Class Notes (809,754)
Canada (493,780)
Sociology (3,207)
SOC102H1 (261)

Soc102 Lec 2

11 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto St. George
Lorne Tepperman

Sociology Lecture 2: Classes and Exploitation Lucky Number -MichaelApted -a documentary called Seven Up that followed the lives of children as they grew up -objective was to demonstrate and show the difference/affects of class on these kids -essentially, how class matters -demonstrated that by the age of 7, there was noticeable differences between children b/c of class -upper class kids (3 wise men) showed hubris -copied their parents in discussing adult issues. -had their futures planned out already, especially higher education -Middle class kids: had little knowledge let alone plans about university -were more naive and child like -As they grew older, the differences grew -upperclass: already foresaw the privilege future -had a clear goal in life to what he was going to be -middle class: didn't really pursuit a high privilege career -settled for less prestige work instead -By the time they all grew up -upper class: had fulfilled the path they had set out at the age of 7 -middle/working class: future as uncertain as age 7 -overall, few surprises were encountered. -the boys grew up as expected and behaved like the people in the class they were born to. Learning to be Unequal -1978, Bernd Baldus and Verna Tribe -interviewed school kids about their ideas on inequality -asked them to interpret pictures, express thoughts in drawings etc. -most knew plenty -had prejudices about poverty and wealth -had ideas about fairness -likely from the parents -social process communicate ideas about inequality from one generation to another The Social Construction of Inequalities -Economic differences are often converted to economic inequalities -done by wealthy class to exploit the poor -Economic differences are framed as class differences -rich = upper class -need to label the poor as lower -process called Class Differentiation MarxianAnalysis -Marx was first serious student in social class -Another contributor to his work was Friedrich Engels -was also born wealthy -was with a radical crowd and father send him to England, Manchester -Father hoped working at the family factory will distance him from the radicals -Instead, began to study how the working class lived and was treated -Noted workers were deprived, even destitude -Saw an upside: misery would provide impetus to revolution The Communist Manifesto -Engel's writing on the working class became the basis of Maxism -Marx and Engel created a pamphlet called Communist Manifesto -"Communism is acknowledged by European countries that it itself is a power" -is about a struggle between two classes: proletariat and bourgeoisies -Made this manifesto by doing a scientific study of history -learn how to steer society so social class will survive -this is different from the Utopian development methods -those used trial and error 1848: Revolution and Reaction -timing of the pamphlet links it to revolution -various upheavals in Europe at this time -Acounter-revolution occurs in next decade -forces Engels and Marx to end up in London -more political stability and was safer for them Defining the Class Actors in the Drama -Despite failures, Marx and Engels were convince revolution would down fall capitalism -Definitions: a set of people who share economic characteristics -Bourgeoisie: class of modern capitalists. -owners of the means of production and employers of wage labour -Proletariat: class of modern wage labourers -have no means of production of them own -sell their labour power to live Marx expected this struggle between the two to spread internationally -ie Capitalism will be a worldwide problem leading to worldwide revolution -Today however, socialism pushes capitalists to other areas where they can exploit -i.e manufacturers going to poorer countries that charge less for labour -Marx idea of globalization however was correct -national boundaries were broken for investments -globalization "uniforms" everyone's experiences (homogenization) -reduces difference between countries Capitalism Contains the Seeds of Its Own Destruction -According to Marx -Capitalism always needs to expand -expansion however will eventually lead to the working class to revolt -this revolution will end capitalism -in the new world, people will contribute according to ability -will receive according to need and fulfill their creative potential Is This Disproven by the Fall of Communism? -Collapse of Soviet has led many to question the concept -some conclude that capitalism has prevailed -However, communism in Russia and elsewhere was very important in several ways The Effect of Communism on Capitalism 1) pressured capitalists in many societies to accept a form of democratic socialism democratic societies in certain countries continue to be successful (ie Finland) 2) communism acted as a beacon for the working class -gave them confidence and motivation to strive for better wages and working conditions -Marx's and Engels' concepts on capitalism and class system help us understand how these systems work today in their more complex forms -Class: Defined as a group of people who have the same relation to the means of production i.e: owner or labourer Oppositional Relationship Between Capitalist and Workers -Still exists -wages often low -low enough to just keep workers alive and productive -Means of Production mediates the dynamic between Capitalists and Proletariat -Zero-sum relationship: Only capitalist benefit from workers, not vice-versa -capitalists will always be trying to reduce costs -will replace workers with machines -this is used as a threat (in addition to moving work force) to lower wages - -guarantees workers and unions will comply -Working Class has only 3 choices 