Class Notes (839,584)
Canada (511,413)
Sociology (2,434)
SOCA01H3 (591)
Lecture 9

SOCA01 Lecture 9.docx

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Ivanka Knezevic

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“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 is a relatively stable pattern (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 can be described and analyzed in two ways: 1. Distributional: the hierarchical arrangement of individuals based upon wealth, power and prestige (functionalism) - 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. (Marxist) - Differences and/or antagonism in class interests. - Normality of class conflict. - Question: Are there classes in Canada? (yes, but it’s an open-class) 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 20 century. th !Kung; the 18 century Iroquois). Meritocracy and social mobility - Meritocracy: a 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 significant downward mobility i
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