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Class inequality Unequal distribution of economic wealth Economic inequality produces "classes" Have significant effect on other inequality (racial inequality, gender inequality) Also effects health, crime and conflict Class is an elusive concept Most people, when asked, answered "middle class" (not poor, not rich) People, who belong to Union, might say "working class" (employed by someone for wages) Few would say "upper class" or "lower class" Class, an economic relationship Social class usually refers to a relationship, not an attribute Max Weber describe "class situation" as Resulting from one's location in property and market relations Marketability and dominance David Lockwood: "market situation" - one's (relative) economic position "work situation" - one's (relative) position in the division of labor Class consciousness Distinguish those from "status situation" Relative position of an individual in the hierarchy of prestige in society Class inequality is different from other inequality Racial and Age - physical feature Ethnic - Cultural feature Gender - physiological feature Social class is hard to distinguish Implications Class diferentiation require lots of cultural inventiveness Ex. Invention of "culture of wealth" Ex. Invention of "culture of poverty" Awareness of class differences is hard to establish Class have to be learned SNPNS Social differentiation Narratives of blame Practices of oppression Narratives of validation Strategies of resistance Signifying Class Distinctions Created by economic relations However, to be performed, class position must be signified by cultural (non-economic) mean Patterns of fashion and consumption help to do this Leisure Class Highlights differences in various ways Ex. private schooling, private clubs, and educational credentialing Two sociologists who have written about this are Thorstein Veblen and Pierre Bourdieu The role of conspicuous consumption Veblen's book "Theory of the Leisure Class (1912)" critiques modern Western society Wasteful manner Pierre Bourdieu's book, "Distinction" Argues that cultural capital reproduce social domination from one generation to the next Cultural capital includes all cultural symbols and practices that function to enhance social distinctions Ex. Tastes in art, style in dress, eating habits, beliefs - even language itself Gaining cultural capital Member of ruling class teach their children taste preference to pass along cultural capital Teaching and leaning the culture of poverty Anthropologist Oscar Lewis says: P
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