1) work for capitalists under poor conditions and low wages 2)form unions and try to make changes 3) revolt and overthrow capitalists. Create a new egalitarian classless society -Option 3 less likely because compliance is a safer option Class Conflict still Exists -Class conflict is inescapable -a feature of any society including the least developed (hunters and gatherers) -particularly so in capitalist societies -bourgeoisie and proletariat interests are completely opposite -Marx:All History of history is about class struggle -changes arise from class struggles -Marx was not entirely correct -small societies in history did not have class Class Consciousness -Marx expected working class to recognize how similar their economic experiences were -would throw aside religious, ethnic, cultural and gender differences -called this awareness class consciousness -this recognition is the only way to change and control the class system -People divided by class lines for generations -Marx: To change this, working class people must recognize similarity between each others working experiences -Two types of class awareness: 1) Class aware in itself: just members of a class 2) Class aware for itself -aware they have a common mean of production -capable of mobilizing to pursue interests of their own class Means of Production Mediates a Dynamic Between the Two Classes -it determines the differences in social position -determines who is in power and who is not -means of production changes with technology -ex: horticulture to industrial work -forms of ownership, exploitation, control practices change -causes shift in power relations Why Socialism, Not Communism? -Marx and Engels did not have faith in peaceful methods to attain change -such as unionization and ballot box -felt ballot boxes were controlled by the capitalists -However, this is what happened -Democratic Socialism: comprises of small improvements and timely social reforms -has dealt with many issues of the working class identified by Marx and Engels -Revolution class very unlikely -still divided by geography, culture, language and religion -makes it hard for them to come together -Unions played a bigger role than expected Ashift to Identity Politics -modern version of capitalism designed to appease working class -welfare, consumerism, promises of upward mobility -survived thanks to protection by governments, war-making profits -too big to fail -Western workers have lost their class consciousness since mid 20th century -shifted to identity politics -drives radical or religious movements -opposite of class politics -leads to decrease influence of class politics and unions Worker Unionization, Organization and Mobilization are Weak Today -Globalization by the capitalists have outplayed unions -outsourcing has allowed capitalists to continue exploiting -working class remains unlikely to revolt -no class consciousness -Protest and revolutions need tight organization and loyal membership -everyone must share the risk and dangers -leaders must ensure group exercises self-control towards collective interests -not individual ones -Class mobilization forces people to blindly trust union and party leaders -value equality of liberty -work towards long term instead of short term goals -All this is only possible if union has one common enemy -Marx labelled this enemy exploitation The Meaning of Exploitation -Labour Theory of Value: focuses on forced extration of surplus from workers -allows capitalists to exploit and benefit from workers -Marx: enemy is exploitation -the process of controlling and using economic resources to gain profit at the expense of workers; economic unfairness -resources include: capital, property or technology -Exploitation is unfair and dehumanizing to workers -makes life unsatisfying and work unfulfilling The Problem of "Surplus Value" -surplus: true value of something produced (value of labour) relative to selling price -Idea: Labour is the supreme source to wealth -Not just a Marxian contribution -Adam Smith: proposes that if workers were to own their own means of production, goods will be priced in proportion to the effort of production -surplus value would be non-existent -Today: notion of surplus value widely rejected -too hard to measure Modern Day Definition of Exploitation -Marx: exploitation refers to economic unfairness -includes notions of trickery, greed, dehumanization -Modern: exploitation is more general, not just economic -means profiting unjustly from the labour of others Erik Olin Wright's Definition -3 principles/criteria of exploitation: 1) Inverse Independence -material well-being of controlling group depends on material deprivation of controlled group. -Wealth is a zero-summed game -starve workers into submission to get surplus 2) Exclusion -exploited group is barred from access to resources needed to survive -can only gain access by their paid labour 3) Appropriation -exploiters take the profit from labour of exploited -must first control operation of state, legal system and economy -Note: Marxist theory today was different than in past -New means of production leads to new means of exploitation -Also new forms of resistance by the working class The Problem ofAlienation:ASoul Destroying Consequence of Capitalism -Marx: 4 types of alienation for workers under capitalism 1) worker becomes alienated from the product of their labour -product is taken from worker so he can't use it -product is sold at a price worker can't afford 2) capitalism makes the work meaningless since the product is taken away -worker has no control or autonomy -can't explore creativity or innovation 3) capitalism alienates workers from own sense of humanity -worker is made to feel like a robot -repetitive action
More Less

Related notes for SOC102H1

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.