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Lecture 12

SOCA01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Dollarama, Conflict Theories, C. Wright Mills

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Sheldon Ungar

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Sociology Lecture 12
Hebert Gans
- In this article he is utilizing functionalist theory
- Poverty form some sort of function… that why it still persists and doesn’t go
- Poverty has to be functional or it will seize to exist
- Functionalists would say, there are obvious or hidden reasons
- In what ways is poverty functional for the rest of society (that aren’t in
- Fist 4 are more economic and the last 9 are more political and social
The 13 Uses of Poverty
1. The existence of poverty ensures that society’s dirty work will be done
- People who are picking up garbage
- Includes jobs that don’t pay a lot
2. Because the poor are required to work at low wages, they subsidize a variety
of economic activities that benefit the affluent
- Cab drivers
3. Poverty creates jobs for a number of occupations and professions that serve
or service the poor, or protect the reset of society from them
- Police Officers
4. The poor buy goods other do not want and thus prolong the economic
usefulness of such goods
- For example goods start at Loblaw’s and then get kicked down to
dollarama etc.
5. The poor can be identified and punished as alleged or real deviants in order
to uphold the legitimacy of conventional norms
- Is really Gan saying that by identifying poor people and putting these
labels on them, such as lazy, it bring all of us (people not in poverty)
because we identify ourselves as the other
6. The poor offer a vicarious participation to the rest of the population in the
uninhibited sexual, alcoholic and narcotic behavior in which they are alleged
to participate
- In a way we get to live vicariously through them
7. The poor also serve a direct cultural function when culture created by or for
them is adopted by the more affluent
- For example, culture music such as hip hop, country, blues
8. Poverty helps to guarantee the status of those who are not poor
- Issues of stratification and status hierarchy
- In society the poor function as a reliable and relatively permanent
measuring rod for status comparison
9. The poor also aid the upward mobility of groups just above them in the class
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