Social Reproduction #1
Social reproduction can be defined as the activities that bring about inequality from one
generation to another. It is evident in how women provide for families and children and how this
limits production for them.
Three Forms of Domestic Labour #2
The three forms of domestic labour are also part of reproduction processes and they include:
Maintaining the household: cleaning, cooking, gardening, shoveling of snow, mowing of lawns
all constitute this.
Caring for adults and children: It involves both caring about and caring for others. Caring,
meaning feeling of affection and responsibility backed up by actions to enhance well-being and
this can be seen done for both children and adults in families.
The processes involved in consumption or making ends meet: through distributive mechanisms
like wages, pensions, social assistance and so on individuals purchase food, shelter, clothes and
other necessities of life. Low income families who are not privileged to have this use creative
and strategic methods to make ends meet.
Gendered Division of household Labour #3
Division of house hold labor is gendered because women are seen as the primary household
laborers although this has somewhat changed. Women aged 25-54 spend an average of almost
two more hours per day on unpaid work in comparison to men but this declined between 1986
and 2005 for women by half an hour and increased for men by half an hour. Women tend to take
responsibility for day-to-day house work whereas men do household maintenance which is done
much more sporadically, so it’s no wonder why women most likely do majority of household
work compared to men.
This is also evident in provision of care for children in the household. One consistent finding is
that women are more likely to provide childcare in the household in comparison to men even
with their increased work in the paid labor force.
Motherhood and Gender #4
There are so many structural ideological expectations about what fathers and mothers are
supposed to do that it is extremely difficult for men to mother. Fathers are meant to be earners,
mothers are meant to be carers, and because these views are so deeply rooted in society, fathers
who care are viewed suspiciously and with concern. Men as Mothers #5
• Mothering compromises emotional, community, and moral responsibility.
• Fathers care for and nurture their children in ways that are quite similar to what we would
• expect of mothers, although there is sometimes a greater emphasis on playfulness and
• These fathers developed community ties and networks that facilitated their parenting and
provided avenues for their children’s extracurricular activities, but here too the emphasis
was on sport and activity
• And in the realm of moral responsibility, or the ideology around the should and ought of
parenting, there are so many structural and ideological expectations about what fathers
and mothers are supposed to do that it is extremely difficult for men to mother.
• Fathers are meant to be earners, mothers are meant to be carers, and because these views
are so deeply structured in society, fathers who care are viewed suspiciously and with
Compulsory heterosexuality # 6
Compulsory heterosexuality the lack of freedom women have to decide whether they will be
heterosexual or homosexual. Also refers to the pressures that confront lesbians when they are
forced to act as if they were heterosexual or risk facing discriminatory actions
- Adrienne Rich argued that heterosexuality is not natural but is a mechanism through which men
maintain their powerful and privileged status in society. The organization of productive relations
in capitalism reinforces compulsory heterosexuality because
* women’s success at work is often tied to their degree of femininity
* women often endure sexual harassment to keep their jobs
* women are economically dependent upon men because they earn less
Paid work and Labour #7
Inequality in the outcome of paid work is justified because the ideology of capitalism suggests
that good and bad jobs are distributed on the basis of individual merit. Good jobs are reserved for
highly educated and skilled workers whose contributions to economic activities are considered
more valuable than the contributions that others make. However, many sociologists are critical of
this point of view and instead recognize that if productive processes were organized differently,
the inequality associated with paid work might be reduced or eliminated.At the most fundamental level this would require the abolition of capitalism as the predominant mode of
production in industrialized societies such as Canada.
#’s 8, 9, 10, 11
Capitalist Executive Class
• Controls both the labour power of others and the means of production
Old middle class
• Aka petite bourgeoisie, commands the means of production but not the labour power of
New middle class
• Controls the labour power of others but not the means of production
• Neither commands the labour power of others nor the means of production
4 types of Alienation #12
1. Alienation of the worker from the work he produces. The product design and work
produced are not decided by him.
2. Alienation of the worker from working. Repetitive jobs offering little intrinsic
3. Alienation from the worker to himself. No potential to develop oneself
4. Alienation of the worker from other workers
Capitalist Growth 5 dimensions #13:
Capitalist growth (5 dimensions)
a) private ownership + control of means of production by relatively few people
b) continuous growth, such that owners of capital strive to increase profit
d) labor-wage exchanges
e) commodity exchange takes place in free markets, subject to supply and demand, which in turn
regulates economic activity
Good jobs vs. Bad jobs #14
People employed in good jobs experience relative comfort at work and a low risk of workplace
injuries or illness. These jobs tend to be intrinsically rewarding because they are challenging and
are characterized by high levels of autonomy and low levels of alienation. Good jobs are
extrinsically rewarding because they have things like high pay, good benefits, security,
Bad jobs on the other hand, often have physical environments that are uncomfortable and
dangerous or unhealthy. They have the opposite of good jobs. Capitalistic ideology suggests that these jobs are distributed on merit. But sociologists disagree.
Segmented labour markets #15
Segmented labour markets (the way in which hiring & firing happens is different btw. primary &
secondary labour markets)
• Primary labour markets (eg. Union jobs & auto-factories primarily held by white men)
• Secondary labour markets (temp work, grey economy)
Women tend to be put into secondary labour markets due to inequality
Human capital approaches to explaining inequalities in paid work #16
Human capital explanations of labour market based inequality suggest that individuals are sorted
into good jobs on the basis of individual skill, education, and experience. Hence, those who
invest more time in these things will reap greater labour market rewards, especially higher
incomes. We can’t dismiss this completely because it is true regardless of age, gender, ethnicity
and race. However these theories assume open competition for good jobs and that everyone is on
a level playing field when it comes to being able to invest on an education.And racialized people
have lower returns on educational investments.
Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and merely the
absence of disease or infirmity. Investigators should focus on factors such as socio economic
status and race or ethnicity because these shape individual exposure to all known psychosocial,
as well as many biomedical risk factors. These risk factors help to explain the size and
persistence of social disparities in health. Health education and awareness, access to prevention
and the capacity to avoid risk factors (ex: toxic neighbourhoods that poor people live in) all of
which are resources held by members of the middle and upper classes. They have a health
Mental Health #18
The prevalence of mental illness also varies according to social advantage. The poor, the young,
ethnic minorities and blacks have higher rates of mental illness than do well-to-do, older persons,
ethnic majorities, and whites. Accounts of the relationships between social factors, environmental context, and mental health
have focused on stress-process and vulnerability models.
Stress and health outcomes #19
Affects physical and mental health
- 2 main stress in current research:
1. Extent to which societal groups are exposed to chronic stressful events
- thus showing how inequality affects population mental health
2. Individual perceptions of stress and resources available for maintaining mental
- Those with less power exposed to more ongoing life stresses, have fewer coping
resources & social supports
- Ongoing structural barriers and disadvantages hinder the development of
(Perception of) control over your environment
- Psychiatric disorders more prevalent in people with disadvantaged class backgrounds
(less financial assets)
Lowest income earners = more risk for depression
Neighborhoods with high chronic stressors in the form of material deprivation &
residential instability assoc. with depression
- Class-linked stress: stress exposures that are largely dependent on social status
may be a predisposing factor for schizophrenia
Gender & Stress
- Differential exposure hypothesis: women subjected to more stressors due to heavier
domestic labour - Differential vulnerability hypothesis: women more affected by stressors due to a
“generalized female disadvantage in social roles and coping resources”
- Higher distress among women
- Women exposed to more stressors (esp. chronic stress and life events)
- Chronic stress = important health predictor in health outcomes
The rate of incidents of a disease
- Low-income earners have higher morbidity rates, despite universal health care
- Cancer & cardiovascular disease are leading causes of death
- Women experience higher degree of morbidity
Women live longer but have more disability throughout their lifetime
Mortality rate #21
Number of deaths occurring in a given population at a specified time period.
- Low income populations = more likely to attempt suicide
Men’s suicide rates higher
- Women’s mortality advantage – live longer
- States with more gender equality have lower mortality rates for men & women
Healthy immigrant effect #22
• Plays an important role in the studies of race and ethnicity
• Immigrant populations, particularly those from non- European countries exhibit better
health and live longer than Canadian born populations.
• This is in part because immigration to Canada is partly dependant on one’s good health
• This starts to dissipate after ten years • Although it is hard to explain some have attributed the dissipation to lifestyle factors such
as diet and physical activity and to social isolation and lack of access to health care.
Relationship between socio-economic status and health #23
Investigators should focus on factors such as socio economic status and race or ethnicity because
these shape individual exposure to all known psychosocial, as well as many biomedical risk
factors. These risk factors help to explain the size and persistence of social disparities in health.
Health education and awareness, access to prevention and the capacity to avoid risk factors (ex:
toxic neighbourhoods that poor people live in) all of which are resources held by members of the
middle and upper classes. They have a health advantage.
Researchers argue that higher socio-economic status enables individuals to marshal greater
flexible resources in protecting their health (ex: by moving to healthier neighbourhoods), and
they found significantly stronger relationships between preventable causes of mortality and SES
compared with less preventable forms of mortality. The author suggests, those individuals with
higher SES’s are able to better avoid health risks from known causes of disease.
3 dimensions of citizenship (Marshall) # 24
Marshall’s concept of citizenship organizes the rights and responsibilities of citizens into three
1. Civil citizenship: which includes basic human rights, such as the right to individual
freedom and justice in the courts of law
2. Political citizenship: which includes the franchise and the right to participate in the
3. Social citizenship (perhaps the broadest concept): which includes financial well-being,
social heritage and access to social services
This typology has been criticized for its generalization of the experience of white, European men
to represent the process of citizenship in general
Breadwinner/ Dependant family #25
• Traditionally the white, working class breadwinner has been seen as the ‘real’citizen,
deserving of the guarantee of social citizenship.
• Mothers’allowance (which evolved into Family benefits) was introduced in 1920 and
was only for First World War widows, who were eligible only from support from the government because they were not to blame for their own widowhood. This is the
breadwinner dependant model of the family. In this case ‘mother-citizen’was owed a
stake in social citizenship; however she had to adhere to the prevailing gender norms and
strict behavioural guidelines.
• The gendering of social policy is noted by Scott who argues that women were not granted
state support for their role as paid workers or even for their reproductive labour but only
as a proxy for their relationship to a bona fide and entitled worker.
Essay Question #1
“How is paid work organized by class, race/ethnicity, and gender? Describe the relationship
between paid work and each dimension of inequality in one paragraph.
Paid work is defined as any work for pay or for profit, in the context of an employer-
employee relationship or self-employment. Paid work is organized by three dimensions of
inequality: class, race/ethnicity, and gender.
The first dimension is class. Class is divided into four categories (1) capitalist- executive