Social stratification refers to the divisions or hierarchy of layers in society with regard to people’s access to economic and other ‘goods’. An individual’s standing in society is contingent on historical legacies and contemporary conditions. On this basis, ranking, caste, class, ethnicity and other distinctions are forms of social organisation used consciously or inadvertently in the share of societal resources through social networks. In this set of study units we first examine divisions in pre-modern society in terms of ranking, the distinction between tribespeople, peasants, rulers, patron-client relations, and caste. In the second part, we examine the modern society in terms of citizens’ relationship with the state, class based on socio-economic conditions and different political systems. In the third part we explore ideas and practices of race and ethnicity as a way of life and the extent to which such notions gives rise to social divisions and reach to national wealth. The objectives for the student here is to understand the processes of social inequality and stratification, in historical and contemporary contexts. The textbook and readings for this course steer students to view categories of class, race and ethnicity as socially constructed experience and to probe the extent to which these may be maintained. At the end of this section, students should be able to cite examples and explain with illustrations of various forms of social inequality in terms of class and other divisions.
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every January