Social stratification refers to a system in which there is a division of nations and layering of groups of people according to their poverty, prestige, and power. It ranks groups of people as stated by their relative privileges. There is social stratification in every society, with some having more inequality than others; thus, it is universal. In every community, groups struggle over the limited resources available, and those that gain power try to exercise control over those beneath. They become the elite group and try to drain whatever they can from those on the lower hierarchy level. This elite group uses resources at its disposal, such as social institutions, to remain in power.
However, maintaining social stratification is never easy; in unanticipated events such as the COVID-19, the social elite is forced to stay on alert. Huge currents like this pandemic threaten to destroy the system. Massive pandemics like COVID-19 tend to shift things since unresolved contradictions demand change and rearrangement of social stratification. COVID-19 affects the poor and the rich, and because the social elite cannot resolve the situation using their amassed resources, they are on the brink of losing everything. No matter how strong the stratification may look, there are always unresolved issues, and historical shifts can bring cataclysmic disruptions. As much as everyone’s welfare is at stake, no one knows the endpoint, and the social elite is trying to patch up a glaring inconsistency in their social dominance. However, there is a possibility that everyone can be swept into the unwelcomed net.
On the other hand, social class refers to a category of persons who are within the same bracket in terms of power, prestige, and poverty. The three components divide people into various levels, provide them with distinct opportunities in life, and give them distinct ways of viewing themselves and the world. However, sociologists think that there is no clear definition of social class since it lumps too many people together. There is more to social class than the relationship between means of production and income.
COVID-19 affected social class in different ways; however, the dominant effect of the pandemic was social mobility. Social mobility can be termed as the process of moving up or down to another social class. Types of social mobility include intergeneration, exchange, and structural social mobility. Structural mobility is the migration of many people up or down the social class levels as a result of a change in the components of society rather than one person’s action. Due to the pandemic, most people who lost their jobs, sources of income, or breadwinners in their families moved down the social class. However, since every pandemic comes with its opportunities, those who found new opportunities during this period probably moved up the social ladder.