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SOC220 Lecture 2

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SOC220 Lecture 2 09/19/2012 Historical Variations in Inequality Outline - Methodology - Define social inequality - Highlight historical variations o Slavery o Caste o Feudalism Methodology - Historical Sociology : history matters o “Men make their history, but not in conditions of their choosing” – Marx  We have the ability to act but we are shaped by external factors  History matters, while we do have agencies (conscious decisions), we act in a decision that we aren’t involved in the part of creating (no saying)  Our social context is something that confronts us, and there is no difference from social inequality and the study of it  Social inequality results from past and present human choices  Inequality is not inevitable, not the result of some rational force  Something that has been created and continues to be recreated over time - Max Weber: Ideal types o Logical constructs that are used for heuristic purposes (learning/problem solving) o Generalizations (democracy, slavery), simplifying the world we see the social world Specifications - Differentially limits access by individuals or groups to goods or to options for action o Limits: must be systematic and enduring o Options: must be strategic  Has to translate into an option for advantage - 2 forms/outcomes of social inequality o Distributive  Accumulation of a material value, or knowledge based opportunity o Relational  The regulation of peoples behavior Definition - Inequality exists whenever socially constructed limitations prevent specific individuals or groups form having access to strategic resources, which are available to others in the same social situation o Strategic resources in society now: money/capital, knowledge, heredity  Strategic resource that matters varies from time to time - Heredity o Similarities and differences of strategic resources within the film time period to what will be discussed today Historical Inequality: Slavery - General properties o Economic  One person is the property/possession of another, used for economic production  Interpersonal norms/rights becomes sub sued within property rights (to be owned, no personality worth)  Individuals who are owned can be dispensed (give away easily) o Legal  Could not hold property, read or write, testify in courts, masters held full demonian over their slaves  Full subordination over their masters (could use violent means to maintain power over the slaves) o Social  Not intrinsic to the person (did not reflect on the slaves actual worth) - Slavery in the United States o Differences with Greco-Roman o Conception as Caste - In Greece there was no racial line in slavery (color line), it was widely conceded as a wide rang human made arrangement - In United States, race was the main factor in slavery (intrinsic) - Linking race and slavery together, it became a legitimate ideology o Thus making it seem as if slavery is inevitable, natural and permanent  White people could not be slaves - Manumission o The act of changing/undergoing from slave to freeman  Complicated by the fact that this ideology, becoming a slave was inherited  There are discriminatory laws against African Americans and Caucasians - Slavery in the United States more so resembles a Caste society Historical Inequality: Cases Key Features - Caste System: a closed system (social group), endogenous envisions that are inherited and permanent o Identity and exclusion o Between Caste Systems we have social distance and hierarchy o Within each Caste System is social solidarity/equality among each other
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