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SOC102H1 (261)
Lecture 6

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Lorne Tepperman

Lecture 6-Cities and minorities Habits of Inequality Theory •  All societiesdisplay social inequality of varying kinds •  These social inequalities are socially constructed: that is, collectivelyimagined on the basis of a supposedly important natural difference Societes vary in Social Inequality •  Societies vary in the degree and kinds of social inequality they display. –  The Scandinavian countries show least inequality –  Canada falls somewhere near the middle of the pack •  Societies with the widest variety and intensity of inequality are most likely to display clear and long-lasting patterns we call "habits of inequality" The Cultural Habits: S-N-P-N-S •  All types of social inequality display similar patterns or cultural “ habits” that include the following (S-N-P-N-S): –  Social differentiation –  Narratives of blame –  Practices of oppression –  Narratives of validation –  Strategies of resistance S'='Social'Differentiation' •  Social differentiation is the practice of identifying different “ kinds”of people who are assumed to be essentially and importantly different •  E.g., Heterosexualsvs homosexuals. Chania (or Xania), Crete •  Last week I visited Chania (Crete) for a family wedding •  It has been an important commercialtown for 2000 years •  Today, it is a majortouristdestination Like elsewhere,gay and lesbian peoplehave their own parts of town 1. Dyo Lux Revolution •  Sarpidonos Street 8, Chania, Greece 2. Tavronitis Beach Chania, •  Crowd : Locals , tourists, not many oldies . 3. Agioi ApostoloiBeach •  Agion ApostolonStreet, Agioi Apostoloi(Nea Kydonia), Chania, 4. Rapaniana beach •  Chania, Greece3 Ratings •  Crowd : Men looking for sex. Why do gays and lesbians havetheir own parts of town? •  LGBT communitiesdevelop in every city and tourist town(e.g., Puerto Vallarta) •  What is the value of cities for minority groups? •  What is the value of institutional completeness? Gay Jamie Hubley (Ottawa) killed himself Oct 15, 2011. Theonly openly gay boy in his school, he had been bullied severely •  A suicide note was posted on his online blo •  The note spoke of the pain from both bullying and depression. •  "I'm tired of life, really. It's so hard, I'm sorry, I can't take it anymore,"his note read. Christopher Skinner , age 27 Christopher Skinner , age 27 •  was killed on Oct. 18, 2009 after being beaten up, then struck by a black SUV on Adelaide St. E. between Yonge and Victoria Streets •  His family made a final appeal last week for anyone with informationon the case to comeforward •  Christopher was gay •  Was this a hate crime; no one knows. •  The violent circumstances suggest it may have been The numbers problem •  Unlike women, who are a majority of the population; and •  Unlike ethnic or racial groups, classes, or age groups, which may all be very large; •  The homosexualand lesbian population is very small – perhaps only 1-2 per cent of the total population •  Therefore, it is particularly vulnerable to attack and victimization Consider the risks •  98% of the population is heterosexual –  Some fraction of this majority is strongly opposed to homosexuality •  Questions: –  How can homosexualssafely find sexual partners? –  How can homosexualssafely judge whether and when to “ comeout” ? –  How can homosexualscreate safe, fulfilling lives for themselvesin a dangerous dangerous world? Implication •  Faced with ridicule, bullying, violenceand occasionally even murder, this group has had to develop strong protectivestrategies •  How and where has it done this, and by what means? •  How has location made a difference for homosexuals? The protectiverole of cities •  Cities are often said to be dangerous places •  Are they the worst places for homosexualsto protect themselves,or the best? •  If suitable, where in cities should homosexualslocate themselves? Reliable statistics on homosexuality are scarce •  Data from the Canadian Census of 2001 found only 34,200 same-sex common-lawcouples •  Homosexualityis the sexual orientation of only a small social minority •  Canadian, US, and other studies suggest that only about 2-3% of sexually active men and 1-2% of sexually active womenare currently homosexual Debates flourish about numbers •  Homosexualsin cities are more concentratedinsome neighbourhoods •  The homosexualpopulation may reach 10per cent or more in neighbourhoods where they are concentrated •  There is debate about how properly to define and measure homosexuality The problem they face: homophobia •  Homophobia is conventionally defined as a fear or hatred of homosexuals •  The term bhomophobia` implies that anti-gay prejudice is an irrational feeling based mainly on fear and, consequently, a defense mechanism Likely, this is incorrect •  Likely, opposition against gays and lesbians is not a phobia, but a learned subcultural attitude Beliefs supporting hostility to homosexuality •  Some people continue to believe homosexuality is a choice and that it fundamentally defines people`s character –  These beliefs are correlated with hostile attitudes towards lesbians and gay men •  Some people also believe that homosexualityis a result of negative experiences with the opposite sex while growing up –  No evidence to support this Three aspects of homophobia Herek (2004)has defined three concepts that capture the current meaning of homophobia: 1. heterosexism - a cultural ideology that favours cross-sexualover same-sexual behaviour 2. sexual stigma - Negative labeling of people who practice any non-heterosexualbehaviour 3. sexual prejudice - Negative expectationsand discrimination based on sexual orientation Four causes of lhomophobiaz Social science research has identified 4 main causes: 1. Lack of openness to human diversity 2. Lack of openness to sexual diversity 3. Lack of familiarity with homosexuals 4. Membership in a homophobic culture 1. The role of sexual diversity First, there is a general lack of openness to human diversity (i.e., conventionality) Second is a lack of familiarity with sexual diversity •  People with a wide variety ofsexual experiences are less homophobicthan people with a more limited blifetime sexual environment Third, familiarity with homosexualsThirdis a lack of familiarity with homosexuals •  People who live in small communities(where they are less likely to meet open homosexuals)are less accepting of homosexuality Fourth is membershipin a homophobicculture. •  Fundamentalist religion is often behind homophobiclaws, rules and beliefs •  So are macho team cultures New ways of thinking about sexuality •  In the early twentieth-century,most North Americans held the view that sexuality is fixed and binary •  However,the American sexologistDr. Alfred Kinsey showed that human sexual orientation lies on a continuum •  Today, people understand much moreabout homosexuality and are more tolerant of it than they once were How communitiesgrew •  Research by Alfred Kinsey and other researchers made people rethink their understanding of homosexuality •  Homosexualitywas discussed moreduring the late 1950sand 1960s •  Information about homosexualityspread through newspapers and magazines •  Attracted isolated individuals to the growing gay communitiesin New York and San Francisco (for example) The role of the women `s movement,birth control •  North American sexual norms have been changingfor the last 100 years •  Some of the change is dueto women `s movementand the birth control •  Some of the change is dueto women `s movementand the birth control revolution –  Women are less homophobicthan men –  Contraception increasedpeople’ staste for non-reproductive sexuality Victimization in cities? •  Cities are places of frequent victimization •  However,for homosexuals,cities represent safety •  Why are some people victimized in cities, and how do they avoid victimization? Victimization and inequality •  Like exploitation,domination, discrimination and exclusion, victimizationis another commonresult of inequality •  Some groups are morelikely than others to be victimized by criminals •  What do sociologists know about victimizationand its link to inequality? Victimology •  Victimology is the sociologicalstudy of victims of crime •  Typically, victimization is greatest among the disadvantaged •  Characteristics associated with an increased risk of violent victimizationb include: –  self-identifying as homosexual –  having someform of activity limitation or physical handicap –  identifying as an Aboriginal person Routine activities theory: Locationis key •  Victimization is largel
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