Influence of Stratification on People’s Lives

It is hard to disagree that humanity has always been divided into different groups based on various characteristics. If previously these groups were mostly tribes, with the development of society and the emergence of new distinctive qualities, people can now belong to several groups at once. The way a person behaves in society and interacts with others, as well as develops as an individual, is influenced by many factors, including their race, culture, gender, and class. Overall, it is possible to say that stratification plays a major role in the lives of people, and to explore it, interviews with two persons have been conducted and are summarized further.

The first interview was with a person named H. J. – an African American male who is in his thirties and belongs to the working class. According to H. J., his parents wanted to provide him with proper education, but it was too challenging for him to study and help his parents not to become poorer. Therefore, he decided not to go to the college partly because he had heard from other people that higher education was only for the ‘white persons.’ Additionally, since he is a male, his parents and other people had always told him about his higher responsibility and the necessity to be stronger and more masculine. Thus, stratification had a severe impact on the life of H. J., preventing him from achieving his dreams and defining his status in society.

As for some specific cultural elements of H. J., it is possible to say that they also have effects on his life. For example, African Americans are mostly the descendants of those people who were enslaved. Therefore, this component of the need to be less noticeable and dominant in society chases H. J. and does not allow him to become the master of his own life, making him a slave of stratification.

The second person to be interviewed was B. L. – an Asian American female, in her fifties, from the upper-middle class. B. L. shared that it had always been challenging for her to overcome the obstacles brought by her gender and race. While some people did not take her seriously, B.L.’s parents supported her desire to become a lawyer and helped her receive an education. Precisely their wealth allowed B. L. to gain proper status in the society, so stratification played both positive and negative roles in her life.

When talking about specific cultural components, it is possible to say that they also shape the path of B. L. For example, Asian Americans value the avoidance of shame, family recognition through achievement, and conformity to norms. These are some cultural characteristics that might have influenced B. L.’s desire to become a lawyer. It is in her culture to make her parents proud, that is why she wanted to stay in the upper-middle class and become accepted and respected as a female lawyer.

Further, it is possible to use sociological approaches, particularly the functional one, to examine the lives and life choices of B. L. and H. J. This approach is selected for this paper because it supports and promotes social stratification and can be applied to both persons’ lives (Semali, 2021). Overall, it is possible to say that, according to functionalists, it is the fault of H. J. that he cannot get to the upper classes because he does not put enough effort. Thus, if he is not very effective, he only deserves low-income positions. At the same time, B. L. had always strived to become educated and prove to other people that she could become a good lawyer, this is why she succeeded.

Finally, it is essential to mention the advantages and disadvantages of an interview as a research methodology. Firstly, the pro’s include the following factors: the interviewer can examine non-verbal communication, get interesting answers, respond to various reactions of the participants, and ask additional questions. However, the disadvantages include the fact that it is always challenging to address ethical considerations and be certain that the participants’ answers are sincere.


Semali, Ladislaus M. (2021). Sociological perspectives on sustainable development and poverty reduction in rural populations. IGI Global.

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