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Implications of Inequality Lecture Notes.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC220H1
Professor
Josh Curtis

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Description
Implications of Inequality – Lecture Notes: Mitch’s Presentation ­ Why no response for inequality? 1) A Different Kind of Inequality Growth • So Inequality grew because the rich got richer and maybe even more importantly the number of people in  actual poverty in Canada stayed roughly the same since 1980.  In sum: • Income inequality grew due to very rich getting richer, everyone else’s incomes stagnated • ­ Wealth grew for everyone but the bottom 20% of earners though so mostly everyone saw an  increase to their financial well­being (The rich made the most gains in terms of wealth too though by far) 2) Globalization - We also experienced a large increase in globalization in the mid­1990s, does anyone know why? o It was because of the free­trade agreement that was signed in 1994 between the US, Canada, and  Mexico! • the result of having to compete with third world countries has meant that manufacturing has declined in  Canada. Manufacturing jobs used to be high paying jobs that required little education due to strong unions  and unionization rates.  3) Rise of Dual Income Earners • Due to inflation, often two incomes are necessary • Further, inequality between households has grown worse due to dual income earners as there has been  an increase in marital homogamy or people with similar education and income marrying each other • This has been complicated by women entrance into the labour market as now workers are dissimilar  in experience often in terms of gender as well 4) Lower Class Diversification  •  Relative deprivation theory  is based on the idea that we make comparisons and can feel unfairly  disadvantaged depending on how we interpret the other group and where we stack up to them • Gender also complicates matters because with the rise of dual income earners that we just talked  about families are no longer defined by what the father does  - Increase of immigrants ­ Immigrants tend to often be relegated to lower wage positions due to foreign  credentials and work experience not being recognized - a response to rising inequality for two reasons: •  Immigrants add another dimension of diversification to the lower class, which again eats away at that  common experience class is based on   Post Materialism:  “individuals have moved away from collective material interests based on social class  to more individualistic concerns…” 5) Rise of Debt • Debt is invisible inequality • Debt is a big reason why inequality has grown – we just cant see it • People make less but the borrow more and debt allows them to have today what they wouldn’t be able to  afford for years if they had to pay it outright  • Debt is one of the greatest threats to the Canadian economy right now • Conditions have gotten worse for the very poor partly because welfare payments have been greatly  reduced Guest Speaker • From materialism to post­materialism: value shift and explanations • Case of china • Since WWII “New values” emerged and provoked “New social movements” (NSM) • Inglehart’s Explanation 1­affluence argument, 2­early socialization argument, 3­cohort replacement  argument • Economic/modernization theory • Assumption 1­ economic factors are the most important predictors of social change (national  GDP per capita, individual income) • assumption 2 – economic factors play a positive role in social change • critics of inglehart’s theory – empirically and methodologically • problem is that all 3 hypothesis are based on individual mechanism • alternatives of his theory – cultural explanation • Problematic assumptions in literature – values are always advancing • Economic factors always have a positive effect on value advancement • Cultural factors always have a negative effect on value advancement • Research question method: factor analysis • Question on exam – father’s social class – fathers class makes no difference if class doesn’t matter, is it  supporting the theory or isn’t it? – *Fathers class does not matter, gender does not matter Implications of Inequality – G+G Chapter 23 Gender & Health • Before capitalism, women and men lived equal lives. Now women live slightly longer than men do • Women and men die for equally the same reasons; however, men are more likely to die from major causes of death than women. Why is this? a) Women are more likely to accept the sick role than men b) Women are more in tune to ‘minor problems’ which could lead to big problems c) Men are socialized to engage in ‘risky behaviours’ d) Women are more likely than man to engage in healthy behaviours • Women are more likely to report psychological distress and chronic strains than men. This happens because women have more roles to enact than men (mother, working, double day, kids), make on average less money than men Race & Health • Racism affects how minorities are treated in every aspect of their life (healthcare) • Discrimination becomes internalized, resulting in mental distress, physical ailments • Adapting to Canadian diet (hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza) opposed to their healthy diets back at home (traditional foods) • Aboriginal Canadians experience highest mortality rates: a) Suicide rates are higher b) Socioeconomic status is lower c) Discrimination translates into mental and emotional turmoil Social Class & Health • Why do wealthy people have better health? a) Wealthy people tend to congregate together in the same neighbourhoods (this means less crime, more green space, fewer bars, more supermarkets) b) Are exposed to good environments, have good nutritional needs, can access healthcare (basically the opposite for poorer people) c) Are better educated (allows for better access to information, decision making, social networks) d) They can afford more expensive food (organic, nutritional opposed to frozen and microwavable which tend to be cheap like Pizza Pockets) Sexual Orientation & Health • Why does the LGBT community have more health problems than heterosexuals? a) Intense discrimination translates to chronic stress (anxiety, depression) b) Risky sexual behaviours c) Increased suicidal attempts (due to discrimination+ low levels of social support) d) Discrimination in the workplace leads to lower SES (lower Socio Econ Status means lower standards of living like cheaper foods, poorer environments) Conclusion a) Canada’s healthcare system does not play as big of a role in promoting health as it markets b) Preventative measures and infectious disease preventions (shots) are great however, preventative measures for ischemic heart disease and obesity are terrible c) All 4 factors (Gender, Race, Sexual Orientation and Social Class) have one common theme: less education means lower income d) Social inequality is NOT addressed in the Canadian healthcare system Implications of Inequality - G+G Chapter 26 Introduction o Tolerance is a desirable trait in a democracy and a part of Canadian identity o Doesn’t mean that all groups have same level of acceptance o Assess whether inequality affects intolerance towards minorities, immigrant and gays Arguments for an Effect of Socio-economic Position on Intolerance o Intolerance of “Out-groups” o evidence suggests intolerance is related to perception that “out group” poses a threat o the lower economic classes have less economic security and thus feel more vulnerable to out-groups o many argue that education, not economic position, affects tolerance: research that shows otherwise usually neglects the role of education or employ social status that’s at least in part based on education o additional theories such as the individualization thesis + post-materialist thesis suggest economic condition not relevant to intolerance Social Identity Theory and Intergroup Conflict o social ID theory claims relationship between econ. position + intolerance is driven by intergroup conflict o lower classes- likely to believe they experience negative consequences due to presence of other groups o e.g. working class fears that immigrants will take their jobs but the middle classes do not Parochialism and Ignorance o Unjustified perceptions of threat result from lack of knowledge of the “out group” o Localities are people who mostly only in contact with those similar to them, cosmopolitans see themselves as belonging to a larger world, we might expect localities to be less tolerant o Evidence shows lower classes have less diverse networks Working-Class Authoritanisms and Conformism Lipset’s theory
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