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Sociology 3321F/G

Income and Poverty: -difficult to determine poverty -a political “hot potato” -tense debate over if the definition should be absolute or relative -absolute tends to focus on economic yard sticks -ex. anyone who makes less than 20 000/yr is in poverty -relative looks at people compared to other people -not interested in absolute cutoff points but whether this person can lead a decent life given what a person makes and the resources they have Defining poverty: -have political consequences -b/c if you can capture the definition of poverty and get people to agree, this can influence political decisions -If someone owns a factory or office, they own that enterprise and they have property rights over it -this doesn’t go on indefinitely -need safe workplace -have to have fair hiring laws and fair laws of promotion -therefore, ownership of property is subject to limitations -in 19 century employers would do what they wanted -nowadays it’s harder to fire someone -can consult lawyer who specializes in unjust firing -can redistribute income -take from the rich and give to the poor -provide them with welfare benefits -tax policies: graduated income tax system -the more you make the more you pay Explaining poverty: -individual and structural -poverty found everywhere throughout history -conflict theorists say poverty is due to capitalism -but capitalism is not as poor as other systems b/c they produce more wealth -structural explanations against capitalism -a poor individual in capitalist Canada has far more wealth than a fairly well to do person living in the middle ages (fatalism) -under fatalism most of the populations were peasants -forced to give most of what they made to the Lord/King Indirect explanation: -look at the differences in characteristics of those who are poor and not poor Culture of poverty argument: -says that people are socialized by other poor people -poor parents socialize their children -have this poverty mentality -therefore there is this cycle of povertypassed from one generation to the next -due to habits picked up from parents -no delayed gratification -being a student is an example of delayed gratification -in poverty group they find the need for instant gratification -delayedthe willingness to put off what we want Families Nuclear family: -cohabitating man and woman who have an appropriate sexual relationship and have at least 2 children -wife works at home and husband works outside of home and is the primary source of income (traditional) -many moral entrepreneurs: -someone who makes a living telling
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