What is the difference between stratification, hierarchy, and caste system? (note: caste system here does not refer to India)

To me,

Stratification is the act of designating people into different classes.

Hierarchy does not necessarily have to be ethnicity or birth related. I think it refers to all systems in which ranks exist, such as the military.

The caste system is controlled by their birth or ethnicity. It only refers to those that are now considered prejudiced or discriminatory.

Am I right?

  • 1
    It's hard to answer your question without more context. How are you thinking of using these words? What does "caste system" refer to here? Also, when it seems a question might be answered, in part or in full, by a commonly available reference such as a dictionary, it is expected that the author of the question will do some research beforehand and summarize the results.
    – herisson
    Aug 28, 2016 at 20:18
  • In this case, I think you should edit your question to add an example of a situation you would like to describe with one of these words, and dictionary definitions of each of these words. If you have any ideas already about possible differences, it would help to mention them, even if you're not sure if they're correct.
    – herisson
    Aug 28, 2016 at 20:20
  • @suməlic I looked them up on a dictionary, but they seem to be all the same. I was hoping to find differences that existed between these words, such as, say, the standard by which they classed, such as birth, ethnicity, etc. But thank you. I will edit it.
    – whitedevil
    Aug 28, 2016 at 20:23
  • 1
    Great! It really would help a lot if you just copy or summarize what the dictionary entries say, and explain why you are still confused. I'm sure that would help you get better answers and a better reception from the other users of this site :)
    – herisson
    Aug 28, 2016 at 20:26
  • Stratification seems to me not to fit with the other two, since it admits of so many uses outside of the social constructs you address; i.e., we would not speak of a hierarchy of sedimentary rocks. The entire phrase social stratification is necessary to enforce the distinction. Also, how can caste system not refer to the one still honored in India?
    – P. E. Dant
    Aug 28, 2016 at 22:23


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