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SOCI 1002 w7.docx

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SOCI 1002
Kathleen Moss

SOCI 1002 E Foundations of Sociology Week 7: Class, Stratification and Work Income Inequality in Canada • Canada is one of the best places to live because of our economy. • Income inequality is increasing but different definitions why because poverty is hard to measure. • Income: economic gain from wages, salaries and ownership of property. • Wealth: includes property like buildings, land, farms, houses, factories, cars and other assets (investments, bank accounts, insurance). • Factors in economic success: o Degree of natural talent o Degree of effort o Level of education (importance of education stressed by human capital theory) o Social capital (networks or connections) o Cultural capital (skills and learning picked up through life) • Human capital: sum of useful skills and knowledge that an individual possesses (peers, school, training, jobs, university, family, education etc). • Low-income cutoff: if more than 70% of income is spent on food, shelter and clothing (varies by family and community size). Definition based on Statistics Canada in a way to measure poverty. • Absolute: focuses on essentials (figures all families and communities are the same). • Relative: defines poverty either narrowly in terms of economic measures (ex, income) or in terms of community standards (ex, environmental quality). • Debate of poverty: defined on basis of income or consumption. • Poverty: has different definitions based on measures and people’s opinions. Explanations of individual level and structural. • Politics: able to reshape distribution of income by legislations for businesses, welfare benefits, tax policies, failing to maintain/expand welfare. • Individual-level: focuses on attributes of people who are poor and see how these people differ (lack of motivation, lack of achievement etc). Evidence is not there. Who are the Poor? • 14% of the Canadian population (not randomly distributed). • 14% is highly concentrated in women, children, persons with disabilities and aboriginal people. • Structural explanations: stress social organization of society that contribute to poverty including the economy (life cycle), social policy (ex, minimum wage), tax collection/allocation and ideological perspectives (ex, discrimination in hiring). • Consequences of inequality: o Physical and mental health o Education o Crime and lack of safety Social Stratification • Social stratification: hierarchical arrangement of social groups based on their control over basic resources. Based on four basic principles: o Trait of society, not a reflection of individual differences o Carries over from generation to generation o Universal but variable (present in all societies around the world but may be organized differently by more and less power) It is a variable because it takes different shapes in different countries. o Involves beliefs as well as inequality • Ascription-based stratification system: allocation of rank depends on characteristics a person is born with (no influence over these). • Achievement-based stratification system: allocation of rank depends on a person’s accomplishments. • Caste system: pure ascription-based, occupations and marriage partners are assigned on basis of caste membership. • Class system: based on ownership and control of resources
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