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Lecture 3

Social inequality Lecture 3.docx

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Augie Fleras

Lecture 3 Last week’s relevant points  Definition of social inequality: a kind of interplay between differential distribution and access  Notion that there are 4 major dimensions related to social inequality: neoliberal capitalism, obsession with markets and less government, more responsibility on individuals  Material, ideological, Social power (systemic and systematic power)  Power is everywhere and deeply embedded in the norms and structures of society  Reform, case study on occupy Wall street captures social inequality entirely  Looking at social inequality from a sociological point of view, taking patterns from society and connecting them to the main paradigms Class counts: social classes and class relations Identity based inequalities: class and status groups  Stratification: idea of the organization of society into different groups which are ranked hierarchally in comparison to each other o Any number of strata can be constructed depending on our criteria o Social class stratification  Social (or status) location: Rosabeth Canter; we need to acknowledge a sociological axiom that where you are located in terms of your status and where you stand in society (standpoint theory), that location will have a profound influence on how you relate to other and other relate to you and how these locations and position influence your opportunities and outcomes (patterns of social inequality in society)  Intersectionality: People are not simply gender, or racialized but people are multiply identified and understand the importance of how the identity markers are devalued or sometimes intersect and interact which intensify patterns of exclusion and domination  Identity based inequalities are focused on differential access, demographics in our society have more resources and some are denied; these denials work to exclude and marginalize a devalued status  Caste VS Class o Distinction is blurry o Caste: ascription, hereditary, predestined (occupation, marriage, socialization), religious, rigid o Class: achievement, merit, mobility/ choice, relatively open o Relatively high level among Canadians in terms of moving from differently broken up strata st  Value and relevance of class in the 21 century o Sinking of the Titanic has drawn our attention to themses associated with identity based inequalities and the class distinctions that existed on the Tictanic o Class mattered in terms of survival rates: chances of survival were much higher when you were in the upper classes o Being female carried a greater likelihood of being saved o Class intersects with gender and age to create exclusion and inclusion for survival rates on the Titanic for example  18 maritime disasters were looked at and the Titanic was the exception rather then the rule for the survival of women and children; children were usually the most common fatality and it was usually every man for himself  International air travel class arrangements o Data suggests that all class survival is equally slim  Class is seen as largely irrelevant and dismissed as nonexistent, only some interest is left in creating a class system (England)  Notions of class continue to circulate but there is little appetite for treating class as a framework and looking at class as shaping and influencing behavior  Why is there an aversion to taking class seriously and acknowledging that class is real? Does it have explanatory value of addressing patterns of valued resources are allocated and whether or not class matters?  Titanic: class provided you a ticket for survival or death  Canada was formed in a new society: we did not want classism, superior in any way  Hostility towards idea that class has a determining affect on people’s behaviour because we like to think of ourselves as individuals who are in control of our behaviour  Marxists are unacceptable for the ruling class who are then targeted in resistances in the sense of revolution, they control the media and superstructure and are reluctant to examine classism  Scholars like using class in a descriptive sense so it does not have any discriminatory value  We need a better system of classification that tends to reflect occupation as status and background and apply the prestige and power that flows from these occupations  Marx and s
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