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Western University
Sociology 1020
Secil Erdogan

Theoretical Explanations of stratification Sructural explanations: Stress social organization of society, or subsystems in society, that contribute to poverty, including: a) Capitalist economies b) Social policy c) Ideological perspectives Strucutural Functionalism Social stratification is a vital part of the operation of society. It serves a positive function in the overall maintenance of society. Davis and Moore 1. Some jobs are more important than others 2. People have to make sacrifices to train for important jobs 3. Inequality is required to motivate people to undergo these sacrifices (and, in this sense, is functional) Criticisms – can you think of a job or an occupation that is important, but not highly rewarded in our society? ­ How is importance measured? ­ How is this system maintained? Conflict Perspective (Marx) CAPITALISM = INEQUALITY Social Reproduction: Born into a class = Die in a class Marx was concerned with poverty amid riches ­ Social stratification is rooted in people’s relationship to the means of production in society ­ Bourgeoisie – Capiutalists own and operate businesses. (they own the means of production – the factories) ­ Proletariat – Those who only own the means of their own labour and are forced to work for someone else to make them profit Marx envisioned that the workers would eventually overthrow the capitalist system (class consciousness) Criticism – Marx’s hypothesis has not rang true Why has revolution failed to occur? a) FRAGMENTATION OF THE CAPITALIST CLASS – millions of stockholders own large companies, so It makes it more difficult to point the finger at one source of the problem b) A HIGHER STANDARD OF LIVING - we have moved from being categorized as a blue-collar society to a white-collar society. Many people hold managerial positions in corporations, and the average person’s income is rising. Thus, we all have a greater stake in the system that exploits us. c) MORE WORKER ORGANIZATIONS – Workers now have the right to form unions and have organized themselves to fight for some more rights. So there is a perception that they have a some level of control over the structure of capitalism d) MORE EXTENSIVE LEGAL PROTECTION – has made workplace environments safer and has provided workers with more security Weber – Class, Status and Power Weber – agrees with Marx that social stratification causes class conflict, but he thought that the two-class model envisioned by Marx was too simplistic. Stratification is multidimensional: ­ Class – one’s class position ­ Status – social prestige ­ Power Conclusion ­ Income and wealth are unequally distributed in Canada ­ The government plays a small, but important, role inn redistributing money to children and families who are poor ­ Income inequality in Canada is consistent with most other postindustrial societies ­ Level of inequality associated with development of various types of societies ­ Most theories of social inequality focus on its economic roots ­ Social structure shapes the distribution of inequality Creation of a Global Village Factors in creation of a global village: ­ The internet (to plan trips, meet people, receive news and entertainment from home country, etc) ­ Fewer countries requiring visas ­ Easy access to funds – including currency conversion – while travelling (e.g. use of credit cards and ATM cards) ­ Spread of North America – style supermarkets and franchises (e.g. McDonald’s) ­ Significant increase worldwide in people who speak English The Triumphs and Tragedies of Globalization ­ Rapid movement of people, capital, commodities, and culture across national boundaries ­ NOT same for WEALTH! o Rather than spreading wealth, globalized industries and technologies may be turning world into more unequal place ­ Inequality between rich and poor countries is increasing. ­ Some anti-globalization activists view globalization as form of imperialism, i.e. economic domination of one country by another. ­ Is considered vehicle for cultural homogenization that is hurting both local cultures and the natural environment Sources of Globalization 1) Technology: Commercial jets, telephone, fax, and e-mail 2) Politics: is important in determining level of globalization (politically isolated countries have less integration with rest of world) 3) Economics: industrial capitalism is always seeking new markets,higher profits, and lower labour costs Transnational Corporations ­ Transnational corporations are most important sources of globalization today ­ Differ from traditional corporations in five main ways: o Depend increasingly on foreign labour and foreign production o Increasingly emphasize skills and advances in design, technology, and management o Depend increasingly on world markets o Depend increasingly on massive advertising campaigns o Are increasingly autonomous from national governments A world much like the United States ­ Much impressionistic evidence supports view that globalization homogenizes societies ­ Many economic and financial institutions around the world now operate in roughly same way ­ In realm of politics, United Nations (UN) engages in global governance, whereas Western ideas of democracy representative government, and human rights have become international ideals. ­ In domain of culture, American icons circle plantet: supermarkets, basketball, Hollywood movies, Disney characters, Coca-Cola, MTV, CNN, and McDonald’s McDonaldization ­ One common shorthand expression for homogenizing effects of globalization in McDonaldization: o Refers to spread of principles of fast-food restaurants, such as efficiency, predictability, and calculability, to all speres of life o McDonald’s now does most of its business outside of its country of origin, the United States. o McDonaldization has come to stand for global spread of values associated with the U.S. and its business culture Glocalization ­ “Globalization” and “Localization” ­ “Think locally, act globally” ­ The idea of adapting a global product or service to fit a local market. ­ Accommodate the consumers needs in the local market. Conform local laws, customs, or customer preferences Regionalization ­ Is division of world into different and often competing economic, political, and cultural areas ­ World trade is not evenly distributed around the planet, or dominated by just one country o Rather, three main trading blocs exist:  Asian bloc dominated by Japan  North American bloc dominated by United States  Western European bloc dominated by Germany o Each block competes against each other for a larger share of world trade Levels and Trends in Global Inequality Manhattan: pets can be treated to $100/plate treats Manila and Cairo: Entire populations live on dumps Cost comparison: More is spent in industrialized countries Levels and Trends in Global Inequality ­ Richest 1% of world’s population earns as much income as bottom 57% ­ Top 10% of U.S. income earners earn as much as poorest 2 billion people in the world. ­ Most desperately poor people are women ­ Racial and other minority groups often fare worse than… ­ Actual number of people worldwide living on less than $1/day peaked in 1950 and then started declining Theory of Global Inequality Modernization theory (A Functionalist approach) ­ Economic underdevelopment results from dysfunctional characteristics of poor societies ­ Lack of western-style agriculture, industry business techniques, governments and mentality emphasizing need for savings, education etc. Dependency theory (A Conflict approach) ­ Economic underdevelopment is result of exploitative relations between rich and poor countries ­ Colonizers prevented industrialization and locked colonies into poverty Core, Periphery, and Semiperiphery Immanuel Wallerstein argues capitalist development resulted in ‘world system’ comprised of three tiers: 1) Core capitalist countries – major sources of capital and technology in the world (US, Japan, Germany) 2) Peripheral countries – major sources of raw materials and cheap labour (former colonies, such as Guatemala and Angola) 3) Semiperipheral Countries – former colonies that are making considerable headway in attempts to industrialize Recommendations to Reduce Poverty in Developing Countries ­ Are several reforms needed to
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