Chapter

Overstratification

Donald Black

in Moral Time

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199737147
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199944002 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737147.003.0014
Overstratification

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Social stratification is the vertical dimension of social space. Commonly known as inequality, it includes any difference in social status in any relationship, whether a difference in wealth, power, or performance. Some societies have little or no inequality, while others (such as ancient civilizations) have a great deal. Vertical time is the dynamic dimension of vertical space. Vertical distances fluctuate in smaller and larger amounts, slowly and quickly. Life has its ups and downs, such as gains and losses of money, authority, or anything else that raises or lowers one person or group above or below another. Movements of vertical time also include various forms of good and bad fortune, such as inheritances, stock market crashes, accidents, diseases, and disasters. An increase in inequality is overstratification, and a decrease is understratification. Both cause conflict, and greater and faster movements cause more.

Keywords: social stratification; social space; inequality; vertical time; vertical space; vertical distances; overstratification; understratification; conflict

Chapter.  10382 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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