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SOCY105- Sociological Imagination, Intersectionality, Oppression, Privilege, Power, Class & Classism.docx

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University of Maryland
SOCY 105
Beverly Pratt

SOCY105 9/5/12 Sociological Imagination (C Wright Mills): recognizing the intersection between our personal biography and history - It’s inherently biased - Value- Free Sociology (Max Weber)- doesn’t really exist b/c everyone is biased o Important what we do w/ our bias Founders: Carl Marx, Darkheim, Max Weber, WEB DuBois - Used by media, politicians, lawyers, psychologists KEY TERMS: 1. Sociological imagination a. Intersection between personal biography and history, inherently bias, going beyond boundaries of own experiences, building relationships, empathy, distinguishes between troubles and issues (indlv vs society), coined by C Wright Mills. b. Answered using three questions, used by social scientist, media, politicians, lawyers. 2. Oppression 3. Privilege 4. Power 5. Intersectionality 6. Social justice US has multiple troubles rooted in patterns of racial, gender and class oppression When solving puzzles, important to - Think outside of the box - Understand complex layers - Realize that problems can be multi- dimensional Sociological Imagination (C Wright Mills)- “a quality of mind that will help us use information and to develop reason in order to achieve lucid summations of what is going on in the world and of what may be happening w/in ourselves” - Kaufman (1997)- “…encourages us to recognize the intersection between personal biography and history. The real analyst of the social world is able to…understand how personal biography intersects w/ history to inform the social reality.” - **Equips us to understand history and biography and the relationship between the two w/in society Questions using the socy imagination 1. What’s the structure of this particular society as a whole? 2. Where does this society stand in human history? 3. What varieties of men and women now prevail and don’t prevail in this society and in this period? Distinguishes between “the personal troubles of milieu” and “the public issues of social structure” - By troubles- occur w/in an individual’s character and w/in the range of his relations with others o Ex. Agency, people - By issues- matters that transcend these local environments of the individual and the range of his inner life o Ex. Structure, people (societal) - Structure (race, class gender, sexuality) vs agency (how we act w/in structure, personal action based on structure) Preface: (Anderson and Collins) - Social dynamics of class- relationship to gender and race is changing - 2009 global financial crisis - Race, class and gender shape social issues and experiences in US - Intersectionality or matrix of domination is central (experience of being gay man differs from straight) - Ability to center oneself in lived experiences of others is important to grasping importance of social factors (empathy) 9/10/12 Employing Sociological Imagination (Iphone) - Description - Local Analysis- own relationship to object - Global Analysis- other people’s relationship to object - Historical Analysis- what it looked like before and may be in future Empathy- stepping into other’s shoes Someone else has design for your resource “While nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer, it is more difficult trying to understand him” Intersectionality- matrix of domination/ oppression - A type of paradigm- fundamental models’ frames of reference we use to organize our observations and reasoning o Difficult to recognize b/c explicit, assumed and taken for granted - Each is a mosaic of many identities o Sexual identity, ethnicity, age, class, race, religion, sex, ability o Race, class and gender are interconnected o Identities are multiplicative, not additive - Multiple identities and all of them together affect experience of each of his identities (man identified as latino affect experiences of his gender & sexuality, experience how identify his sexuality affect how experience his gender and race) o Experience of being a women/ middle class different between a latino and black person - Concept developed from sociology, black feminist thought, cultural studies, critical race theory (Law schools) Informs understanding of complexities of how people experience privilege and oppression based on social group memberships - Markers of difference that do not act independent of one another - Our various social identities interrelate to negate the possibility of a universal experience of any one manifestation of oppression Ex. Privileges of a straight white male are greater and more dominant than a latino, gay man Oppression: an overarching concept w/ many different manifestations - Racism, ageism, heterosexism, classism, religious oppression, anti-Semitism Race, Class and Gender - Remain foundations for systems of power and inequality, most significant social facts - All social groups located in system of power relationship in which social location shapes what you know and others know about you o People in powerful positions w/ clear access to power and education had social construction of reality and knowledge - Be self- reflected to know what own biases are, be less critical - Additive Approach- comparing and adding people’s identities and how related to other people - Diversity Approach- thinking others who are different from the norm - Multicultural Approach- celebrating different cultures and races 9/12/12 Missing People & Others: Joining Together to Expand the Circle - Went for presidential interview at university, told was very one dimensional - If not let into front door (of church) go from the back, side or windows - Always felt like a minority in the US, especially in school Toward a New Vision [Collins] - we should recognize that our differing experiences w/ oppression creates problems in the relationships among us - Through this recognition, need to build coalitions among common causes. - Must build empathy to do so Oppression - A system that maintains advantage and disadvantage based on social group memberships and operates, intentionally and unintentionally on individual, institutional and cultural levels o Individual- attitudes and actions that reflect prejudice against a social group o Institutional- policies, laws, rules, norms and customs enacted by organizations and social institutions that disadvantage some social groups and advantage other social groups  Such as religion, government, education, law, media ,health care system o Social/ Cultural- social norms, roles, rituals, language, music, art that reflect and reinforce belief that one social group is superior to another  ex. Display of paintings of presidents who are white and male, feel out of place - Marilyn Frye (Oppression): created metaphor that America is a bird cage b/c as a bird in cage that wants to get free only see one wire at a time, knock one wire down realize it’s connected to other wires so feel oppressed b/c is a complex web o From the outside, must empathize to understand what bird is feeling o Focus on gender FEATURES of OPPRESSION - Pervasive- social inequality is woven throughout social institutions and is embedded w/in individual consciousness - Restrictive- structural and material (money) constraints that significantly shape a person’s life chances and sense of possibility - Hierarchical- dominant/ privileged groups reap advantage from disempowerment of targeted groups - Complex, Multiple, Cross- Cutting Relationships- o power and privilege are relative depending on own identity o Individuals hold multiple complex/ cross cutting social group memberships that configure relatively to privilege or disadvantage o Identity isn’t additive, it’s multiplicative (matrix of domination) - Internalized- lodged in human psyche Privilege - Exclusive advantages or benefits afforded to certain people based on their group identity/ status o Often unearned and invisible for people enjoying them o But can also be visible and embraced by those enjoying it o Exempts some classes from rules/ standards that are applied to others o Systems of oppression- keep privileged groups distant from the effects of oppression  Conscious/ unconscious, individual/institutional/social cultural, attitude/ behavior - Tim Wise (Pathology of White Privilege) and Peggy Macintosh (Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack) talk about privilege - Unearned access to resources (social POWER) only readily available to some people as a result of their advantaged social group membership o Ex. Having access to health care, feeling physically safe in places, being seen as an individual rather than stereotyped as a member of a certain group Social POWER - Amount of control someone has - Amount of social, political and economic influence people have in the wider society - Use of social identity to access resources and to produce an effect - Unequal distribution of power - Born into power based on race, class and gender Agency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. Structure is the recurrent patterned arrangements which influence or limit the choices and opportunities available. Understanding social problems (Opp/ Pri) is a process  Reflect on your own personal story and how it connects to the larger society  Agency connects to structure 9/17/12 White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack - Knapsack was metaphor for white privilege - Contained “unearned privileges” - Men don’t understand they do have privileges and in women studies, being white she experienced some too
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