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Geography 2410 class notes up to midterm.docx

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Geography 2410A/B
Jeff Hopkins

Class and Inequality in Canada Class Myths Myth of Class Inequality • “Working” class- proletarians • Most Canadians believe they are middle class and thus largely classless • No need to revolt o 19% had annual incomes below the average in 1970, In 2005, its at 53%...the gap between the have and have not’s are growing. o The bigger the gap between haves and have-nots determines the inequality. o Income equality is increasing in Canada. o Income Inequality- the extent to which income is distributed unevenly in a country. o Although the gap between the rich and poor widened, Canadians in the poorest income group saw their income levels rise, albeit minimally. (There’s growing inequality!) Why does it matter? High inequality raises a moral question about fairness and social justice, however there is no consensus on when income inequality reaches its tipping point. Over 70% of Canadians think the widening gap is against Canadian values. The majority of Canadians are willing to pay more to protect Myth of Class Mobility. Occupational mobility confused with class mobility. Working class mistakenly think they can move up a class. Opportunity for all: no need to revolt. And yet, it’s difficult to jump classes: education, talent, marriage, lottery and move south Myth of Class Gains. Proletarian material gains relative to upper class. I.e. phones, cars, Trivial distractions keep revolt at bay. Myth of the Self Made man Nobody can do it by themselves. Like culture, nobody lives in a vacuum…other people, groups and institutions train, teach and assist us all. Equal opportunity for all does not exist: born of different classes, parents and no choice in location of birth or childhood. Hard work is necessary but not sufficient to generate material wealth: holding 3 part-time minimum wage jobs is hard work! 60% of Canadians would have trouble paying the bills if their paycheque was delayed by a week. Myth of the Competitive Man Capitalism accentuates, encourages and is premised on competition: Jobs, products, etc.. Taken to the extreme—‘survival of the fittest’—then the Nazis had it right. E.g. Might makes right Humans are also co-operative by nature…we need each other! Class as Personal Attributes Class position or identities assigned to individuals or households. Derived largely from position in economy Classes have differing degrees of wealth, opportunity & power Classes occupy differing places, everyday geographies Major identities of ‘class’? Income, Occupation, Education. More education, more income… What percentage of Canadians own their home? 2001 census…27.7% without mortgage How man Canadian children grow up in poverty? 1in 5 kids Richest Canadians mostly just go on getting richer. What is the Purpose of Credit Cards? All about purchasing power Encourages excess consumption through a loan. On average Canadians are going into more debt Quick facts! Higher income students are twice as likely to attend higher education than lower income students. What’s the point? Income, occupation, education are major determinants and identifiers of class Wealth and access to opportunities, resources and power are not universal in society. Job mobility, not class mobility is more likely. Class division is alive and well: Canada is NOT class-less. Spatial/geographical consequences of class Class as Geographical Social geographies of ’everyday life’ deeply affected by economic relations and class divisions. Class identities are played out in space Class relations are played out in space Class inequalities evident in everyday spaces. Class identities are played out in space: where you work, where you live (home), how you travel, hat sports you play, what and where you eat… Class relations are played pout in space: Office job interview, public streets, economic protesters, striking workers Class inequalities evident in everyday spaces. Q: What possible explanations account for the inequalities in wealth? Among the answers… Economic modes of production. Spatial variations in resources. Political and social will Read Chapter 3 for this week. Meet in instruction room in Weldon for tutorial tom Lecture 3: Places of Leisure and Consumption 1. Leisure, Recreation & Tourism 2. Consumption &Consumer Spatial Behaviour 3. Retail Place design 1. A. Leisure: the time available to an individual wen work, sleep and other basic needs have been met. Leisure varies demographically. Most leisure time held by: very young, wealthy, retired and unemployed. More work and stress, less personal and free time. Leisure varies over space. British have more leisure time than Canadians Russia has 40 public holidays Sweden has 36 public holidays France has 35 days off Italy has 30 USA has 13 th Leisure varies over time. It increased over 20 century. From 53 hrs a week in 1900 to 42 hrs in 1999. BE AWARE! Some challenge contention leisure time increases over 20 Century. B. Recreation: Activities willingly performed after discharging of employment duties and social obligations What one willingly does during leisure time. A subjective attitude