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Lecture 2

SOC102 Lecture 2 Class Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Lorne Tepperman

Lecture 2 - Class Inequality Longest history in sociology; some = most consequential is CLASS INEQUALITY.  It's about the rich and poor, and the power that comes with the inequality  Rich is more powerful than the poor, this is an extremely important consequence  Only a fraction is due to discrimination, but more so economic difference inequalities affects society Class is an elusive concept.  Despite 200 years of conversation, there is disagreement about the boundaries of class.  Majority of North Americans say they are middle class.  European society is much more likely to be aristocratic and acknowledging upper class Class is an economic relationship.  Two of the big players are Max Weber and Karl Marx. Both gave definitions of class that are fairly similar.  Weber: Class is due to their circumstances, we are engaged in economic enterprises in competition (ie. Labour market) and some compete more successfully. It is our advantage or disadvantages in relation to others  Marx: It is about the bargaining power, competitive power-advantages you have as a competitor Marketability and Dominance  Market situation is relative economic position--the income, job security, opportunity for advancement.  Work situation is determined by whether you are the boss or subordinate (at work) How Related to Class Consciousness  Lockwood: Europeans have a conception of status as a concept of class, by which the position of the individual is in a hierarchy (prestige--attention, kindness, respect) in society  To explain class consciousness, one must introduce all 3 (market, work, and status) relationships  Class is like a seat, that can lead to class warfare  Class consciousness is an important concept Class inequality is different from other inequalities we discuss…  Is essential to inequality study  Social classes are subjective, not physically able to distinguish Implications  Though there are natural differences between people, the interest to sociologists is the role inequality plays in relationships, how it is brought about, what it means to others.  People learn class distinctions; learn what middle-class, upper class, lower class, etc. look like >> must be learnt  Strategies of resistance are hard to create as they require a shared consciousness of an advantage or disadvantages Signifying Class Distinctions  We are all complicit in reproducing/reinforcing class everyday  Produced by economic relations  Given that people are in diff positions in t
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