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SOCI 1001
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Introduction to Inequality October 17 2013 Play the cards your dealtthe game of LifeAnyone can achieve material success if they work hard enough Everyone has the same opportunity to get aheadIf you are not successful its a result of personal failingMeritocracy getting ahead is based on individual merit which is generally viewed as a combination of factors including innate abilities working hard having the right attitude and having high moral character and integrity Myth of MeritocracyGreat many factors that impact on a persons ability to succeedAscribed statuses play a large role in the opportunities and barriers that people faceThere are structural issues not individual onesOur ascribed statuses impact on our achieved statuses Born into a family with moneyBetter health care benefitsBetter chance at attending universityExtra curriculars sports Better nutritionBorn into a family in povertyLack of nutritionStruggle to provide basic needs for their childrenHousingEducation job opportunities PrivilegeUnearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day but about which I was meant to remain oblivious like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions maps passports codebooks visas clothes tools and blank checksPeggy McIntosh Social StructuresThe way in which society is organized into predictable relationships patterns of social interactionSocial structure shapes the distribution of inequality Social structure guides our behaviour does not dictate everything Social Stratificationa system by which a society ranks categories of people in hierarchy based on property prestige and powerFive principles1Its social not natural2Its persistent even as societies change3Its omnipresent in nearly all complex societies4Its supported by ideology5Its happening at a micro level as well as a big scale macrolevelSocial InequalityThe long term existence of significant differences in access to goods and services among social groupsDifferences of wealth prestige and powerDimensions of Social InequalityAt the basic level this means that people are treated differentlySocial inequality results in and from the prejudice discrimination and oppression of certain people and groupsSocial oppression exists when one group exploits another for its own benefitsPrejudice attitudeArbitrary attitudes or beliefs and unfair bias towards or against a persongroupBased on little or no experience and projected onto entire groupPrejudice is an individuals internal perspectiveDiscrimination actionAction based on prejudice excluding ignoring avoiding threatening ridiculing jokes slurs violence unfair treatmentDiscrimination is an individuals external behaviour Systematic OppressionEmbedded in institutions such as media family religion education language economics and criminal justice and in cultural definitions of what is normal real correct beautiful and valuable
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