SYG 2010 Part 1.docx

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Sociology, Criminology and Law - Sociology
SYG 2010
Lauren Griffin

The American Dream is a set of tenants about achieving success  Absolute success- everyone is doing ok  Relative success- your doing better than someone else  Competitive success- not concerned about rank as long as your winning 1. Anyone can pursue success 2. We all have a reasonable assurance of being successful 3. Hard work is rewarded by success in the marketplace 4. Success is a virtue Flaws with the American Dream 1. The Dream says that everyone can succeed but Hochschild says that not everyone can play the game 2. We all have a reasonable anticipation of success. However, there’s difference between expectations and reality 3. Very individualistic. Success in the marketplace is a direct result of your hard work and ingenuity. But success and failure are entirely in our own hands. 4. Success should be pursued because success is virtuous. The problem is that success and virtue aren’t always related. Social factors have impact on whether or not someone can be successful TAM: Some people can’t participate as fully in achieving it as others, and those people are then seen as less virtuous because their lack of success Rethinking American Poverty  Poverty affects us all  We pay for the problems caused, even if we aren’t in poverty ourselves  Poverty is largely caused by the failings of the economic system, rather than individual failings  Poverty is a moral issue TAM: Damaging and unfair to people in poverty Inequalities  Fairness  Accept boundaries as natural or inevitable  Rationalizing our own privileges, and paintings those without as less worthy 1. Inequalities of position vs. inequalities of individuals 2. Status Inequalities vs. Positional inequalities  Often interrelated TAM: People typically like the idea of fairness, but recognize the inequalities they see in the world The Shadowy Lines that Still Divide  Class plays a big role  Less social mobility What is Class?  Edu.  Income  Occupation  Wealth The American Ideal  Researchers believed that social mobility was very high in the US  This idea was incorrect, and that it takes people much longer to change socioeconomic class Why don’t we talk more about class?  Hard to tell from possessions  Hard to tell political party  Hard to tell religion  Globalization  Tech. Change  Higher Education  Health  Homes  Family Life What happens now?  Economic trends are continuing- inequality persists TAM: Class getting harder to see and people don’t always agree on what it means Educational Inequalities  Education equal Mobility  Ignores many social realities  Education Gaps What are the social structures that contribute to success or failure in school?  Financing public edu  Poorer neighborhoods have poorer quality schools  Disproportionately impacts racial minorities and poorer students Family Resources  Health disadvantages  Less access to community programs and pre-school  Fewer resources at home to help them learn Higher Edu and Stratification  Hierarchy of edu  More prestigious credentials= higher lifelong earnings  Academic ability is important but money is often a determining factor Segregation  Students overwhelmingly attend schools where most people are like them TAM: Education is held up as an equalizing force in American life, it can also be a force for inequality. Much arises from the way schools are funded. Savage Inequalities School Funding  Poor neighborhoods are at a clear disadvantage when attempting to run high- quality schools Impact on Students  Poorer students notice different treatment  Lack of faith in school system  High rates of school failures  Students begin to drop out of school Family Resources  Kozol argues that one of the major factors is his/her family resources  Kozol points out that there are racist and classist elements to the traditional way of thinking about achievem
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