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Lecture

Chapter 8 - Brym

9 pages95 viewsFall 2009

Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCA01H3
Professor
Sheldon Ungar

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Chap. 8 Stratification
Patterns of social inequality:
1.You dont have to work hard to get rich, since you inherit it
2.Hard work doesnt make you rich
3.Structure of society causes inequality
Inequality has many interrelated dimensions including class, sex, race which spel the
difference between life and death. Ie/ Titanic
Economic inequality in Canada:
·Materialism is the attempt to satisfy needs by buying, it defines the modern society.
·Purchasing power of families increased due to economic productivity by
improvements of workers skills and production technologies.
·# of earners increased, women in labour force
·Quintile: share of income is used for determining income inequality in Canada.
·Since 1980s, growing evidence of widening income inequality in Western countries.
Explanations of Income Inequality:
·What kinds of work someone does based on their natural talents at activities widely
admired. Ie/ Hollywood stars who reveals unusual determination and hard work.
·Success at formal schooling is key to acquired economically valued skills.
·Human capital: useful knowledge and skills someone possesses.
Rates of success depend on human capital their family has accumulated.
Human Capital Theory:
·Stresses the increasing centrality of education as a factor affecting economic success/
· It is the investment in education and training.
·Social Capital: peoples network or connections.
More likely to succeed if they have strong bonds with others.
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Pay may vary depending on knowing the right person.
·Cultural Capital: Pierre Bourdieu in 1990 emphasizes the set of social skills people
have to influence others. Focus on taste and aesthetics---savoir faire
·For Canadians, education finds long-term employment, cultural and social capital
finds economic successes.
Income versus Wealth:
·Mix of opportunism, business acumen and family fortune are key determinants of
wealth.
· In Canada, the wealth inequality is widening favouring the wealthy.
·Only slight correlation between income and wealth.
Income and Poverty:
·Homelessness in one manifestation of poverty.
·Absolute definition focuses on bare essentials, that poop families has no resources to
support themselves. Ie/ food.
·Definition of essentials varies depending on social and economic context to where people
live. Ie/ indoor plumbing is an essential for Canadians.
·Deprivation occurs when a family cannot acquire the essentials, but not necessarily
when their income is low.
·Main question: should poverty be based on consumption or income?
·Social policy has profound impact on the distribution of opportunities and rewards in
Canada.
·Politics can reshape the distribution of income and system of inequality by changing
laws to govern peoples right to own property and paying taxes.
·Canada lacks the clear definition of poverty unlike other countries
·Statistics Canada says poverty is defined differently internationally and its arbitrary.
·Low-income Cutoff: where a family devotes most earnings to basic necessities like
food causes strained circumstances.
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·Spells of poverty: when families move in and out of poverty. Ie/ between jobs.
Myths about the Poor:
Imageries about differentiating the deserving and undeserving poor.
1.People are poor because they dont want to work- in most poor families, at
least one member works. Ie/ minimum wage
2.Overwhelming majority of poor people are immigrants- Immigrants
experience poverty at lower rates than Aboriginals.
3.Welfare rolls are crammed with young people who should be earning their
living- Small percentage is actually young. Ie/ under 25
4.Most poor people are trapped in poverty.- Family incomes are unstable and
they slip in and out of poverty, not permanently stuck there.
Explaining Poverty:
·Poverty is a social construction
· Individual-level explanations focus on attributes of poor people different from others. Ie/
low intelligence
·For the most part, poverty is irrelevant of individual attributes.
·Social-psychological emphasizes low self-esteem, lack of motivation and delay of
gratification. Poverty continues.
·Various arguments states that poverty is cause-and-effect, and stresses the social
organization or subsystems in society like our economy affects poverty.
·Social policies like minimum wage and progressive taxes doesnt redistribute income,
since the % of taxes paid is the same, and rich families shelter their income from taxes.
Ie/RESPs
·Discrimination affects poverty. Ie/ Natives
International Differences:
·Global inequality: difference in economic rankings of countries.
·Cross-national variations in internal stratification: differences among countries
stratification system. Ie/gap between rich and poor.
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