Soc Indifferent and Inequality
Lecture 1 . Structural Functional Perspective and Social Inequality
What is structural functional perspective?
Framework that sees society as a complex system, suggests that society is complex.
When you look at things as an individual in society ▯you don’t see it how it
REALLY was/is. In other words, it is glorified.
You need to dig deep and excuse the surfaced mask/features of what you are
Individuals in society work for each other ▯YOU ARE WITHIN A UNIT
Family (the individuals) > community > city > country (the whole)
Systematic – societies always have a system (the right way to do things)
You need individuals to sustain a society
▯INDIVIDUALS ARE INDISPENSABLE
When population decreases – it is NOT good.
Population imbalance – higher death rate than birth rate
Temporary imbalance – population is always changing
This is a positive effect because imbalance allows for analysis and future
prevention (ex. 911)
Dysfunctional – (deviants/criminals/etc)
Leading to social integration and equilibrium. – they provide jobs (police)
Unifies everyone AGAINST dysfunctional elements (ex 911)
August Comte (father of sociology)
Society as organic whole
Social organism means society has life.
Individuals are functional
Law of 3 stages
Theological stages = super natural
Metaphysical stage = where we classify based on logic/knowledge Scientific stage =you believe in what you observe and what you can confirm as a
Social Darwinism = individuals that succeed in society, will survive/best fit.
Increase in size (population) leads to increase in complexity and differentiation.
Society goes through evolutionary charges.
“ in order to create an ‘ideal’ society, you much eliminate the ‘unfit’ individuals (the
Ex – the death penalty
“Over time the size (population) will increase.”
The Cycle = the fall and rise of nations.
▯When the structure of society changes – this leads to change in the functions
of people ▯
ex – movings from rural to urban = new structure.
As structure continues to change the functions of people will continue to change.
Socialization and control – process through which you learn everything.
adaptation to environments
Latency (maintain patterns) it is good to preserve culture/ religion or to keep
things the way they are.
Lecture 1 – CHAPTER 1
Social difference: individuals in society are different from one another,
Differences that are manmade (language you speak, religion, education, social class,
Differences those are natural. (Ex ; manwoman. Youngold, blackswhites) Using the biological difference to implicate that a women is inferior to men.
Social stratification – system of ranking individuals in terms of their access, possessions
and things that are valuable in society. (Property, money, education, family, cars.)
▯ ccess and possession of valuable things
▯those who own, and those who DON’T own will create inequality in
Who has access to these valuables?
In history – woman were not allowed to possess money – valuables.
Blacks were not allowed to be educated or have access.
Levels of Knowledge
Description finding out information through description
Explanation – testing of what was said
Prescription – getting the solution.
1. The caste systems
2. Hindu caste system (Muslim is the oldest religion.)
God used his power (by using different parts of his body) to create groups of people
God creates people who are not equal
a. Brahmans (from mouth) top class
b. Khashtriyas (from arms)
c. Vaisyas (from thighs)
d. Shudras (from feet)
e. Harijans (Outcastes) bottom class ▯the untouchables.
Social class in India really matters, live or dead. If you come in contact with an
untouchable, you need to go through a purifying process.
Brahmans and untouchables cannot be partners.
Story, an untouchable and Brahman feel in love and were hung because
they did not listen.
Untouchables became Christians to get relief from discrimination.
3. The Estate System
a. Nobility (first class)
c. Peasants (bottom class) (poor dedicated worker)
They came to US from Europe to find freedom and for equal
4. Social Class Systems (now)
a. Based on wealth, education, occupation, b. People can be so different from each other, but if they are rich ▯they
are in the same class. If they are poor ▯they are in the same class.
5. The Dimensions of Social Stratifications in the U.S.
i. Personal prestige
ii. Association (ex; greek life) Bohemian Club
c. Politic – the people who have political power, are not equal to those
who do NOT have political power. They are more powerful.
6. E Gilbert and Kahl Model
a. Capitalist class (1%)
b. Upper middle class (14%) work for capitalist class. Successful
c. Middle Class (30%)
d. Working class (30%)
e. Working poor (1315%)
f. Underclass (1012%)
Rich and poor exist in every neighborhood in the world ▯ they have for centuries
What is the difference between rich and poor from back than and now?
