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SOC203H1 (77)


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Inequality 1. French Peasants before the Revolution -1789 • poor; stealing and begging became progressively violent • unprecedented deaths • Tocqueville: French Revolution - Why was there a revolution in France when the peasants were better off than the peasants in other European countries? 1) felt the lords had undeserved privilege and were no longer providing good government (social contract theory) 2) rebelled because better increased well-being heightened expectations; where they were and where they wanted to be were not the same; dissatisfaction 2. French lords before the Revolution • lending based on promises that resulted in loss of land or loss of valuable assets • lord has judicial authority: economic, legal, authoritative power, religious Inequality as a Social Fact • suicide rates Durkheim - cannot look at the reasons why people commit suicide, they have an independent reality • inequality is relational, social fact • you cannot look at an individual, it requires a relation: some people have less, some people have more • variation in distribution of life chances • constancy suggests there is something about society that produces these results 3. Some main forms of inequality -social goods - things that are valued • some are universal (good health) • some are culturally bound (leisure time, wealth, status, power) Consistently, suicide rates would be higher/lower in different parts of the world 4. Some main sources of inequality • military strength -leisure time • economic resources (wealth, status, power) • political power – the ability to decide • life chances (Weber) - looking at variation in the distribution of life chances: opportunities to have a good or bad life; which change according to the structure of oneʼs life 5. Life chances: opportunities to enjoy different kinds of experiences, good or bad, based on how one’s life changes (Weber) 6. Inequality in pre-modern societies: Hunter gatherer • class less, no strong differences in control over means of production  not patriarchal • gender equality, political equality, economic equality • Marxist: they have little surplus; live close to subsistence level; with surplus there is a possibility that some can live without working Tribal -where class based societies emerged • any aggregate of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders • surplus created through herding/agriculture • as soon as surplus exists emergence of inequality Started to generate surplus which means that now certain groups of people can live better while working less Early States Ancient Egypt, Rome, China • significant agricultural surplus, produced or extracted • specialized classes of rulers • reliance on bureaucracy • slavery with poorer life choices • large standing army; always available • systems of taxation, run by bureaucrats -Women in high power families were relatively powerful -Center to the periphery -Arranged marriages -Women were always subordinate to the male in Confucius households -Practice of foot binding amongst the elites in Imperial China Egypt • property owners were only at the top of society • Gender: women enjoyed the same legal rights as men with no forced marriage • after marriage, could enjoy and keep property separate of her husbands even after. Rome • woman had economic and legal status as a child • before she was married her guardian was her father • when married her new guardian was her husband • husbands authority is absolute • only a male could be a citizen in imperial Rome. C
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