Social stratification is a form of inequality that occurs due to the inherent differences between human beings and can be determined by race, gender, age, and economic capacity among other distinguishing features. The differentiation is done to mark one group as superior over another which leads to social classes arranged as hierarchies.
According to Marxist theory, social stratification is created by the differing economic capacities among people and their relationships to the means or the factors of production. In a society, two distinct classes can be created which feature those who own the factors or means of production and those who sell their labor in the production chain to those who own the means. This basically creates the employer-employee relation in most societies. Apart from these two distinct groups Marx also recognized two other groups that don’t belong to either but are somehow related to the two large groups:
- The petite bourgeoisie - those who own some of the means of productions but their profit earning power is not enough to earn them a position among the bourgeoisie.
- The underclass - includes those who have no social status such as beggars and the homeless.