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Lecture 10

SOCA01H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Bourgeoisie, Iqvia

Course Code
Francisco Villegas

of 6
Introduction to Sociology
Week 10; November 12th 2014
“Social stratification refers to the way in which society is organized in layers or
strata” (p. 186).
How do we develop a society of haves and have-nots?
Do we live in a meritocratic society?
Are the rags to riches discourse prevalent?
Work and wealth
“It is possible to be rich without working hard, because a person can inherit
People can work hard without becoming rich
Something about the structure of society causes inequality” (p. 186)
The Canadian context
Relative prosperity
o“Canadian families earned almost $79,000 [yearly] on average, which,
adjusting for inflation is more than two-and-a-half times what they earned
in the early 1950s” (p. 187)
However, this prosperity has not been shared equally and some
have not experienced it.
Measuring national economic incomes
oDivide the population into five equal groups according to income earned
oAdd up how much each quintile has earned
oAdd up how much money has been gained in total
oCalculate how much of total amount has been earned by each quintile
oAnalyze findings and examine patterns
“For 2008, the most recent year for which data are available, the
lowest quintile of families received 6.1percent of market income,
while the top quintile received 43.4%” (p. 189)
Top quintile earned more than bottom three quintiles
Top 20% earners gained more income than 60% of
population combined. (Think about it in relation to grades)
Top 20% earners gained nearly half of all national income
Income inequality –same old song
Little change has happened since 1951.
oThis can be read in two ways:
Less inequality than experienced in other places
Why hold ourselves to lower standards?
oWe have yet to achieve a more equitable society even in the face of clear
data displaying it
While the notion of the welfare state has been a Canadian staple it has not
provided a fair playground and it has seen significant erosion
oCutbacks on numerous social services including social housing, schooling,
health, etc.
oTaxes have not proven sufficient, particularly as not all taxes are
Why are people rich or poor?
Type of jobs
oGood jobs
Secure employment
Good wages
Precarious employment
oLow wages
oUnsafe environments
oLimited possibilities
Additional explanations
oIf at first you don’t succeed…
Years of dedication are necessary to become proficient at anything
However, there must also be necessary infrastructure in place
already to facilitate practice
Effort alone does not result in high income
oHuman capital: “the sum of useful skills and
knowledge that an individual possesses” (p. 191)
Training and schooling
“Jobs requiring advanced skills are
increasingly numerous in Canada.
Better-educated workers are more
skilled and productive in these jobs
because they have invested in
acquiring the skills essential to our
Is this always the case? We live in a
credentialist society that requires
proof of training, often through a
schooling institution. Need a degree
to be the assistants assistant
Social capital
“Refers to the networks or connections that individuals possess” (p. 192)
o“It’s all about who you know”
Not always, but it certainly helps
“Knowing the right people, and having strong links to them, helps
in finding opportunities and taking advantage of them” (p. 192)
Cultural capital
“The stock of knowledge, tastes, and habits that legitimate the maintenance of
status and power” (p. 192)
oKnowledge of the relative values of “high class” culture
Can include knowledge of the ballet, wines, cheeses, art, classical
music, etc.
Gaining capital
Social and cultural capital is often learned in informal social situations (family
gatherings, parties, etc.) and not in school
oHave you taken a class on which fork to use with your salad?
“What the concepts of social and cultural capital also have in
common is the idea that families higher in the social hierarchy
enjoy more capital of all types”
These types of capital carry important consequences in
people’s lives
Who gets the job interview etc.
Income does not mean wealth
Income as the measure of how much you make per year
Wealth as a measure of your relative economic worth that includes your
oMost wealthy people inherited their wealth and may not have high
o“Bottom 40 percent of families owns almost no assets. In fact, the bottom
20 percent owe more than they own” (p. 192)
Greatest increase in wealth in last twenty years is attributed to the
top 20% wealthiest individuals
Inequities shown in graph on pg. 183 would be greater if
they included “employer-sponsored pension plans, contents
of the home, collectibles and valuables, annuities, and
registered retirement income funds” (p. 183)
Wealth inequality increasing rapidly in Canada
o“Only a modest correlation exists between income and wealth. Some
wealthy people have low annual incomes and some people with high
annual incomes have little accumulated wealth. As such, annual income
may not be the best measure of a persons wellbeing” (p. 194)
Income and poverty
oHas increased considerably
Poverty lacks an agreed definition
oWhy does a definition matter?
“Most definitions tend to be narrow, focusing primarily on
income” (p. 194)
Agreement on ‘bare essentials depends on values and
judgments” (p. 194)