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Does the davis and moore thesis justify social stratification

Davis and Moore state: The most important positions are rewarded the most--the least important are rewarded the least. In general those positions convey the best reward, and have the highest rank which a have the greatest importance for the society and b require the greatest training or talent.

Rather it draws a high income because it is functionally important and the available personnel is for one reason or another scarce. Hence, every society, no matter how simple or complex, must differentiate persons in terms of both prestige and esteem, and must therefore possess a certain amount of institutionalized inequality.

High income, power, prestige of a particular position are due to functional importance or scarcity of trained personnel. Summary of the Davis-Moore Thesis: Social positions have varying degrees of functional importance. Talented and trained individuals are scarce because acquisition of training and skills requires people to be sufficiently motivated to pursue them.

Stratification, or unequal distribution of rewards ensures that the most talented and trained individuals will fulfill the social roles of greatest importance.

Why Is Social Stratification Universal?

Criticism of the Davis-Moore Thesis: The Nature of Social Mobility: Some rewards are not functionally determined at all, but rather must be understood within the context of wealth ownership and institution of inheritance.

Inept progeny of rich tycoons took over companies while intelligent children of workers went uneducated. Modern societies allocated their collective labor forces inefficiently, wasting talented but poor people in humble positions and suffering from the inept sons of the privileged in powerful positions.

To remedy this problem, Durkheim advocated using public schooling to sift and winnow children according to their does the davis and moore thesis justify social stratification abilities, educationally prepare them according to their potential--what later became known as tracking--and see that they ended up in jobs that paid accordingly.

Davis and Moore claimed that their theory was applicable to all forms of society. Critics of the Davis-Moore viewpoint argued that it did not make much sense in non-competitive societies--for example feudalism, where all positions are distributed not by merit but by birth.

And, more importantly what about those aspects of a class society that do not operate like merit systems? The distribution of positions cannot be understood merely by achievement but achievement itself is conditioned by ascription of status. Opportunities for achievement are not distributed equally. Class itself can be though of as implying a set of life chances and obstacles to social mobility. We must also consider the problem of deskilling and the control of workers see Braverman--the detailed division of labor.

  1. Which job would you choose?
  2. The more important positions must be filled by the more qualified people.
  3. According to conflict theory, stratification results from lack of opportunity and discrimination against the poor and people of color. To induce the people with the skills and knowledge to do the important, highly skilled jobs, society must promise them higher incomes or other rewards.
  4. The universality of stratification does not mean it is necessarily beneficial or inevitable.
  5. Conflict, not function, they stress, is the reason that we have social stratification.

Scarcity of talent is not an adequate explanation of stratification. There is in stratification systems artificial limits to the development of whatever potential skills there are in society. For example, wealth, education, professional associations, etc. The universality of stratification does not mean it is necessarily beneficial or inevitable. Just because stratification is universal does not mean it is a vital aspect or system need of society.

Stratification is not positively functionally for a society--it is dysfunctional. Tumin states see Levine, p.