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SOC102 Lecture 1 Class Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Lorne Tepperman

Lecture 1: What is Social Inequality? Dictionary defines inequality as:  The quality of being unequal/uneven  About having a hierarchy; differences about and between two groups or people ie. Who is better, worse, poorer, richer.. Etc.  Sociology explains how social inequality works and the reasons most people are at a disadvantage  It shows that social inequality leads to crime, sickness, addiction and violence Natural Inequalities  Our personal experience tells us there are many natural inequalities between people; simply by looking at the physical appearance and talking  How do natural inequalities lead to social inequalities? What are the consequences? Ie. Height advantage is natural; the social inequalities are that one has more "authority, power, etc." compared to short people  Example of a value/construct of human society: BEAUTY o Performance of social inequalities in relation to physical beauty, the question is: why do some societies reward beauty (especially in women) more highly than that of intelligence? The creation and preservation of social inequalities can be explained with the following concepts… Habits of Inequality Theory [argument]  All societies have social inequalities (of any sized society) for gender, class, race, age. Etc… with varying degrees and kinds  Inequalities are made; a cultural mythology about the meaning society places on a difference  They are socially constructed; collectively imagined on the basis of a supposedly important natural difference (ie. Skin colour, sex, etc.)
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