Thursday, September 12, 2013
1. Brief overview of main themes of course
2. Review syllabus
3. To do next week
What is social? Society and interactions in society, class system, family structures, gender, social
Inequality? Double standards, treating people differently, all societies are unequal. Inequality does
not simply refer to differences among individuals but rather reflects differences that matter,
differences that result in unfairness and disadvantage for some and privilege for others.
Structures of inequality
Are patterns of advantage and disadvantage that are durable but penetrable. Durable means that it
stays for a long time and penetrable means it can pass through generations.
This means way of doing things, patterns of advantages and disadvantages, its durable and
Generally refers to relatively long lasting patterned relationships among the elements of society. In
general however, there are two dominant views of social structures
1. Structural Functionalism: it tends to emphasize the degree to which individuals conform to the
values and norms established in the social structure and the degree to which society is based on
consensus. It also de- emphasizes the possibility of conflict in society or the possibility that
individual choices are constrained by the forces of social structures
2) Critical Theory
Assumes that social relations are the essential elements of social structures
Assumes that social relations are characterized more by conflict than by consensus. The views of
social structures and power fall more in line with critical approaches to social inequality than with
those found in stratification or structural functionalist approaches.
Social inequality- on the test
“Relatively long lasting differences among individuals or groups of people that have implications
for individual lives, especially for the rights or opportunities they exercise and the rewards and
privileges they enjoy” p7 from Grabb 2007.
People are not poor because they are lazy or because they lack motivation or ambitions. They are
poor because opportunities are distributed differently in society on the basis of things such as
class, gender, age, ethnicity, and race.
For example, compared to people from the middle and upper classes, people who are part of the
working class don’t have the same educational opportunities and tend to have worse health.
Women and members of racial and ethnic minority groups tend to work inn bad jobs while good
jobs are reserved for men and members of the privileged racial and ethnic groups. What fact about inequality? Continual discrimination among sexuality, sexuality becomes a side of
What % of parliament are women? 25%
It is also about how society encourages certain things
Of all the Canadian population 16 % visibl