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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Social Inequity.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 101
Professor
Barry Mc Clinchey

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Social Inequality Chapter 7 What is Social Stratifaction?  Social hierarchical ranking of people into social classes  Social class: based on birth and achievements in life  Social status: individual’s position within class structure  Based on key principles o Societies redistribute materials and social rewards to individuals (food, social prestige, money)  Ensures individuals who do more or are more capable receive more material wealth and social recognition  Allocates limited resources who offer greatest benefit  Meritocracy: system of rewards based on personal attributes and demonstrated abilities  Achieving what they deserve o System is stable overtime -> social stratification transcends any single generation  Social mobility: movement between social classes  Intergenerational mobility: comparison of adult children’s social class to that of their parents  Intragenerational mobility: status movement throughout one’s lifetime  Measures society’s equality of opportunity  Has little relationship to skills or abilities o Present in all known human societies, but varies in how it expresses itself  We are quick to judge those who achieve great wealth in unethical ways o Criteria by which people are granted prestige and wealth are considered fair and just by majority of population What is Social Inequity?  Results from collective decisions about what is important in evaluating a person or group  Minority, women, less education, etc.  Results from system that ranks people from high to low on subjective criteria like gender or minority status o Subjective: no material influence on whether person can actually perform a particular job o No inherent necessity for gender based jobs  Subjective Method: o Ask men and women to rate their own status  Reputational Method: o Ask others about others o Asking about social category  Objective method: o Examining behaviour patters of different statuses Classism  An ideology that suggests that people’s relative worth is at least partly determined by their social and economic status  “the ideology of competitive individualism”  grounded on idea that everyone starts out with same chances of success o “American Dream”; cornerstone of capitalistic ideology  belief that wealthy deserve what they have and that poor are responsible for failure Blaming the Victim  perspective that holds individuals responsible for negative conditions which they live  accepted by general population  culture of Poverty: fatalistic belief system held by the poor as an adaptation to systemic discrimination o poor feel marginalized, helpless and inferior high divorce rates  deferred gratification: ability to forgo immediate pleasures in the interest of achieving grater rewards in the future o middle class know how to save money, study and work hard to reap benefits o poor are lazy and responsible for their plight Blaming the System  perspective that holds systemic discrimination exists within social system  explanations for poverty argue that larger socio-economic system imposes certain restrictions on members of society  Deindustrialization: transformation of an economy from one based on manufacturing to one based on services o Creates poverty in a manner beyond control of any individual  Poor lack of skills needed to compete for new, more highly skilled jobs that replace industrial jobs  Anti poverty programs may be able to compensate for structural factors that cause poverty Social Inequality Chapter 7 From Perception to policy  Huber and Form (1973) o Found wealthy and middle class Americans saw themselves as deserving of wealth and status  Their success was result of their own abilities, skills and effort o Poor more likely to see their plight as being result of structural factors such as lack of opportunity, high unemployment rates, failure of society to provide adequate schooling  Newman and Smith (1999) o Perceptions have important policy implications for government  If poor people lack motivation, government should focus on reducing people’s dependence on subsidy programs like welfare  If poverty is viewed as structural barriers for poor, then policy makers should focus on increasing educational and occupational opportunities for everyone  Classists lead people to reject policies that would help disadvantaged to overcome structural factors, limiting opportunities to improve chances of upward mobility Closed and Open Social Systems  Closed systems: based on ascribed status; status associated with attributes people are born with such as race and sex o Caste Systems: ascribed systems of hereditary class designation  No social mobility  Central component of who they are and determines virtually everything in their lives (wear, marriage, jobs)  In Indea:  Brahmin: teachers, doctors, politicians  Kshatriya: warriors and politicians  Vaishya: merchants and artists  Shudra: workers in service occupations  dalit: untouchables o have no caste; oppressed, downtrodden and exploited  caste system not based on wealth; can’t change it from wealth o reincarnation  Indian Constitution of 1950 abolished caste system o Provides government opportunities, higher education and politics o Rural areas still continue to follow caste system  Japan  Burakumin (people of the village)  Live in isolated hamlets and ghettos  1871 liberated from discrimination, but they are still disadvantaged  closed caste systems continue to exist although they try to abolish it  Open systems: based on achieved status; made by one’s personal attributes o People can move up or down through own efforts and abilities o Class Structure: overall economic hierarchy that categorizes groups of people based on their socio-economic status  Made up of 3 loosely related indicators (income, occupational prestige and education) Property and Occupational Prestige: 2 components of inequality Property  Income: money received annually from all sources o What you earn  Wealth: one’s net accumulated assets including homes, lands and stocks o What you have  Canadian population separated into quintiles o 5 categories each representing 20% of population Occupational Prestige  first thing people ask and look at to determine class of the person Social I
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