Back then, not much difference ▯
Now… rich have become richer, and poor have become poorer and the difference
7. Davis and Moore on Social Inequality (1945)
a. No society is classless (there is always inequality)
b. Stratification is a functional necessity – when you have a society based
on inequality ▯the people at the top can make the lower class do
anything. Authority has power (Parent vs. child)
c. Certain positions are more important and require special talent, skill
and training. (doctor, lawyer)
d. Social systems develop mechanisms and provide means to assign
occupational positions. (People who take opportunities, succeed,
although opportunities are not equal)
e. Motivation to succeed ▯creates competition between individuals.
a. Functional significance is a cultural phenomenon
b. Structural inequality leading to unequal access to resources
c. Stratification leads to status quo
d. Development of favorable self images
e. Produces conflict rather than integration in society Lecture 2. Classical Theories of Social Inequalities
Emile Durkheim (18581917) ▯you need integration
A. Social Solidarity
a. Mechanical solidarity
i. Simple division of labor
iii. Similarity of individuals
iv. Collective conscience
v. Individual ego not prominent
B. Organic Solidarity (complex society)
a. Complex division of labor
d. Increased individualism
C. Anomie the break down of social norms => results in something not
a. Social norms = accepted and expected behaviors
D. Durkheim and Social Inequality
a. Division of labor = more division labor = more inequality
b. Internal and external inequality
c. Class revolution ▯it will always create new classes
Max Weber (18641920)
A. Bureaucracy (are good) ; – he is in favor of vertical = status of unequal
ranking. Not in favor of horizontal social organization = equal status
a. Impersonality – positions can be occupied by anyone, people will
come and go
b. Hierarchy – there are unequal ranking (top and bottom)
c. Written system of rules
d. Clear division of labor
e. Contains precision, speed, unambiguity, knowledge, unity, produces
less frictions and is low cost
a. Rationallegal authority – given to an individual by the society and
that individual enjoys power over another individual (President,
b. Traditional authority given to individuals by society (Parents) c. Charismatic authority example; Martin Luther King
C. Social Inequality
a. Classes; position of an individual in the market that determines their
class position (putting a price tag on who you are).
i. Property classes – classes of those people how have property
ii. Social classes
iii. Commercial classes – classes of people who are in business, trade,
b. Status; all aspects of life determines by a social estimation of honor
i. Restricted pattern of social interaction
ii. Sharing the benefits within groups
iii. Status conventions and traditions – people of that same status tend to
iv. Monopoly over certain economic opportunities
c. Party; power within an organization for its leaders in order to attain
ideal or material advantages for its active members ▯people at the top
of a social tower, they will probably not talk to those at the bottom.
Ruling Class and Elites
A. Elites in Ancient societies kings/queens/emperors/pharos
B. Elites in agrarian societies land lords, nobles
C. Elites in industrial societies factory/corporation owners (they have indirect
control on political issues)
****Lecture 3; Conflict Perspective****
Society is complex – the things, the way they appear to us on the surface, are
usually not what they appear.
Suggests that there is a constant conflict among individuals, and among these
conflicts there are people who force you to stay. Conflict generates social change.
Ruling class will take down people in society (Irag).
Various parts of social do not fit together harmoniously
Social order through force
Limited resources lead to conflicts (imbalance=limited resources, high
Conflict is the major source of real change in society
Conflict theorists try to analyze who benefits from particular social arrangements. Marx look at social arrangements – family is a social arrangement, but family is not
equal. Male is superior and enjoys more benefits of the family.
Karl Marx and Conflict Perspective
1. Evolution of Society
i. Preclass societies –
ii. Asiatic Societies – (farming community)
iii. Ancient Societies – (includes old civilizations)
iv. Feudal Societies – (noblesemperor status) = ended due to
v. Capitalist Societies
Individuals aren’t equal; they can be as rich as to own property or dirt poor.
vi. Capitalist Societies
1. Cooperation – coownership of land (when a group of
people own a block of land)
2. Manufacture – independently owning/producing – slow
3. Modern – manufacture things in a factory, machines produce
mass products (workers are at the mercy at the capitalist.
vii. Forces of Production – things you need to produce products
1. Labor – you need workers that are capable and willing to
work in your factory. They need to be skilled.
2. Means of productions – you need the $$$, the building,
machinery and the technical knowledge
3. The Raw Material
b. Means of production = forces of productions but
forces of productions are NOT means of
ii. Class of Society
1. Bourgeoisie = means of production people
2. Proletariat = working class people (manufacture)
The different between rich and poor was NOT as significant as it is now. Now we
have a LARGE number of successful/rich individuals and LARGE number of very poor.
