Lecture 1-Historical Variations of Inequality

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11 Oct 2010
Lecture 1 Historical Variations of Inequality
-History matters and we matter because men make history.
-We encounter history as we are born and we cannot control it because we are created in it.
-History is the result of decisions that people made before, therefore social inequality is the result of
history and the result of the decisions that people made before us.
-Slavery is a social system.
-Ideal types
!Simplication of a historical phenomenon used for the purpose learning, problem solving and
!It is an analytical tool and a logical construct
!It is simplications so we can better understand phenomenon's (example) democracy
-Limiting must be systematic and enduring.
(Example) If I go to class, and I am not welcome because I am wearing an orange shirt is not an example
of social inequality. Although when applying to university, and the qualifications is good grades and must
not wear orange and it becomes systematic and applied to everyone then it can become a case of social
-It must strategic (implemented).
-The two forms of inequality can be looked at as outcomes:
!Distributive outcomes: accumulation of wealth, opportunities
!Relational outcomes: areas of social conduct (exclusion from value areas of social conduct). Such as
being excluded from a certain social club, business organization, political party….
-Gender, ethnicity on its own would not a limitation, although we create these significant differences
between people. Therefore there is nothing natural about it, and it is a social construction.
Economic Properties of slavery:
! When an individual in the eyes of the law and of other people is the possession of another person.
(Example) When an individual is owned by another. The purpose of this is for economic production.
!Interpersonal relations become a set of relations between an owner and their property. (Example) The
relationships between people become property relationships. Therefore people could treat their slaves like
property and sell them whenever they wanted and do whatever they wanted to them.
!Slaves aren't people; they were property and had no rights.
Legal properties of slavery:
!Legally slaves were prevented from owning property, and writing a will, prohibited from finding their
own employment, they had no legal right to learn to read or write, and could not legally be brought into
court for civil matters (could not even be a witness). The only way they could go to slave is if they were
testifying against another slave.
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