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SOC102 Lecture #3.docx

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Lorne Tepperman

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SOC102 Lecture #3 May 23, 2012 Racial and Ethnical Inequalities: Midterm next Monday in EX 2 hours 100 Questions Habits of Inequality Theory:  All societies display social inequality of varying kinds  Social inequalities are collectively imagined on the basis of a supposedly important natural difference (e.g., skin colour) Societies vary in the degree and kinds of social inequality they display The Cultural Habits: S-N-P-N-S  Social Differentiation  Narratives of Blame  Practices of Oppression  Narratives of Validation  Strategies of Resistance Continuing Struggle between practices of oppression and strategies of resistance Differentiation and Orientalism:  Sociologists want to know which differences become inequalities and why?  They also want to know how and why differentiations or social distinctions arise historically  One good place to start is with political theorist Edward Said and his book, Orientalism  Orientalism: western conceptions (Middle East, Persian Empire)  How do westerners, how do they think of Easterners (Middle Easterners) The Oriental is “The Other”  The Westerner sees the Orient as separate, eccentric, backward, silently different, sensual and passive  The Orient is always “The Other,” the conquerable object of fantasy and the inferior party in any negotiation  When we look at other ethnic groups there is a very sharp distinction to say, “they are not like us.” “The Oriental” is strange:  in western accounts, the Oriental man is widely depicted as feminine, weak yet strangely dangerous because he poses a threat to white, Western women  The Oriental woman is both eager to be dominated and strikingly exotic  In Said’s analysis, the “Oriental” is a sweeping generalization (a stereotype that crosses cultural and national boundaries)  They make the difference as sharp as possible This reveals Western prejudices:  Orientalism essentializes an image of a prototypical Oriental  It builds on previously unspoken notions of the Other  These wrong notions are take as foundations for both ideologies and policies developed by the West Mythologies:  Mythologies support inequality  The subjection of subordinate groups is always accompanied by mythologies  Mythologies stress the subordinates are fundamentally and universally different from the privileged Ethnic and racial differences still matter:  Around the world, racial and ethnic conflicts still erupt in genocidal bloodbaths that kill thousands of people  This has gone on for nearly a century since the American massacres of 1915 – 1918  Genocidal effects of African slavery  The Europeans conquest of North and South American th  19 century European pogroms to exterminate Jews Ethno-racial differences and economic inequalities:  Usually some economic reasons at stake between races and ethnic group Defining race and ethnic group:  Not the same  A race is a set of people with physical or genetic characteristics that are deemed to produce identifiable differences in appearance  An ethnic group is a set of people who consider themselves to share common characteristics that distinguish them from other groups in a society. Not distinctive on grounds of appearance but cultural, shared history Survival of Ethnic groups:  Some immigrant communities ethnic groups in particular cities or countries simply disappear  Other immigrant communities purposely maintain their ethnic distinctiveness  Historian Benedict Anderson coined the term “imagined communities” to describe people who group together around a common history and culture  Groups exist only because they are performed, have to be continuously constructed and performed otherwise disappear  Example: Dutch don’t define their ethnic groups as obvious as Jews, Chinese Ethnic groups are imagined communities:  Western conquest and colonization encouraged distinctions between ethnic and racial groups  Even pre-colonized and post-colonized groups have tribal distinctions  In both events, they are largely imaginary groups Totems and Communal Imagination:  Ethnic solidarity is based on blood and kinship  Symbolically, it is also base on rituals and ritual objects Durkheim called “totems”  According to Durkheim in preliterate tribal rites, anything could serve as the basis for group solidarity (e.g. a bird, an animal, a rock)  Agreement not object Creation and celebration of objects Cultural (totemic) objects have different meanings for different groups  Luba came from a Ukrainian background  On her parents’ wall was a picture of Bohdan th  A famous Ukrainian Cossack hero of the 17 century  Led the largest mass murder of Jews in history an estimated 100.000 murdered – prior to the Nazi holocaust  Reasons often forgotten, but still celebrate Defining Ethnic Communities:  An ethnic community is a bounded group of interacting people with the same ethnic background, often in a defined geographic location  Membership means adopting shared norms and associating mainly with other group members  Often, communication with non-members is limited to a few areas of common understanding  Draw boundaries around themselves that says: we are the ____ Ethnic groups compete with other ethnic groups:  Compete for social status, honor, political office  Conflict between ethnic groups
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