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
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
Habits of Inequality Theory
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.)