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Introduction to Sociology 2e

Key Terms

Introduction to Sociology 2eKey Terms

caste system
a system in which people are born into a social standing that they will retain their entire lives
a group who shares a common social status based on factors like wealth, income, education, and occupation
class system
social standing based on social factors and individual accomplishments
class traits
the typical behaviors, customs, and norms that define each class (also called class markers)
conspicuous consumption
the act of buying and using products to make a statement about social standing
Davis-Moore thesis
a thesis that argues some social stratification is a social necessity
downward mobility
a lowering of one’s social class
endogamous marriages
unions of people within the same social category
exogamous unions
unions of spouses from different social categories
global stratification
a comparison of the wealth, economic stability, status, and power of countries as a whole
the money a person earns from work or investments
intergenerational mobility
a difference in social class between different generations of a family
intragenerational mobility
a difference in social class between different members of the same generation
an ideal system in which personal effort—or merit—determines social standing
a law stating that all property passes to the firstborn son
social mobility
the ability to change positions within a social stratification system
social stratification
a socioeconomic system that divides society’s members into categories ranking from high to low, based on things like wealth, power, and prestige
standard of living
the level of wealth available to acquire material goods and comforts to maintain a particular socioeconomic lifestyle
status consistency
the consistency, or lack thereof, of an individual’s rank across social categories like income, education, and occupation
structural mobility
a societal change that enables a whole group of people to move up or down the class ladder
upward mobility
an increase—or upward shift—in social class
the value of money and assets a person has from, for example, inheritance
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