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Melanie Heath

SOCIOLOGY 2R03 MIDTERM 1  REVIEW INTRODUCING STRATIFICATION AND INEQUALITY How do sociologists define inequality? • Systematic distinctions that we can ran k and which concern valued qualities (wealth, prestige, education) From where (or what thinkers) does our modern concept of equality derive? • Emerged in the 17 and 18 century • From thinkers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean- Jacques Rousseau What is the analytical distinction between inequalities of individuals and inequalities of position? • An organizational chart maps hierarchy of positions – these remain the same even as different individuals move through them o Whoevever occupies a psitions gets its status, authority and priviliges, and gives them up upon leaving • The degree of status inequality between people reflects the differences in opportunities available to the groups to which they belong What is the logic of the argument for individual explanations of inequality? • Some people are born with more talent and ability • Individuals can get ahead in society through drive and ability • Inequality exists because people have unequal levels of drive and ability How do sociologists approach the study of inequality and how does it differ from individual explanations? • Positions in modern economy carry unequal rewards because higher rewards are needed to attract trained and motivated people to fill the jobs important to a societies’ functioning What is the definition of stratification and what are the necessary components of the process of stratification? • A system by which society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy based on their access to scarce resources • Social differentiation o There are individual human differences which we could think of in two basic ways:  Natural/biological differences  Social/cultural differences such as differences in work people do or their level of income, status. Power • Hierarchy and System o Hierarchy reflects the idea that a social group in a stratification syste can be arranged above another o If something is systematic it means that it isn’t based on chance.  A system of social stratification is built around a set of criteria that ae used as the basis for : • Defining the place of individuals in a society • Defining the general relationship between individuals/groups • Inequality o Two basic types of inequality  Material inequality – relates to economic inequalities between people  Symbolic inequality – relates to less tangible things such as inequalities of status and power • Belief/meaning system o Refers to the way a set of related ideas is always used to support, justify or explain something in the social world What is the difference between ascribed and achieved status • Ascribed status o Denotes a social position assigned to individuals or groups based on traits they do not control such as gender, race or parental social status • Achieved status o Denotes a social position that a person can acquire on the basis of merit as earned or chosen How do the concepts of ascribed/achieved status relate to the concept of stratification? • Stratification has two different types of systems o Caste system  Social stratification based on ascribed status o Class system  Social stratification based on achieved status CLASSICAL THEORIES OF INEQUALITY What is the importance of Marx’s theory of class to the study of social inequality? • His theory implied that theory would have to be a revolution that would destroy capitalism and the eventual replacement would be communism which would create a classless society and therefore would be the final and permanent state of society Define mode of production • A specific combination of productive forces (these include human labour and available knowledge given the level of technology in the means of production) • Social and technical relations of production: these include the property, power and control relations governing societies productive assets, relations between people and their objects of their work and the relations between social classes • An economic structure of society that defines people’s mode of living. • Whole system (means of production + relations of production = modes of production) Define means of production • Physical, non-human inputs used in production along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital Define the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat • Bourgeoisie – o Modern capitalists who own the means of production and therefore get to keep the profits • Proletariat o Modern wage laborers who sell their labour to live and don’t get any of the profits that they help to create Define exploitation • When the proletariat work for bourgeoisie for less compensation than is equivalent to the actual amount of work done Define alienation • Has a double meaning o It is the history of increasing control of “man” over nature at the same time as it was a history of increasing alienation of “man” under industrial capitalism • Alienation may be described as a condition in which “men” are dominated by forces of their own creation, which confront them as alien powers Define surplus value • The bourgeoisie buy the products of the laborers at a cheap price, and then sell these products back to them at a high price in effect stealing the surplus value as their profit In the communist manifesto: how does Marx conceptualize the role of the bourgeoisie and proletariat in the history of class struggles • Capitalism creates huge factories workers become less concentrated and begin or organize for legal reforms (high wages, better working conditions) their efforts fail o Fierce competition between capitalists leads to new technologies which leads to lower costs In the communist manifesto: what are the conditions under which Marx believed that the oppression of the proletariat would end? • the abolition of every class • for the oppressed class to be able to emancipate itself it is necessary that the productive powers already acquired and the existing social relations should no longer be capable of existing side by side What are the similarities and differences between Marx and Weber concerning class and stratification? Differences • bases of inequality o Marx – purely economic o Weber – explanation involves economy, culture and power • definition of class o Marx – polarization – concerned with social relations between two classes in the productive sphere o Weber – stratification – concerned with class struggle but places more emphasis on the importance of valued objects and how some people accumulate more than others Similarities • Treated classes as economic entities Define class-situation • The typical chance for a supply of goods, external living conditions, and personal life experiences, in so far as this chance is determined by the amount and kind of power, or lack of such, to dispose of goods r skills for the sake of income in the given economic order Define status groups • Status inheres groups not individuals; groups have a common membership and group awareness • Class membership denotes power in the economic order and status groups are derived from social honor and prestige • When an economic class takes on the subjective awareness and cohesion of a status group, the result is a social class Define parties • Are organized structures that exist for the purposes of gaining domination in some sphere of social life Define status honour • Status groups are more likely to be formed on the basis of status honour than economic reasons • An ex
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