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How can social stratification be seen as positively functional for society

Functionalists have recognized social stratification as common feature of all societies. It is seen as a normal characteristic of society and assumed to be serving some positive function or need for society. Some of the tasks required by a society are more important than others. The tasks of administration and of governing the society are assumed to be very important. It is necessary for a society to provide structural arrangement to motivate its individual members to play the required roles. The society must motivate members to fill certain positions in society and to motivate them to perform the duties attached to the positions. If all the positions and tasks were equally easy to fil and perform and were all equally important to the survival of society and if all the members of a society were equal in their abilities and talents in relation to the required tasks, there would be no problem. A society must have some kinds of inducements or rewards available to encourage those with the most suitable abilities to fill the most important positions. These inducements usually take the form of high rewards, both of goods and prestige for the important jobs in society. They can also carry with them a not inconsiderable amount of power. The consequence is that the wealth, prestige, and power which society has provided for these positions make those who hold them into a privileged class. Functionalists like Davis and Moore explain why social stratification must exist in all societies and in any modern complex society. The division of labor produces inequality of reward because without these inequalities of reward, the continuity of the division could not be guaranteed. Social inequality is generated by and is functional for society. Not only does every society need it, but social inequality can also be seen to be empirically present in all known societies. Therefore, functionalists hold that social inequality is both universal and necessary in society.




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