Social Stratification research papers define the concept as a hierarchal system that society uses to rank and categorize people. In the United States there are four main elements that comprise social stratification: ancestry, gender, race and ethnicity, and religion. Based on these elements of stratification, the class system has developed in America. Class systems are based on individual achievement, and social mobility is the foundation of the class system. It is social stratification that helps us understand the complex dynamics between race, class and ethnicity.
Sociologists claim that social stratification is a natural consequence in every society. There are varying types of social stratification systems throughout the world. For example, the Caste system is one form of a social stratification and it is based on ascription, meaning that there is no social mobility within the society. Hindu social systems are based on the ascription and one’s place in society is determined by birth.
The sociological stratification in the United States is based largely upon economics and confines people in their pursuit of social mobility less and less. For example, families compared in the 1980’s and the 1990’s remained stagnant in mobility, except in the upper fifth percent as far as income level. These trends in American social mobility will affect the various levels of class, different genders, and the varied socioeconomic stratification categories differently. But what is determined is that the group that will feel the most negative aspects of these trends will be the elite classes. This is due to the increase in circulation mobility. Combined with constrained opportunities and increased circulation mobility, the elite classes have nowhere to go but down the socioeconomic ladder.