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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 Notes.docx

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Ivanka Knezevic

SOCA01 – Intro to Sociology 1 November 15, 2012 What’s in a name?  Social Inequality: inequality in the distribution of societal values (wealth, power, and prestige), caused by any ascribed or achieved characteristics  Includes gender, ethic, racial, etc. inequality and social-economic (class/status) inequality  Social-economic inequality is a relatively stable pattern (hierarchy) of socially sanctioned, economic inequality  Inequality exists in all known societies, social-economic inequality exists in nearly all known societies (hunting/gathering societies: gender and age inequality, but no economic inequality) Two Theoretical Approaches to Social-Economic Inequality  Social economic inequality can be described and analyzed in two ways: 1. Distributional: the hierarchical arrangement of individuals based upon wealth, power and prestige - Social economic status (SES) is an individual’s position in this hierarchy - SES indicators: property, income, education, occupation, occupational prestige, political participation, political power, consumption patterns, etc. - Stratum is a category of people with similar amounts of wealth, power and prestige - Assumed value consensus, therefore exceptionality of conflict 2. Relational: social-economic inequality is a relationship between classes, groups who differ in their access to means of production - Differences and/or antagonism in class interests - Normality of class conflict - Question: are there classes in Canada? Emergence and Maintenance of Social-economic Inequality  Emergence of inequality may be due to chance and to apparently insignificant differences between individuals/groups  Once inequality emerges, the privilege developed a system of social control (socialisation and coercion) to maintain it  Some societies resist establishment (e.g. the 20 Cf. Kung: the 18 century Iroquois) Meritocracy and Social Mobility  Meritocracy: social system wherein status is achieved by merit (ability and effort)  It assumes equality of opportunity and perfect social mobility  Vertical social mobility is a movement of individuals to different positions in social hierarchy (or: to different classes)  Intergenerational and Intragenerational mobility  Upward and downward mobility  Canadian middle class has been experiencing si
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