Mills told us that sociology’s task and promise is to create within us a sociological
imagination. To think sociologically is so different from our individualised society
operates. You know you are doing it when you take personal troubles, individualised, and
see how they are manifested, maintained by the larger social structure you find yourself
Example: unemployment, one-person unemployed living on the street, it is an individual
problem. If many have this problem, and the recession has caused it, people get together
and say wait a minute! There’s something going on in larger structure of economy that
makes it difficult.
Whole course premised on getting you to think like this.
Location, location, location- specific structural circumstances.
Show the person who’s marking is that you can think sociologically and you know what
You can take some information that you’ve learned, and show that relationship between
macro/micro, which is the same as saying structure and agency.
Recursive yet changing nature of social action- the issue underlying have changed in
social context, but the actions are still repeated.
Links to Durkheim: sense that the social world is sui generis, it is outside of you, you are
born into it, it socializes you, it punishes you if you don’t conform, and it’s there after
you die. Whole notion of socialization process.
We know why its recursive, but why does it change? Durkheim diminishes personal
agency, there should be some sense that you can pull yourself out of your misfortune.
If it was true that we are all hyper-socialized, would any female be in this room right
now? No, so something changes. This is what you are being asked to do, senses of
agency, senses of structure- which has more power?
Social mores, values change, but they change very slowly.
The employer-employee relationship is socially constructed. Constructed by values and
morals of the individual that places them on either side of the relationship. Micro
personal imputs, as well as macro social factors such as family dynamics, impacts where
you stand on the corporate and public ladders.
Make you think of two coming together in a more synthetic manner.
Some employees push the boundary of their treatment/alienation. Create collective
1 wave: weren’t questioning structure of society, were just saying they wanted to
participate equally. Right to vote. Liberal feminists.
Beauvoir, in between two waves, The Second Sex- Women as other, men as center.
Socialized into being a woman, you are not born a woman. Gender is socially
constructed, masculinity and femininity both. There are in between.
2 wave- more intimate, personal issues such as sexuality, rape, incest, women and the
right to work, job equality, things much more personal, they also have a critique of the
structure/patriarchy. 2 Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique- The problem with no name, dissatisfaction of
women in the 50s, 60s felt about being a housewife. I must be a terrible wife, I’m
dissatisfied even though I have a great family. Problem of social structure- women being
told to leave the roles they stepped into once men went to war, they are being told what to
value, especially valuing the home. Personal trouble because they think it’s just them, but
it’s all of them, so it’s actually a structure issue. Friedan, consciousness raising.
Kate Millett- Sexual Politics, patriarchy, etc.
2 cultural feminists- genders based on central characteristics. Against Beauvoir, men
are like this, women are like this. But then when you move into 3 wave, there is nothing
essential about gender, but it is constructed.
3 wave, away from westernized, white feminism.
Mohantey- Criticized production of the Western woman. Criticizing grouping of all
women together. Rejected westernized, European feminism, because it is not
representative of all women.
Judith Butler- gender is performance. We express our masculinity/femininity based on
how we act. Sex is biological, and gender is how you are perceived, how you go about
your daily life, and how you perceive yourself. Fits into notion of how things are
recursive. Not two extremes, but a continuum, we perform gender in many ways. If you
want to break out of the Feminine Mystique, perform in a different way. “Stylized acts
3 :Barbara Smith- Black feminist movement, very strong in 80s and 90s. Critique of
white middle-class universalizing notion that everyone has the same experience of
Hegemonic- dominant culture in a group. Hegemonic notions of masculinity and
femininity that we are socialized into. We can look at sexuality in terms of preference in
terms of a continuum as well. Ideology that everyone is heterosexual, we all compelled to
be, although many people are not. There are social consequences when people don’t fit
into that norm.
Social Stratification and Meritocracy
Two different ways of looking at the world
Strata is layers, like a cake. Classification of people based on their class or
socioeconomic position. From Bourgeoisie, middle class to working class.
You can move between them, pull from ranks of privilege, or rise through the stratified
system. Climbing the social ladder, social mobility
Meritocracy-social system based on merit, what you deserve. Your place in hierarchy
based on merit. You need quality of condition, same opportunities to be able to say that
the race to the top was fair. Everybody can be in the race, and has the same training
Davis and Moore.
A single mother can try her hardest to get out of lower class, there is a part of it that
hinders her opportunity to move upwards. Structural conditions of the individuals
personal problems. The quality of condition is not the same for everybody.
Not everyone is born into the same situation, i.e. the rich stay rich. Porter- The Vertical Mosaic thought Canada was a set of tiles. Written in a point of time
where people thought they lived in a meritocratic society. He says sort of, but not really.
There is a verticality to it, but rather than being these nice layers, it is made up of a bunch
of tiles. You can move between tiles easily, but moving up is hard. Inequality of
opportunity, we tend to be fixed into small areas of the social structure.
Clement, looked at the class structure, built on Porter’s work, we are not quite in a
meritocratic society like we think we are.
Capital, and labour. The middle-class is disappearing, this means that the rich are getting
richer and the poor are getting poorer. Climbing the ladder becomes really hard.
The idea is that social mobility isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Term gives insight into how they see the world, how they view the social inequality that
Most of us tend to think we live in a meritocracy, and if we don’t we think that it is the
best way to share resources.
Some positions pay more b