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Lecture 5

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SOC203 Week 5 Feb.-4-13  (correction from last week: Armanian genocide started in 1915) Engels on Gender Inequality  1. Gender inequality in Canada today  2. Engles (origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State, 1884): o The centrality of productions and reproduction o Gender under primitive communism o Private property and gender inequality  The ermergence of private property came with the domestication of animal and the want to pass on their herds to their sons  The transformation of matrilineal to patrilineal causes women to lose their higher position o Socialism and gender relations: the claim  Inequalities in private quality and gender inequality would disappear with changes to a social society  3. Critical comments: o A sociological phenomenon  If diffs were rooted in biology we would have to believe the inequality cannot change same with psychology but Engle’s argues not sustaining certain differences b/w humans in the end Engle’s says social diffs are a sociological phenomenon.  i.e pregnancy is a biological reality men will never know, this does not mean that pregnancy should separate women in the workplace.  In some societies women can be penalized in terms of career advancement b/c of pregnancy and other societies can ensure there are acts in place to not penalize pregnancy or child rearing.  Example for the ways in which sociological thinking about gender as empligfied by Engles is fundamental. o A historical phenomenon  We know there is variation in gender inequality, societies where the gap b/w men and women can be greater/narrower  There is historical variation  This and sociological phenomenon point to positives in Engle’s view o The meaning of property  This is a weakness of Engle’s  Engle’s takes it for granted that men would want to transfer property to their heirs  Why the male heirs? Why not to the village in general?  He assumes men would want to hoard property to pass it on to their lineage – this is a cultural thing. This dimension is not covered by Engle o Politics matter  Think of soviet union that did away with large diffs in private property  We think they got rid of gender inequality but in the 1930s the regime decided the population was too low and policies had to be put in place to increase fertility of soviet population – did this by encouraging women to fall back on traditional roles.  It may be that where there are great diffs in private property that there is a bigger gap b/w gender, but getting rid of private property may not be so great either.  Changes in state policy have a great deal to do with gender inequality o Gender equality and capitalism  Think of economics such as Canada – we know there have been changes when it comes to gender inequality  Holding the economic system constant there has still been diffs in inequality  Upshot: surely Engle’s did a favour by saying we cannot take gender inequality as natural phenomenon, the meaning of property there is a culture dimension, and in gender inequality and capitalism shows apart from socially, economics and state policies matter as well. Simmel’s Sociology of Power: The architecture of Politics: by: EV Walter.  Pg. 139-166 in Kurt H. Wolff (ed.), Essays on Sociology, Philosophy, and Aesthetics (New York: Harper and Row, 1965).  1960s – sociology was a thing radical students were into o Sociology in the 1960s is a radical Marxist discipline o A Marxist sociologist would have been somewhat uneasy with Simmel o Simmel describes power relations as a dance between 2 partners and Marx says it is more a boxing match. Simmel says it involves negotiation and Marx says it is about power and blood.  A. Thematic Key: cohesion vs. division o Simmel: In a traditional society – a village that everyone knows everyone, they do things together, there’s gossip and a lot of social monitoring so social forces create greater pressure for conformity. Opposed to a modern society, you interact with all different people, with many discrete (not interconnected) social groups. The world of school and church is different. o Simmel then connects this portrait for social structure with the consequences of identity: the claim he make is that in a small scale traditional society, the pressure of society will channel us in a direction of more consistency during the day. Contrast this to a modern society, where in every situation you act different. o We play different roles as we move thru these different circles. o Does this create new challenges for the person in terms of integrity?  Integral – whole complete, not fragmented. Simmel saying if we slightly changing our demeanor where is the unity of the person, where is the core that make us the person?  Second sense of integrity has to be morally upstanding, in our society is someone is 2 faced they lack integrity, this is what Simmel is saying, what about our backbone and moral integrity? o Superficially we think that modern society would be liberating but in fact modern society presents us with new challenges when it comes to our personality. Core in terms of identity and standards. We all value a person who changes with situations, but pushed to the limit we say a person that bends too much to different situations is a hypocrite or lacks character. o Question of balance and remaining firm in certain situations – this is a conundrum o Problem of maintaining cohesion o Within the individual o Within society’s horizontal relations  Cliché in our knowledge of how people work  Nothing better than pulling people together than having an outside enemy  This is an example of cohesion vs. division when it comes to horizontal relations  Whether or not there is a common enemy people can be either disunited and then pulled together  Horizontal – social relations between relative equals o Within society’s vertical relations  Vertical – social relations between people who are relatively unequal  Simmel is talking about division, but true to his nature he talks about the cohesion and ways these people get along  Talks about negotiation b/w parties involved based on equal relations  Truce found b/w certain parties when they work things out o Simmel says cohesion and division are always present and if we miss one we are providing a misleading view of social reality. o Raymond ARON  speaking about Simmel , he says “Simmel has many admirers and few deciphers” o It’s easy to classify certain sociologists as neo Marxist, few followers of Simmel. o He is brilliant but does not offer a system  B. Critical Observations  What it social realist? Social realist what is real?  Realist is a sociologist who believes supra-individual phenomena have properties independent of their constituent parts.  How did Durkheim make this case in the study of suicide?  What was the supra individual phenomenon? o He states there are certain characteristics in society outside of individual characteristics that influence suicide rate. o He is interested in the rate of suicide across social groups and the independent variables he looks at are all supra-individual as well  Durkheim is a realist.  Example – water has different properties, but the parts of water Hydrogen and oxygen you would not use to put out fire/satiate thirst  Durkheim  examples:  Girls blocking the cross walk  Other example people protesting to block the train – they stopped the train – made a new reality compared to if there was just one person.  New realities are created when people come together  Supra-individual is a social realism o Simmel’s “brilliance” (what about few disciples?) o Methodological individualism (what about social realism?)  Opposite of social realism  Individual people are real and to talk about supra individual phenomena is to engage in a pointless philosophical conversation that has nothing to do with society
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