Overlapping refers to social difference in one sphere overlapping across another sphere to create social division. It is demonstrated by the poor economic condition of socially depressed communities. In such a situation, the social and economic conditions of a community may be said to be overlapping each other. E.g. the Dalits in India who have suffered from a history of social discrimination are traditionally among the economically weaker sections of society.
Cross cutting refers to social differences that exist irrespective of other form of differences. Thus, developed and under developed sections are equally likely to exist among all communities in a society. These differences are easier to accommodate while overlapping differences sharpen social divisions and create potential grounds for conflict.