THE GAP KEEPS GROWING.
The more you exploit (not pay them well) the worker – the more your capital will RISE.
If you pay the worker $70capital grows by 30. If your pay your workers $50 – capital
grows by $50. Pay them $10 capital grows by $90.
“Middle class is not a class“—MARX
He says that middle class = upper class. Upper class individuals work for the
bourgeoisie. As the cap between rich and poor continues to grow ▯it will hit its extremes and
eventually capitalism will break and it will cause great conflict between bourgeoisie and
Only happens in a capitalist society ▯conflict between bourgeoisie and
proletariat leading to social change.
Religion is like a drug – bourgeoisie used religion to explain the inequality among
bourgeoisie and proletariats.
There are the participants, there are the ‘runaways’, there are the bistanders and
there are those who do not care.
From work you can be hired or fired
From the product – if you produce the product yourself, it is considered yours. If
your product is produced in a factory – it I not.
From other workers – there is inequality in the work place. – very top and very
bottom status. Hierarchy.
o This starts creating individuals that are alienating themselves from their
o Marx says; we have created alienated individuals in society.
Too much emphasis on economic organizations
Societies are not always under conflict ▯there is a constant conflict going on in
Social conflict is rarely bipolarized
Power is not always associated with property ownership
Conflict does not always lead to social change.
Social Institutions and Social Organizations
Social organizations = Stable patterns of social relationships among
individuals and groups in a society.
B. Main Features
Established structure. Ex; Greek life
Coordinated Functional Activities
The End (The Results) Agents of Ordering (how to maintain order in an organization)
Human agents (pres., VP, board members.
C. Operation of Social Organization
Creation of Human Relations
Provisions of Needs and Wants
Creation and Maintenance of Social Order
Predictability – predict things the way they are going to happen based on
Social Institutions – all the beliefs and all of the models of conduct
instituted by the collectivity. (Durkheim, 1938) ▯most of the people in most of the
societies do things based on what society WANTS them to do. (get educated, work,
Sets of rules and regulations to fit social needs.
Functions of Social Institutions
Social Control – political control
Preservation and Transmission of Culture
All of the social institutions are interdependent.
Politics, education, family and religion all revolve around economy.
What are Economic Institutions?
Social organization of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services in
Production of goods
Distribution – depends on the needs of the consumer
Consumption In every society there are different consumers (based on sex/race/education/religion/etc)
– for each consumer, the distributer WILL produce FOR them.
By linking these three variables – you will understand how economy works.
Economic systems of the World
o Means of production is all about the profit $$$$$
o Owned BY THE PEOPLE
o There is equality.
o BASED on capitalism – means of production are owned BY THE
o There is inequality.
o Basic needs for people are guaranteed
o Sweden/Netherlands/Norway ▯ “happiest places in the world”
Progressive tax – the more money you make, the more money in
tax you pay and vis versa
o Means of production are owned BY THE STATE
o Production for use, not profit
o No social stratification
o State is responsible for basic needs (food, house, health, education)
Globalization of Economy
Globalization refers to economic and political interdependence of nations around
the globe. = nations around the globe are DEPENDENT upon each other for
economy, politics, manufacturing.
Globalization of production
International Finance (World Bank, IMF, World Trade Organization)
Cooperation Among Industrial Nations
Third world debt
The rich become the richer – the working class become poorer
Nations heavily depend on one another
-Due to globalization richer becomes richer
-U.S is losing service jobs to other countries
~Globalization of production
-In practice for long time
-significant during colonialism
-50% of the goods produced in other countries come to the United
~International finance -Convenient; easy
-World Bank: Bank for nations
-World Trade Organization: Makes rules and regulations for international trade
NAFTA: (Canada, Mexico, U.S)
NotAmerican trade agreement
-IMF or International Monetary Fund: lends money to countries in need
~Cooperation among industrial nations
-Example: European union
~3rd world debt
-Socioeconomic Consequences of Capitalism
~Environment degradation: Not friendly towards environment
-Ascribed Economic Inequality
Inheritance of property
Inheritance of occupations
~Politics of Inequality
Politics is the exchange of power resources, that is, people using money, material
goods, knowledge, fame, and other people behaviors.
Max Weber defined power as the possibility of imposing one’s will upon the behavior
of other persons.”
