Chapter 5: Social stratification and economy: class, power and status factors in economic actions and processes
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The distribution and allocation of resources - the core of any economic system - is inextricably tied to the distribution of power in society. Economic processes cannot therefore be understood without simultaneously understanding systems of stratification. In this chapter we provide a brief introduction to the symbiotic relationship between markets and stratification systems. The first section describes the attainment process. We discuss how sociology and economics have looked at this question over time each through its own highly distinctive lens, and how the two approaches have begun increasingly to align their focus to gain shared insight and to influence each other. In the second section we highlight how the national state creates and reinforces markets and patterns of stratification, such as poverty, inequality, and mobility. We review the concept of ‘welfare regime’ as a potentially productive means for advancing the study of markets and stratification.

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