C. Tourism: temporary movement to destinations outside normal home and work place, the activities undertaken during the stay and the facilities created to cater to their needs. D. Recreation Activity Continuum Home based: reading, gardening, tv, socializing Daily leisure: theatres, restaurants, sports event, shopping Day trips: attractions, picnics, beach Tourism: overnight ‘away’ Geographic range: Home, Local, regional, National & international E. Geographical sites of Leisure places Primary site: inside home (backyard) Secondary site: outside home (local and regional place) Tertiary site: Away from home (international flight) F. determinants of activities Largely a function of class: age, income, education. What you do for a living impacts what you do in your leisure time. We do what we’re familiar with. With rise of leisure time, the rise of recreation and tourism industries: Entertainment, Sports (watching/participating), tourism, shopping. Consume places, materials and services for fun, employment, amusement. Leisure as a form of consumption 2. Consumption and Consumer spatial Behaviour A. Consumption: the process of consuming Consumer Culture: Thoughts, values, beliefs, actions that produce and re- produce the excessive consumption of material goods and services. How excessive is your consumption?? Google: ecological footprint…most Canadians need 5 earths! Commodification: the objectification of virtually anything as a commodity for the purpose of exchange in the market place. E.g. labour, images, sounds, experiences tourism! Tourism sector in Canada is highly developed…transportation, accommodation, food and beverage services and other tourism industries e.g. recreation & entertainment, travel etc… B. Consumer Spatial Behaviours Geographers study… Flowstravel patterns e.g. how far they’re willing to travel. C. Spatial Behaviour Tendencies Assuming shoppers are rational and optimizing, people become drawn toward perceived dominant centre. People won’t go thru one shopping area to go to another of perceived equal quality. Patronize closest shops with equal facilities. Follow habitual flows (habits). This is why places have point’s rewards and such. Habits include shopping at the same store or taking the same route to certain places. Will act on perceived images (hence advertising) e.g. place promotion Consumer decision-making imperfect. You can never fully know the market place. D. Consumer decision making 3-stage information model: Home-work journey, socializing (word of mouth), spatial equilibrium. Spatial Behaviour = Spatial Awareness Influence of Spatial Design on Consumers - Grocery stores are designed to get you in. They are designed to get you to buy more. - Product placement…more expensive at eye level - Retail environments are designed to influence customer spending. E.g. Smells, sights, locations of goods, etc… 3. Retail Place design - Retailers seek profit: music, pleasant smells, featured displays, product shelf location, lighting, stacking, free samples, packaging colour - How to maximize savings in such an environment? Make a list! Eat before you go! Know the layout, know what is where. Look below eye/ waist level. Consumption as a question of inequality and social justice - Inherent moral question of right or wrong about how we consumer for fun. E.g. shopping - What inequalities, if any, and what moral transgressions, if any, are produced or sustained through shopping in an everyday store? The paradox of choice How can choice prevent society from changing? Because were so busy with our job and what wine to buy and what we have, we don’t have time to change and what we do have we don’t want to jeopardize. If you’re obese and unemployed, it’s your fault, you made bad choices. You should question the choices people ask you. The structured choices are to be questioned. Advertising tells you you’re not good enough! Smells, looks, body etc… Existentialism: the human condition is one of perpetual remaking and you have choices to make. A. Community - Group of people - Local culture and connectedness - A group that shares commonality. - “A positive social relationship embracing a sense of shared identity and mutually caring social relationships” - Positive favourable - Relationship shared, structured - Sense feeling: belonging, caring Such conceptions criticized: - Over-romanticized - Sense of feeling so subjective and variable has no analytical value Contemporary geography recognizes: - The idea of community—the sense of identity and belonging—provides people with meaning and structure to geographies of everyday life Community is a structure of meaning or imagining. An abstraction, a mental concept. - Community has different meaning for different people - Used for political gains through appeals. We are Canadian yay. Communities have positive meanings: - Solidarity, support, belonging, trust, familiarity Negative meanings: - Privilege unity over difference, generates social exclusion (part of it or not), sets unrealistic vision B. C. Sense of Place - “Meaning and identities given to space through imagination and experience” - Intrinsic to the concept of community - Community is a ‘sense of place’ 2. Ty
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