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Sociology Review Session

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SOCY 122
Rob Beamish

Essay clarification  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 located in.  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 that means.  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 action. Term stuff: Feminist sociology-  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 rd 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 ordr time”  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 feminine oppression.  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 Social Stratification  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 capacity.  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. Social Inequality  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 exists.  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
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