Melvin Tumin: in “Some Principles of Stratification: a critical analysis”
Criticism of Functionalists:-
(i) Relative Importance of Roles –
- According to Davis and Moore, most highly rewarded positions are the most important
- But they fail to realize that in modern industrial society, there exists super specialization, Complex Dol. Therefore high level of interdependence.
- Hence there is no objective way of measuring importance of positions. It is simply a matter of subjectivity.
- Therefore unskilled workers, supervisors, Engineers, Managers all are equally indispensable.
(ii) Power –
- According to Tumin, the high rewarding positions of some is not due to their more functional importance. But due to more power they enjoy.
- This dimension has been neglected by the functionalists altogether.
(iii) Variable Capabilities –
- According to Davis and Moore, different individuals have variable capabilities. That is only a limited number of individuals have the talent to acquire skills required for functionally more important positions.
- Tumin questions such assumptions because.
a) There is no effective method for measuring talent and ability yet.
b) There is no proof that exceptional talent is required to occupy functionally important positions.
c) There exists a strong linkage between class and evaluation of talent. The people, who evaluate talent, represent the upper class. They are unable to evaluate the real talent associated with lower class.
Thus their socio-cultural disadvantage results in academic disadvantage
(iv) Economic Rewards and motivation –
- According to Davis and Moore, function of unequal rewards is to motivate talented people to compete for the rewards.
- Therefore ensure – Effect Role Allocation and Performance.
- But according to Tumin, social stratification often acts as a barrier to motivation and recruitment of talent Eg: In closed system like caste and Racial Stratification. The status of untouchables prevented even the most talented untouchable from becoming Brahmins. Till 960s – the status of black prevented many from assuming political office and highly rewarded occupations.
- It is not the money or material rewards that act as sole criterion to motivate people to give their best.
- Eg: Japan – Spirit of nationalism (due to shame of defeat in WWII) Europe – Protestant Ethics.
- Motivated people to perform effectively and efficiently.
(v) Economic Development and distributive justice.
- According to Davis and Moore, Social stratification – through effective role allocation and performance – maximizes economic development and this brings distributive justice.
- Tumin gives examples of many countries with stratification bringing economic development but no distributive justice Eg; Kuwait, Latin America, India. – Concentration of prosperity in the upper strata only.
- Therefore stratification is dysfunctional and divisive
Thus, while searching for positive attributes of stratification, functionalists have ignored the dysfunctional and non functional aspects of stratification.
Apart from Malvin Tumin, functionalists have been criticized on various other counts. According to T.B. Bottomore –
- Functional theory of stratification assumes that stratification is universal. But this is not true. (al inequalities may not develop in to stratification)
- The theory is more concerned with ranking of individuals (for effective role allocation and performance). But it does not explain existence of social groups like – status groups, classes, Elites.
It does not take into account the role of force in established and maintaining system of stratification.