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SOC103- Chapter 7- Social Inequality.docx

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SOC 103
Tonya Davidson

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SOC103- Chapter 7- Social Inequality Module 7.1 What is Social Stratification?  Social stratification- society’s hierarchical ranking of people into social class  Social class-group of individuals sharing a common position in a social hierarchical, based on both birth and achievement  Social status- individuals position within a class structure  Based on a few concepts 1. All societies redistribute materials and social rewards to individuals  Meritocracy- system of rewards based on personal attributes and demonstrated abilities 2. Since social stratification transcends any single generation—system is relatively stable over time  Social mobility- movement between social classes  Intergenerational mobility- status as defined by parents social class  Intragenerational mobility- status movement throughout ones life 3. Present in all known human societies—varies in how it expresses itself  E.g. drug dealer and surgeon may make the same amount in income—drug dealer would be considered lower class 4. Societies recognize difference in wealth and prestige, the criteria by which they are granted are nonetheless considered fair and just the majority of the population— even lower class What is social inequality?  Results from collective decisions about that is important in evaluating a person or a group  Inequality in forms—results from a system that ranks people from high to low on such subjective criteria as gender and minority status  Subjective no material influence on whether a person can actually perform a particular job  Subjective assessment of peoples worth are supported not by individual capability but by the dominant ideology Classism  Classism-An ideology that suggests the peoples relative worth is at partially determined by their social and economic status  Idea that everyone has an equal chance of getting ahead if they just work hard o “American dream”  Classist thinking—lead people to reject policies that would help the disadvantage overcome the structural factor limit their opportunities to improve their chances of upward mobility Closed and open systems  Closed systems- a social system in which status is based on ascribe attributes at birth o Caste systems-an ascribe system of hereditary class designation o Central components- who they are and determines virtually everything in their lives o Membership n a caste is hereditary even when a person of low caste becomes wealthy or a high-caste person loses all of their money there caste stays the same o Reincarnation- the belief, associated with Eastern religions, that ones essence does not die and instead is reborn in another form o Deeply entrenched in Indian culture may take generations to disappear  Open systems- a social system in which status is based on achieved attributes o E.g. Canada’s class system o Class system- social stratification based on achieved status o Class structure- a society’s economic structure that categorizes groups of people based on their socio-economic status o Socio-economic status (SES)- social status as determined by family income, parents’ education level, parents’ occupations, and the family’s social standing within the community o Can be misleading—isolation may leave out a great deal Property and occupational Prestige: 2 components of equality  Property o Income- money received annually from all sources o Wealth- Net accumulated assets, including homes, land, stock 1 SOC103- Chapter 7- Social Inequality o Quintiles- a measure that divides population into 5 categories, each representing 20%  Occupational prestige o Occupational prestige- social value of a particular occupation Module 7.2 Sociological Approaches to Social Inequality Functionalism  Argue—all social practices and structures must perform some useful service to society o Conclude—if social stratification exits, it must serve a purpose in society  All societies have important jobs that need to be filled o Some require more education or special training then others  Attract most capable and skilled people into such important and demanding jobs—rewards must be high enough to compensate them for time and effort  Davis-Moore thesis- The theory that social stratification is functional for society because it ensures that key social position are held by the most capable people  Theory ignores the power of the social elite and the negative impact on the poor and the lower classes Conflict theory  Society that contains social classes is simple a manifestation of competition between those who have social power and those who don’t  Karl Marx- all of society life was influenced by how people interact during the process of economic production o Those that owed the production—the bourgeoisie o Those that provided the labour—the proletariat o Embodiment of class conflict—inevitable that a classes society could exist  Max Weber- agreed with Marx—capitalism led to class conflict o Suggested that Marx’s single-minded focus on economic production was overly simplistic  Failed to appreciate the multi-dimensional nature of social class, inequality, and role of cultural waves  At some level at least—unavoidable and necessary  Modern society was divided into economic classes and the ownership of property was important for gaining influence o Argued—there were other sources of influence: o Class  based on economic inequality—some people have more wealth than others o Status groups- a group of people who share similar social status, lifestyles, world views, occupations, and standing of living o Party organized attempt to achieve certain goals in a planned and logical manner  Power- the ability to make others do some thing they would not otherwise do  Status inconsistency- Occurs when an individual occupies several differently ranked statuses at the same time Symbolic interactionism  Less interested in trying to explain why stratification exists—looking at how people interpret and construct their responses to class inequality  How people use and respond to status symbols  Status symbols- material indicators that demonstrates a persons social and economic position  Conspicuous
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