SOC102H1 Lecture Notes - Edward Said, Paris Hilton, Children'S Book Council Of Australia
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January 11, 2011
What is social inequality?
-Life is a gamble
-It is impossible to determine who will win in life
-The vast majority are not going to get what they want
-The structure of social competition little number of winner, many losers heavy odds against
most people there is not a level field
-People who start life powerful, rich and famous will end their life powerful, rich and famous
oPeople on the other end of distribution also cannot get out of their situation the lower 5-
10% cannot get out of their situation
oAmong the middle 80% there is a lot of social mobility
-Social inequality is dangerous to society and to individual’s health
-Explaining how the social ‘game’ works and the reasons why most people face heavy odds
-Social inequality crime, sickness, addiction, violence, and sometime even war for society as a
-Inequality the equality of being unequal or uneven
-Inequality is about hierarchical differences between any two people or things
oA and B, A is bigger, B is smaller
oMeasurable difference of size wide distribution
-Sociology: social organization there are different way of organization, some are better than others
oWhat can we do about social inequality, so we do not have the things we do not want
oHow can we measure inequality
-The way society is organized now functions to benefit a few people at the top
oHow can social change be possible, if it does not benefit the powerful
-Social equality can be beneficial to all people
-There are natural inequalities aptitude and skills predispose some people to success
oWe know this by looking around and talking to other people
oWhat is the difference between natural inequalities become social inequalities and which what
oHow people view these natural inequalities how people explain inequalities
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People view inequalities as being unfair where do our ideas of fairness come from
-How people invent or construct inequalities how do people justify inequalities?
oExplanations are important for stabilized the structure of society
oLarger because of explanations (ideologies) we’re not shooting rich people on the street and
taking away their money
oWhat is the role of ideologies that makes people compliant with inequalities
-Consider for example the staging or performance of inequalities in connection with physical beauty
oWhy do some societies reward female beauty more than intelligence?
What are the consequences of being plain versus being beautiful?
What are the unwelcomed consequences of being plain looking?
The explain the creation, performance and preservation of social inequalities, we need
to develop some sociological concepts
•There concepts are useful and useable in discussion of inequalities
•Different kings of inequalities work the same
oFor example, concepts which will help us understand racism will help
us understand sexism
oThere are various disadvantages, and if they are add together it is worse
having two disadvantages than having one or the other
-Consistent status: someone who is beautiful and smart
-Inconsistent status: someone who is beautiful but stupid
oWhat happened when there is inconsistent status
People whose statuses are inconsistent are more likely to be radical in political matters
and thus try to change the social order
-There can be empirical research made on inequality
oBut, sometimes people simple reflect on this they do not like
oIn this course, we will consider popular views about inequality
oStatements about inequality can be tested and proven true or false, with empirical evidence
oWe also consider opinions which cannot be readily tests with research
-Is inequality inevitable?
o JFK said there is always inequality, some men are killed in the war, some are wounded, other
never leave, life is unfair
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