~Education and Economic Inequality
~Legal systems and Economic Inequality
-90% of criminals walk free
-No justice in world
-Judicial system lacks
~Advertising and Consumerism
-Create perceived desire or needs for products that are not
==> Example: Toy in mcdonald's
-Planned artificial obsolescence
-Influence on the contents of mass media
-Over-emphasis on consumer goods and services
==> Leading to alienation
Socioeconomic Consequences of Capitalism Continued…..
Advertising and Consumerism
Create perceived desire or needs for products that are not necessary
Planned artificial obsolescence
Influence on the contents of mass media Overemphasis on consumer goods and services
If we add up all the money we (as a community) owe to the financial organizations and
than take all the money that we have collectively, we will NOT have enough money to pay
Strengths of Capitalism – some of the ‘problems’
Social Darwinism – in a society there is competition ▯we reward those who are
determined and hard working. We reward the “BEST FIT” in the society.
Competition leading to excellence
Creativity, innovations, and inventions
Motivation to succeed
Trickle down effect ▯economy is like a ship. If economy is strong, the ship goes
up. If economy is weak, the ship goes down.
Money is the Motive.
Two types of political decision making: interpersonal and societal
Interpersonal power: the ability to shape your life as your choose. These
decisions make little to no impact on other individuals; JUST OURSELVES.
Societal power: decisions that are made by others who are not subject of our
direct influence (payroll). The actions of the state are the clearest indication of societal
power. (decision to raise to price of gas). Societal power usually occurs only within
institutions (government, corps, the mass media)
Reform movements are relatively limited in terms of scope, direction of change
and methods. Their intent is the acquisition or subordinate groups or the resolution of a
certain issue to the benefit of some group.
Revolutionary movements are sweeping in scope and aim for a restructuring of
societal institutions and ultimately the class system itself.
Reactionary movements are regressive, designed to resist progressive changes in
the structure of inequality or perhaps even to recreate social hierarchies that existed in
Political Institutions and Inequality
Political institutions ▯an interrelated network or system of believes, activities,
organizations (political parties) and relationships that directs and regulated the collective
functioning of a society or other organizations.
State should be independent from religion.
Emergence of Political Institutions
Industrial Division of Labor Diversity, Anonymity, Individualism
We need institutions due to the shifts in society.
Components and Functions
a. State – framework used to make a government
c. Political parties – based on ideology
a. External protection
b. Internal order – political system used to make laws
c. Protection against natural disasters
d. Economic support
e. Benefit allocation
f. Public services
g. Legitimacy promotion
1. Social Contract Theory
a. Thomas Hobbes – pessimistic, “we are like animals”
b. John Lock—we were born clean ▯society is responsibly for what we
are and what we become. We are what we are.
c. Jean Rousseau
Social contract = long time ago when we lives in isolated communities, we did not have
laws/police/political institutions – we lived by laws and regulations of the masses Ł the
norms and values. (THE STATE OF NATURE*)
We are all products of society.
Hitler vs. Mother Terissa
2. Elite Theory – suggests that in every society, in history, there has always been
one group of people who rule
a. Social power in all societies is in the few hands known as elites
b. Elite control the major resources
c. Always endeavor to protect and preserve their power
d. They use means to rules the society
e. They are usually invisible in large societies and complex governments
f. Dramatic social changes are always resisted by the elites
In simple societies, elites are easy to spot. In modern complex societies, it is hard
to convince people there is a hidden elite society that controls us.
Elites = tiny groups whose members occupy the society’s top positions of power. Think
that average individuals have little say in what shapes society.
Masses = nonelites, are those who make up the vast majority of the society’s population Pluralist = see’s society divided into pieces and things that individuals have a
meaningful input. Sees a role for the “masses”. This is accomplished through the interest
group system. Purpose = Balanced the elites and the masses.
PACs = political action committees – organizations outside the official political parties
that are designed to raise and distribute money to candidates.
The more money you have, the more money you contribute to elections and political
Power Elites = major business, executive branch and military
Pluralist Model – suggest that interest groups and lobbyists who do not represent any
political party play a significant role in decision making process at local and national
Lobbying – paying someone to promote your agenda in the government. The more money
you pay, the higher your result will be.
Machiavelli ▯said neutrality will “kill” you. You need to be dominant and powerful.
Viciousness, greed, cruelty, and lust.
***all about the conflict perspective***
Educational Institutions Social organizations responsible for transmission of knowledge, skills, beliefs,
and values from one generations to another.
Socialization – process of transmitting socially appropriate beliefs and behavior
patterns to an individual.
Biological bases – instincts, childhood dependence, capacity to learn, language
Theories on socialization