequently combined with perpendicular and/or horizontal mobility.

Social mobility can be changed in position between inter-generational or intra-generational. Intra-generational mobility refers to the alteration during the life-time of a individual and is influenced by the nature of pervious occupations. parent’s business. and household size. age at matrimony or sum of instruction. It occurs when people strive to alter their ain societal standing. Intergenerational mobility is normally measured by comparing the businesss of parents and their kids at similar point in their callings. A high degree of intergenerational mobility is considered applaudable. and the mark of greater equity. or equality of chance in the society. It is both virtue and non-merit based. Parents who can make societal capital for their kids tend to increase the societal mobility of their kids.

The income inequality in Hong Kong is acquiring earnestly even the disparity of wealth between states is acquiring closer under globalisation. Hong Kong still remains a metropolis of considerable societal mobility but it provides small chance for bottom category to travel upward due to the societal inequality. Due to the low production cost. more and more mills relocated from Hong Kong to Mainland China. Owners of many mills are more willing to pay the workers in China with lower salary bundle instead than pay to Hong Kong workers and many Hong Kong workers lose their occupation.

The proprietors merely concern about the net income but ignore the employment state of affairs of Hong Kong. The resources distribution for the instruction in Hong Kong is besides unfairness. The kid who comes from rich household has more opportunity to analyze in celebrated school. For some celebrated international school. parents need to purchase the unsecured bond of the school to increase the opportunity for application. However. non all parents can afford the expensive tuition fee. Merely the rich parents can increase the societal mobility of the kids. The inter-generational poorness is acquiring earnestly in Hong Kong.

During 1950s and 1960s. Hong Kong was non yet a extremely graded capitalist society. Many chances are available for upward societal mobility. However. after the rapid economic development. large concern corporations particularly for the existent estate corporations. go the property-owning category and command the economic system in Hong Kong. They merely concern about their net income and cut down Hong Kong’s mobility and increase its societal inequality. It squeezes out a life infinite for little and moderate-sized endeavors and little bargainers and makes 80s people troubles to construct up their ain concern and move to the upper category. Hong Kong still has societal mobility particularly for the center and upper category but less chance for the bottom category to travel upward the societal stratification ladder in Hong Kong.


Book mentions:
( 2011 ) Law and enforce security Mgt – “Sociology” . Hong Kong Open University Unit 13. page 9-35 Susan and Peter Calvert ( 1992 ) Sociology Today. Harvester Wheatsheaf. Chapter 3 Social: Stratification I: Class. Wealth and Poverty. Pages 62-65. and Chapter 4 Social Stratification II: Gender. Race and Ethnicity. Pages 69-89 Broom. Leonard ( 1981 ) Sociology A text with Adapted Readings 7th edn. Harper & A ; Row. Chapter 11: The Class. Pages 289-309 Encyclopedia of Sociology. 2nd edn Macmillan Gale Group. 2000. Page 2711.


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