The word "differentiation" comes from the Latin root, which means "difference." Social differentiation is the division of society into groups or levels that occupy different social positions.
It is believed that social stratification is possible in any society, and even in the very first tribes there were groups that were formed according to gender and age. Different age groups were given corresponding responsibilities and privileges. In subsequent stages of human development, differentiation became more complicated and gradually became more and more obvious.
There are political, economic and professional levels. Political differentiation consists in dividing society into managers and subordinates. Economic division is reflected in the unevenness of incomes and living standards, in the existence of the rich and the poor. Professional differentiation includes the allocation of groups by type of activity and occupation, some professions are defined as more prestigious.
Differentiation means not just division into any groups, but also the definition of inequality in terms of position in society, prestige and the presence of a certain influence.
There are points of view on the possibility of eliminating these differences in society. Marxist teaching proceeds from the premise that differentiation must be eliminated initially, since this is a manifestation of injustice. To resolve this issue, the supporters of this doctrine propose to remake the economic system, to liquidate private property. In other concepts, differentiation is regarded as an insurmountable evil, as an inevitable affliction.
Some researchers believe that social differences can be regarded as a positive social phenomenon that makes people strive for something and improve, improving social relations. Social homogeneity can lead a society to ruin. Some scholars note that in developed countries there is a decrease in differences between classes, an increase in the middle stratum of the population, and a decrease in groups that belong to the extreme poles.