Social stratification is a concept that has been widely studied in sociology. It refers to the division of society into different social classes based on factors such as wealth, occupation, education, and power. Many sociologists consider social stratification to be a fundamental sociological theory that helps us understand the structure and dynamics of societies.

The Basics of Social Stratification

Social stratification is a complex phenomenon that affects every aspect of our lives. It determines our opportunities, privileges, and social mobility. In most societies, there are distinct layers or strata that individuals occupy based on their social standing.

Types of Social Stratification

There are various types of social stratification systems found across different societies. The most common forms include:

The Functionalist Perspective

The functionalist perspective views social stratification as a necessary feature of society. According to this theory, inequality exists because it serves important functions in maintaining social order. Functionalists argue that social positions must be differentiated and rewarded differently to motivate individuals to perform diverse roles for the benefit of society as a whole.

The Conflict Perspective

On the other hand, the conflict perspective sees social stratification as a result of power struggles between different groups in society. According to this theory, inequality is not necessary but is rather imposed by those in power to maintain their dominance. Conflict theorists highlight the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities as a cause of social inequalities.

Implications of Social Stratification

Social stratification has significant implications for individuals and societies:


In conclusion, social stratification is undeniably a sociological theory that plays a crucial role in understanding the structure of societies. Whether viewed from a functionalist or conflict perspective, it helps explain the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities among individuals. By studying social stratification, sociologists can gain insights into the dynamics of societies and work towards creating more equitable systems.