Definition of Stratification and Mobility

Unit 1 Module 3 - Social Stratification & Social Mobility

Social Stratification

This refer to the classification or categorization of people into groups, with specific commonalities. Such groupings may include : economic status, prestige, culture, race, religion, age, gender or any other characteristic.

Social Stratification exists in every known human society. This classification system may be informed by the values of the society. Particularistic values, tend to create closed stratification systems. Whilst universal values create a more transient or open stratification system.


Social Mobility is the change in the social status of an individual. The term social , relates to any aspect of life affected by peer to peer relations and interactions. Mobility is indicative of movement. Thus the concept of social mobility addresses the issue of movement of an individual within the social stratification system.

In the Caribbean social stratification is unique, since individual members may hold multiple stations within the same social strata. What does this mean? Let take for example a young professional Afro-Caribbean woman. Most Caribbean territories are characterized by stratification structure that is rooted in a synthesized universalistic and particularistic value system.

Under the universalistic/meritocratic value system, this individual's rank may be different to her ranking under the particularistic/traditional value system. Further, the individual's placement in both instances can be mutually exclusive.