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Racial & Ethnic Inequalities

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January 25th 2010
Gender Inequality: Lecture 3
Gender relations are often unequal
Any relationship with inequality is troubled
Sex vs. Gender: Difference between sex and gender, sex is the biological
characteristics that make a person biologically female or male. By gender, we mean
the social expectations that people describe masculine and feminine. Social
construction is the process that makes sex differences seem large or small, important
and unimportant
Northern European countries have low fertility; notion of romantic of men and
women is much played down compared to societies with women who are having 5 or
more children.
Decline in birth rate, improvement of contraceptives is an important factor, and with
these contraceptives you have choices and men and women both have choices rather
than just the men.
What is domination? Why have women been dominated? Max Weber defines
domination as the probability that certain specific commands or all command will
be obeyed by a given group of persons
Examples of such dominances can be seen on parent-child relationships, employer-
employee relationship, student-teacher relationships
You see women deferring to men, with no gun held to their head
Where are these patterns of dominance coming from?
Domination is a power relationship that implies voluntary compliance or obedience
People obey because they have an interest in doing so, or at least think they have
such an interest
Weber: says if we want to understand dominance we have to understand different
between authority and power is precisely that people are obeying because there is
some legit right to obedience. He says what creates this legitimacy?
Usually there is a belief in the legitimacy of the actions of the dominant individual
or group
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Obedience is not haphazard or brief by sustained institutionalized
Webers definition is a useful way to examine all unequal relationships that become
regularized or institutionalized
The relations between men and women show attempts (by men) to routinize patterns
of dominance and tempts by women to subvert dominance
Over time, gendered marital inequality creates a permanent pattern of dominance
and subordination within the home and the larger community
Three type of legitimate domination according to Weber
Traditional authority: authority that is legitimate by tradition, no one has
questioned it
Rational-legal authority: we will do it a certain way, because there are rule and we
have to follow them
Charismatic authority: obedience based on emotional attachment, we want to be a
Ilimerance: lasts two years
Patriarchy as Authority
We grant legitimacy (or authority) to a power arrangement when we consider it valid
Powerful people eliminate the need for naked force if they can convince subordinates
that they really ought to obey and that is failure to obey then is immoral, sick, or
In many societies patriarchy has served as a legitimating ideology
The head of household myth
Today patriarchy has come to mean male domination of any kind
The traditional patriarchal head of household ideology refers to the principal
earner in nay household
In theory it could refer to the oldest or highest earning femalebut rarely in practice
Using normality as a stick
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