How do slavery, caste, and class system of social stratification differ?

Class and caste systems are systems of social stratification, and status in a class system is dictated by one's wealth and income, whereas a caste is something one is born into. Class systems contain a certain degree of social mobility, unlike in caste systems, where one's place in society is fixed. Finally, with slavery, people are reduced to the status of property, entirely beholden to the will of another.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the modern western world, class is the primary form of social stratification. In a class system, social status is primarily shaped by one's wealth and income, which then dictates one's status as part of the lower, middle, or upper class. One of the key differences between a class system and a caste system, however, is that a class system is open to social mobility. There is the potential for individuals to ascend the class system, rising from a lower to a higher place in society. Likewise, the same applies in reverse: just as it is possible to advance in society, it is also possible to descend, falling from elite status into poverty.

A caste system, on the other hand, is a far more closed system, based entirely on social status and one's role in society. A caste is something one is born into, and in this sense, it defines one's place in society and even one's identity. Additionally, whereas in a class system, it is wealth and income that serve as the primary engines that determine...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1081 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on