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lecture 1 - intro

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SOC102- Lecture 1, September 13 th • Is equality attainable, would it hinder economic growth? • Inequality- result of comparison between two things, one has an advantage -many inequalities are natural (distinguishable between social inequalities) - measurable differences, intuition is verified -sociologists not specifically interested in natural inequalities, but rather how natural inequality influences social inequality, how are inequalities viewed (thoughts, beliefs, theories), how are these inequalities explained or accounted for -how are inequalities justified? -inequalities are very consequential • Example: beauty – why is there a preoccupation in our society with beautiful people as opposed to with smart people -what are the consequences with this beauty preoccupied society for being plain looking • *Intersectionality *whole point of sociology is to generalize and formulate theories, even though there are many different factors involved • Habits of inequality theory- all societies display some sort of social inequality, inequality comes in many different forms and each inequality is a separate entity (operate differently in different societies), socially constructed inequalities (elaborate mythologies constructed to explain differences between people) • inequality has negative consequences, most extreme forms have more extreme consequences (eg mental health, crime, violence, physical health etc.) • societies can choose in how much inequality to have, vary in the degree and kinds Cultural Habits – all social inequality display similar patterns - social differentiation- identifying different “kinds” of people, unchangeably different, imagining of and inflation of differences - narratives of blame- accounts of why differences translate into inequalities, attachment of social/moral qualities, justification of inequality - practices of oppression- disadvantage certain groups and advantage others, economic exploitation/discrimination/exclusion - narratives of validation- responses to narratives of blame, deny factual accuracy of blame, sometimes hold oppressors responsible for creating blameworthy conditions - strategies of resistance- collective actions that disadvantaged people take to combat practices of oppression, symmetrical to practices of oppression - continuing struggle- social reality, cannot be ignored, consequence of social inequality • first formal theory of inequality- Rousseau’s theory of inequality -differences between natural and social inequality (social=moral/political) -privileges enjoyed by some that end up being detrimental to others • Rousseau argues that inequality arises when the social inequality is not combined in the same proportion as physical inequality- if social inequality is not justifiable by natural inequality • Example- George w bush who took advantage of his birth situation when his natural inequality could not justify it • Can we create a fair society using Rousseau’s argument- social justice
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