Chapter

Understratification

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/9780199737147.003.0015
Understratification

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Any form of inequality is a vertical distance, and any fluctuation of vertical distance is a movement of vertical time. An increase of inequality is overstratification, and a decrease is understratification and just as too much inequality causes conflict, so does too little. Conflict is a direct function of understratification. Inequality decreases whenever a superior falls or an inferior rises. Superiors fall because of misfortunes or victimizations or their own incompetence or misconduct, and inferiors rise when for any reason their conditions of life improve or they challenge their superiors in any way. The fall of a superior is undersuperiority, and the rise of an inferior is underinferiority. The greater and faster any such decrease of inequality, the more conflict it causes.

Keywords: inequality; vertical distance; vertical time; overstratification; understratification; conflict; undersuperiority

Chapter.  6982 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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