SOC 1100 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Upper Class, Social Inequality, Proletariat

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SOC1100 Katy Lemaire
November 2nd, 2015.
Dimensions of Social Inequality
Income: occupational wages and salaries, earnings from investments and government
transfer payments, important factor for increasing income was due to the dual income
of both parents working, Canada generally fails to provide proper funding for those who
are not well of.
Wealth: the total amount of money and other assets, minus outstanding debts, wealth
in the form of stocks bonds, real estate and other privately owned property is
distributed less evenly than income.
Power: In Canadian society, wealth is a large determinant of power for example, people
who are very wealthy usually influence the political agenda
Occupational Prestige: occupation is a major determinant of income, wealth and power,
it serves as a key source of social prestige as people commonly evaluate themselves and
other based on their job
Schooling: education is an important determinant of labour force participation,
occupation and income so it is highly valued in industrial societies.
Canadian Stratification: Merit and Caste
Ancestry: something that greatly affects Canadians social standings is the birth into a
specific family which we have no control over, ancestry determines our point of entry
into the system of social inequality. Being born into privilege or poverty sets the stage
for future schooling, occupation and income. The family, in short, transmits poverty,
power, prestige and possibilities.
Race and Ethnicity: important determinant of social position, it can be said that race and
ethnicity are clearly associated with differential placement in the socio-economic
hierarchy of Canada however, racism and discrimination only partly explain economic
Gender: women, generally, earn lower income, accumulate less wealth, enjoy lower
occupational prestige and are less likely to have advanced degrees in mathematics,
science and engineering.
Social Classes in Canada
The Upper Class: derives income mainly from inherited wealth, compromises Karl Marx’s
term of capitalism (those who own or control most of the nations productive poverty)
Many work in large corporations as CEO’s, usually attain the highest levels of education.
 “Upper Uppers” are described as high society and includes less than 1% of the
Canadian population, possess large, inherited wealth
 “Lower Uppers” considered the working rich who depend on earnings rather than
The Middle Class: 40-50% of population, encompasses far more racial and ethnic
“Upper Middles” often are highly educated, play small role in local politics
 “Average Middles” work in less prestigious organizations, income is sufficient to
provide a stable and secure standard of living
The Working Class: forms the core of the Marxist proletariat, income below the national
average with little to no inherited wealth, employment lacks satisfaction and continual
supervision exists.
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