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Sociology 15.11.12.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Ivanka Knezevic

Sociology Class and Stratification 15/11/12 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, ethnic, racial etc. inequality and socio economic (class/status) inequality - Socio-economic inequality s a relatively stable patter (hierarchy) of socially sanctioned, economic inequality - Inequality exists in all known societies, socio-economic inequality exists in nearly all known societies (hunting/gathering societies: gender and age inequality, but no economic inequality) Two Theoretical approaches to socio- economic inequality - Socio-economic inequality van be described and analyzed in two ways: - Distributional: the hierarchical arrangement of individuals based upon wealth, power, and prestige - Socio-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: socio-economic inequality Is a relationship between classes, groups, who differ in their access to means of production - Differences and/or antagonism in class interest - Normality of class conflict - Question: are there classes in Canada? Emergence and maintenance of socio-economic inequality - Emergence of inequality may be due to chance and to apparently insignificant differences between individuals/groups - Once inequality emerges, the privileged develop a system of social control (socialization and coercion) to maintain it - Some societies resist establishment of inequality (e.g. the 20thc! Kung; the 18 century th Iroquois) Meritocracy and social mobility - Meritocracy: a social syste, 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 midd
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