The issue of ethnicity and stratification is of importance in Canadian society because it addresses the relationship between ethnic and racial stratification. Since Canada is so culturally diverse, it is important to know what motivates various ethnic groups to strive for success and how social stratification plays a significant role in this process. In Canada, the opportunity for training and furthering ones level of education is promising for individuals of all ethnicities.
Providing there is some form of stratification system within society, it is likely that individuals will view this inequality as a motivational factor to undergo sacrifices and receive additional training for these jobs. This will facilitate individuals in these groups to achieve higher strata in society and be deemed successful. In this essay, it shall be argued that social stratification is necessary in order to motivate ethnically diverse groups in Canada to train for more important jobs.
For the purpose of this essay the term social stratification refers to the way in which society is organized in layers or strata. There are three theories of stratification including, the functional theory of stratification, conflict theory and stratification and social interactionism and stratification. All three theories can relate to relationship between ethnicity and stratification in several ways. The theory that applies most to ethnicity and stratification is the functional theory of stratification.
This theory argues three factors, the first is that some jobs are more important than others are, second, people must make sacrifices to train for important jobs and third inequality is required to motivate people to undergo sacrifices to train for these important jobs (Brym, 2010). There are various ethnic groups that reside in Canada. Ethnic groups are comprised of people whose perceived cultural markers are deemed socially significant, these groups differ from one another in terms of language, religion, customs, values, ancestors, and the like.
This essay will illustrate how social stratification is necessary in Canadian societies to motivate those of ethnically diverse groups to become successful and attain higher strata. The first part of this essay will discuss the growing ethnic diversity in Canadian society. The second part, will discuss the functional theory of stratification, with respect to the various ethnic groups in Canadian society. The essay will then go on to discuss the opposing view on social stratification, conflict theory.
The final section of this paper will counter the Marxist position on social stratification and argue that it is necessary in order to motivate ethnically diverse groups in Canada to train for more important jobs and that it is beneficial to society. Ethnic Diversity in Canada Over the past 100 years, more than 13 million immigrants have made their way to Canada making it one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries (Stats Canada). The majority of immigrants came from Europe during the first half of the twentieth century.
Later on, non-Europeans started arriving in larger numbers as economic immigrants or refugees, or as family members of previous immigrants (Stats Canada). By the year 1970, half of all immigrants were coming from Caribbean nations, Asia and South America. In the 1980s, a growing number were arriving from Africa. Canada’s visible minority population is growing much faster than its total population: This is due largely to increased immigration from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America and the Middle East.
In the year 2001, about 70% of the visible minority population was born outside Canada (Stats Canada). As a result of the growing diversity In Canada, it is apparent that there will also be a high prevalence of these ethnic groups entering the workplace. In order to do so, immigrants may have to undergo additional training and/or complete a certain degree of Canadian education to comply with the requirements for certain jobs.
This is an obstacle that many immigrants are faced when arriving to Canada and having to adapt to a new social structure (Stats Canada). The Functional Theory of Stratification Social stratification refers to a system with conventional rules behind the ranking of individuals and groups, which theories of social stratification are meant to uncover and understand. The existence of a system of social stratification also implies some form of validity of the ranking of people and the unequal distribution of valued goods, services, and prestige (Kerbo, 2006).
The functional theory of stratification introduced by Davis and Moore attempts to explain the necessity of inequality in societies with a complex division of labor. The Davis-Moore theory declares that if the more important, highly skilled, and physically and psychologically demanding positions in a complex division of labor are to be adequately filled both from the standpoint of numbers and of minimally efficient performance, then there must be some unequal rewards favoring these positions over others (Wong, 2006).
This theory generates three assumptions: the first is that some jobs are more important than others are, second, people must make sacrifices to train for important jobs and third inequality is required to motivate people to undergo sacrifices to train for these important jobs (Brym, 2010). The first assumption, which states: some jobs are more important than others are (Brym, 2010). This means that certain positions in any society are more functionally important than others and require special skills for their performance.
The judgment as to the relative skills required by the population involves a prior judgment made by the culturally shaped pre-existing rating system in society (Tumin, 1953). A generalized theory of social stratification must recognize that the prevailing system of incentives and rewards is only one of the whole range of possible systems of motivation, which, are capable of working in human society (Tumin, 1953). With respect to ethnically diverse groups, immigrants would adopt this pre-existing system in Canadian society along with their own social structure to work towards these jobs that are characterized as “more important”.
