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SOC102 Lecture 01.docx

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SOC102 Lecture 1 11/09/2012 Quizzes based on how closely you've assimilated yourself in the readings and the lecture content Readings are about 30-50 pages / week Tutorials 4 times in the semester  CHECK PORTAL What is inequality?  The quality of being unequal or uneven  Social inequality is about hierarchal (i.e., better-worse) differences between any 2 people (or groups)  Sociology is dedicated to explaining how social inequality works and the reasons most people are at the disadvantage  It also means showing social inequality leads to crime, sickness, addiction, violence Natural Inequalities  Seen by looking at/interacting with others  How do natural inequalities become social inequalities? And with what results?  How do people invent/construct (unnatural) inequalities?  How do differences become inequalities and how do we make them into something (a big deal)?  Where do we get our ideas of inequalities?  Ex. Tallness  lack of tallness (being short) may be a result of poor nutrition when you grew up Example of Beauty  Why are some societies more preoccupied with beauty vs intelligence? Habits of Inequality Theory  All societies display social inequalities of various kinds  class differentiation  Socially constructed: collectively imagined on the basis of a supposed important natural difference (ex. sex, skin colour) o There is a cultural mythology behind the inequality.  what it means to be a man vs. woman; black vs. white  There is a struggle to make meaning of the inequality  different societies have different accounts  the accounts are dynamic, changing  Are inequalities socially necessary? Are we STUCK with them? Inequality Has Harmful Consequences  Negative consequences for people they disadvantage, and for society as a whole  Extreme forms of inequality produce most extreme consequences (ex. War) Societies Vary in Social Inequality  Societies vary in the degree and kinds of social inequalities they display o Scandinavians show least inequality SOC102 Lecture 1 11/09/2012 o Less developed societies and the US, show the most inequality o Canada falls in the middle  Norway is an example of how you don't need inequality for prosperity (half the inequality than US)  On every inequality, there is a range of intensity of equality  Habits of Inequality: Clear and long lasting patterns of inequality Correlates of the Inequality Habit  Habits of inequality are related to other cultural patterns: esp. o Traditionalism: looking back to the "good old days" o Religiosity o Militarism o Parochialism: inward looking "we are the best" The Cultural Habits: SNPNS  All types of social inequality display similar patterns or cultural "habits" that include the following: 1. Social Differentiation 2. Narratives of blame 3. Practices of Oppression 4. Narratives of Validation 5. Strategies of Resistance S = Social Differentiation  Practice of identifying different kinds of people who are assumed to be essentially and unchangeably different, and whose difference is consequential for social and economic life  The process of the transformation of natural differences (for example, in skin colour or sex) into socially important differences and inequalities  The first step in any conflict of inequality is to perform differences N = Narratives of Blame  An account of why certain people are different from others and why they deserve to be treated differently  Socially constructed accounts that attach social/moral qualities to different groups to explain why advataged people are advantaged and disadvantaged, disadvantaged  Cultural legitimation of the behaviour caused by inequalities  These narratives derive from a belief that the world is just in its distribution of rewards and punishments (Just World Theory) P = Practices of Oppression SOC102 Lecture 1 11/09/2012  A variety of economic and non-economic behaviours (ex. Exploitation, dominiation, exclusion, discrimination, etc)  These practices ***** N = Narratives of Validation  Types of resistance by the disadvantaged that undermine the narratives of blame  A response to the narratives of blame  Take various forms o Deny factual accurcal of blames, denying fault ***** S = Strategies of Resistance  Collective (social) actions that combat practices of oppression, reduce the inequality, ameliorate effects of inequality  Take various forms o Consciousness raising activities o Social movement formation to achieve social and political goals o Institutional completeness: the formation of self-sufficient Popular images of inequality  Views of "everyone is different" and "everyone has a fair chance" ***** Is Inequality a Problem  How do we decide if something is a problem?  People hold strong, passionate views about inequalities ***** Objective Aspects of Inequality  Measurable signs of disadvantage  Measuring existence and prevalence  (ex. 2 fold difference between US and Norway wrt inequalities)  Based on philosophical premise called positivism  Physical reality we can perceive with our senses Subjective Aspects of Inequality  People's evaluations of objective conditions SOC102 Lecture 1 11/09/2012  Moral and aesthetic judgments reflect people's tastes and values; and they are a social reality in their own right  Make and test theories about people's subjective beliefs and the social outcomes of these beliefs Both Aspects of Inequality Matter  Equal importance to subjective as objective Social Construction of a Social Problem  People construct and perform inequality  Make up stories and behave in certain ways to highlight differences  Social inequalities are not in people's minds (not most worried about it vs health care, job security)  Claims making: making (and promoting) particular ways of thinking Some Problems are more self-evident than others  Some problems deserve our attention if most people are ignoring them, m
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