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SOC 281 test prep.docx

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Bonnie Erickson
Study Guide

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SOC281 Study Guide
Compare and contrast (a) the impact of class on culture with (b) the impact of age and
generation on culture.
The similarities between the impact of class on culture and the impact of age and generation on
culture are that they produce stratifications.
Class position can be defined as the common ―location‖ certain individuals hold in the
economic and power structure of a given society
Social locations can be intersected with physical appearance, which is a source of ageism
O In class structure, Bourdieu would classify economic capital priority.
However, attractiveness could be a boundary for whether you have the ability to
attain such economic capital or not.
When it comes to age in North American culture, there is a cult of youth that favors young
over old and that suggests being young is to be vibrant, happy, and energetic whereas to be old is
to be tired, unattractive, and grim
o these cultural views do not take away from the status and power of the middle
aged, however they are detrimental to older adults.
o Just like dominant groups can define their culture as superior, those of middle-
age ‗attractiveness‘ can also define their culture as superior as well.
o Age structure serves the interest of dominant social classes
o Power does not seem to be derived from relations between age groups but
rather from relations between classes.
o they too can use ‗attractiveness‘ to legitimate their superior positions with
greater life chances
The reason why ageism based on physical appearance occurs is very much related to power
relations because ‗attractiveness‘ matters.
o For example, women are considered as old earlier in their lives because their
value is based on their attractiveness to men and their reproductive abilities.
Women age more quickly than men in workplaces where they deal with money,
power, and public achievement. This is especially true if they work jobs that deal
with the public or working for (predominantly white) male supervisors.

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o whereas, for men, attractiveness stems from other sources. Sometimes age can
enhance a man‘s attractiveness especially if associated with public achievement,
money, and power.
Note that these issues are shaped differently in different societies.
Youthfulness in Finland and attractiveness in Finland is not as important
for women as they are in the U.S.
Class plays an important role in another way as well. Through economic resources, lass
can play a critical role in denying or providing resources that allow the old to choose the ways in
which they will manage growing old.
o Remodeling and stalling an adding body is expensive and time consuming,
hence, beyond the reach of the working-class or poor.
o just like within class structure, if you have more money, you have more
choices. For instance, the more money you have, the more choice and freedom
you have to get a ‗face lift.‘ If you are at the bottom of the level, you get the most
o However, if you look at the situation on the basis of diversity and you are more
diverse (i.e. having grey hair, wrinkles), there tends to be less life chances in
Western culture. However, those with more diverse sets of culture in class
structure like both high and low-brow culture, you have a higher chance of
advancing in your social or economic situation
Hagar Shipley recognizes that certain privileges in society are distributed on the basis of
o Distinctions are made between the old, the middle-aged, and the young
o observes a connection between the young and the old because of their
relationships to the more privileged ―middle ones‖
There are also more privileges and more social solidarity for people at
the with higher class status than those are the bottom. These people tend to
be in the middle class. However, you cannot discount those who are older.
The privileges that are distributed on the basis of age relations extend to ____ in North America
o status and power and wage scales are established for teenagers not on the basis
of their maturity, intellectual ability, but by their chronological age

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People and roles are differentiated by an age structure, the elements of which are age
strata, age-related acts, age structure of roles, and age-related expectations and sanctions.
Moore and Lowe shows the importance individuals assign to age norms in determining
appropriate behavior is a function of the age of the respondent.
o For example, older adults tend to hold stronger convictions about age norms
than those younger than them.
o however, some argue that boundaries between culturally specified age
categories are becoming increasingly blurred as active lifestyles, and related
consumer products are being marketed to the aging baby boomers.
O the usefulness of this conceptualization comes from the idea that age
distinctions are fundamental in our society and that they influence patterns of
resource distribution for the youth, the middle-aged, and the old.
The fundamental processes in age stratification theory are cohort flow, individual aging,
allocation, and socialization.
o Allocation and socialization are the processes that intervene between the social
structures relating to people and those relating to roles.
Like social networks in class structure, cohorts play a crucial part in further stratification. Cohort
centrism is a term that refers to the error of assuming that older cohorts age in the same way as
ones one.
o Age tends to be treated in static rather than dynamic terms. Hence, most
literature on the cultural meanings that individuals attribute to age casts doubt on
the assumption that there are clearly defined age norms for different age strata.
However, in the class structure some people are mobile, upward or
Cohort differences in education have strengthened the age stratification system.
o for example, baby boomers started their lives early after WWII. Therefore, the
majority did not enter post-secondary education, instead they had families. When
their children grew up, economic times were a lot different. Post-secondary
education became more important, thus the increasing levels of education and
better jobs. Not to mention the time of industrialization and commerce (You‘re
welcome to expand or use different ideas)
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