Why are societies stratified? One answer consistent with structural functional paradigm is that social inequality plays a vital part in the operation of society. This argument was put forth by Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moor in 1945. The assertion is that social stratification has beneficial consequences for the operation of a society.

That could be one explanation for the fact that some form of social stratification has been found everywhere.

Davis and Moore approach (1945) explain it like this:

  • Some positions are functionally more important.
  • Some roles can only be taken by certain individuals.
  • High skills to be paid higher rewards.
  • They have to be provided higher status.
  • Stratification ensures that the most appropriate people are selected for high reward jobs. Meritocracy
  • System is functional. To alter it is misguided.


  • Why some positions are considered as functionally more important than others?
  • Who decides what is important?
  • Does meritocracy work? Does everybody get the same opportunities? Inequality is in-built in stratification.

(Private schools. Status to be bought) everybody does not achieve status (ascribed)

The wealthier a person becomes the lesser he/she needs to render any service, to society. Davis-Moore approach lacks empirical basis.

Functionalist view of social class is little more than an ideological justification of inequality in society.

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