The second assumption, examines the notion that people must make sacrifices to train for important jobs (Brym, 2010). This requires the conversion of talents into skills, which involves a training period during which sacrifices of one kind or another are made by those undergoing the training (Tumin, 1953). The promise of education, opportunity and a fresh start often means major sacrifices for families immigrating to Canada. Locally, dozens of immigrants are underemployed, working below their education and skill levels, as a result of language barriers and onerous industry regulations (Cosgrove, 2011).
The sacrifices made by immigrants are done with the conception that they will achieve long-term success. The final assumption, inequality is required to motivate people to undergo sacrifices to train for these important jobs. In order to induce the talented per-sons to undergo these sacrifices and acquire the training, their future positions must carry an incentive that will motivate them to seek access to the scarce and desired rewards that society has to offer. The term intrinsic work satisfaction is used to describe the extent of ones motivation and how it can evoke self-interest.
It is the skilled jobs that are likely to retain most of the quality of “intrinsic job satisfaction” (Tumin, 1953). According to Davis and Moore, unequal rewards are necessary to attract individuals into the more important and skilled positions (Wong, 2006). This theory relates back to the notion that individuals who have recently immigrated to Canada have a desire to become educated and obtain the necessary certification required to acquire higher paying jobs and attain a higher class level in society.
That being said, the 13 million immigrants who have made their way to Canada, who have a sense of class-consciousness, would be increasingly motivated to undergo the necessary sacrifices to train for more important jobs. Opposing Views on Ethnicity and Stratification The conflict theory of social stratification holds that stratification exists because it benefits individuals and groups who have the power to dominate and exploit others. Marx contended that the capitalist drive to realize surplus value is the foundation of modern class struggle (Cosgrove, 2011)
This theory indicates that the modern class struggle will benefit those who have the power to dominate others (Cosgrove, 2011). According to Marx, a person’s class is determined by the source of his or her income, or by a person’s relationship to the means of production or the bourgeoisie. This means that if a person has no ownership to the means of production, they are not in a position to earn profits, event though they may be apart of the working class, this is also know as the proletariat. In Marxist view it is the source of income that distinguishes class not the amount of income (Brym, 2010).
In relation to ethnicity, those who already live in Canada and who have been highly educated would be in a position to dominate those who do not have the same level of education. This would include various ethnicities that have recently immigrated to Canada to seek promising opportunities. According to the Marx’s theory, immigrants who have come to Canada and who must work to train for higher paying jobs or be put in a position to earn profits are apart of the working class or the proletariat. This is regardless of the amount of money they accrue, since it is the source of income that distinguishes classes in the Marx’s view.
This is an opposing view to the functionalist theory of stratification that states, stratification is necessary because the prospect of high rewards motivates people to undergo sacrifices needed to get a higher education (Brym, 2010). The Marx’s view, on the other hand, does not explain the reasons that social stratification is necessary in order to motivate ethnically diverse groups in Canada to train for more important jobs. Hence, the functional theory of social stratification is more relevant and can explain the notion that inequality is necessary and a motivational factory for ethnic groups to strive for higher paying jobs.
Social Stratification and Ethnicity The existence of a system of social stratification also implies some form of validity of the ranking of people and the unequal distribution of valued goods, services, and prestige. This belief system is used to justify the inequality and unequal ranking (Kerbo, 2006). The functionalist theory of social inequality holds that stratification exists because it is beneficial for society (Cosgrove, 2011). Society must concern itself with individual motivation because the duties associated with the various statuses are not all equally pleasant (Cosgrove, 2011).
It is very important for individuals of ethnic backgrounds be able to view this system of social stratification and use this as a motivational factor for self-improvement. This includes, striving for a higher level of education and training, which will give them a higher position in society. Conclusion It is clearly evident that the functional theory of stratification is the theory that is best suited to explain the inequality and motivational factors of ethnically diverse groups in Canada.
It is also evident that ethnic groups use this stratification system within society as a motivational factor to undergo sacrifices and receive additional training for better jobs. This will facilitate individuals in these groups to achieve higher strata in society and be deemed successful. This achievement is the ultimate goal of ethnically diverse groups in Canadian society, therefore it can be said that social stratification is necessary in order to motivate ethnically diverse groups in Canada to train for more important jobs, earn a higher income and be able to be classified in a higher strata in society.