Textbook Notes (363,140)
Canada (158,217)
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AHSS*1130 (9)
Chapter 6

Chapter 6 Principles of Sociology

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University of Guelph - Humber
John Irwin

Defining and Measuring Social Class  Researchers use both Quantitative and Qualitative Methods Qualitative Approaches:  Qualitative approaches to social draw on insights of symbolic interactions and place emphasis on issues of meaning, experience and identity  Does not try to categorize people into various classes  Interested with the meaning, identity and experiences of one class in relation to the other o Understand meaning and experiences of class relations in work places through observations and in-depth interviews techniques For example, Qualitative historical work examined processes of class formation, how class relations structure professionalization projects Quantitative Approaches:  Quantitative work n social class focus on how class affects various outcomes of social inequality o OR how class structure has changed over time o Social Class is defined different based on the focus of the research  Social inequality ; proxies for social class ( factors like income, education, occupation indirectly measure social class) tend to be used Social Stratification Approaches: influential in American Sociology  Views inequality as a hierarchical order; individuals are grouped into strata on the basis of their social economic status; as measured through indicators such as income, education and occupation  Inequality conceptualized at the level of individual differences rather than in relational terms or on the basis of class structure  Traditional Stratification approaches assumed that the rank ordering of people into socially defined strata is a universal and functionally necessary dimension of society o Ordering of people based on worth; variously defined as required for smooth functioning of society o Certain positions more valued because they entail high level of skill that is attached to them  Few people can attain the skills for these positions, such attainment requires significant commitment for appropriate training  People who invest time in the training deserve the higher position in society, and the rewards attributed to these positions o There is general agreement / consensus among members of society that such stratification systems are acceptable  Two assumptions in Stratification Research;  Tendency in stratification research to overemphasize the extent to which society operates on the basis of consensus rather than conflict  Under emphasis in stratification research on issues of power and exploitation  Michael Grimes : apply stratification measures to study class inequality because they remain committed to certain aspects of functionalist thought or because stratification measures are used in large surveys o Stratification research do not suggest that are studying class, class research do stratification research to make distinctions between two o o Quantitative measures with stratification research reveals much about social inequality o Indicators of social class are quite similar, regardless of theoretical perspective  Stratification measures about class based inequality; these indicators cannot fully capture the extent to which social class matters in contemporary Canadian Society, fails to realize class is not only economic  Social class manifests itself as people from various classes interacting with one another in productive relations  Researchers interested in macro implications of organization of social relations of production operationalize social classing concepts such as power, exploitation, oppression, property, ownership,; central to Marxist and Weberian scholarship  Wright; how social class can be assess quantitatively ; developing a typology of social class that relies on measures of occupation, authority, skill, and number of employees who work at a particular locale;  Multidimensional Typology of Class Division; shows the location of class in a capitalist class structure, class location within an overriding frame work of class relations o Exploitation is at the core, same time identifies contradictory places within class relations that individuals occupy  Stratification measures; relationship between social class and each of income, education, and health  Wallace Clement, developed four class models in which capitalist executive class controls both the labour power of others and the means of production o Old middle class, “petite bourgeoisie” commands the means of production but not labour of power o New middle class; controls the labour powers of others, but not means of production o Working class commands neither the labour power nor means of production  Advantage of this approach; simplicity, reflecting the relation of ruling while eliminating the unnecessary and often tedious class location distinctions Social Class and Inequality  Social inequality reflects difference between individuals or groups of people that have substantial implication for individual lives, especially rights or opportunities they exercise the rewards or privileges they enjoy Paid Work, Income and Poverty;  Marx; Capitalism evolved there would be an increasing polarization of two workers; proletariat and bourgeoisies o Involves three things; 1. Reduction in the proportion of small business owners = shrinking of middle class 2. Increasing proportions of income going to the owners of large businesses and reduction in the earnings of middle class workers 3. Continued deskilling of work and corresponding increasing in the alienation of workers Class Structure in Canada:  Social Class of Canada according to Clement and Myles o 1980s; Working class ; 57%, 25% middle class, 11% old middle class, 6.2% the capitalist executive class o Structure of small business owners have declined;  Much of it agricultural sector due to advances in farm technology made small farms unprofitable This trend had reversed in the 1970s; increase of non agricultural self employment increased, worked on their own or hired three employees, increase of old middle class • Positive change; free of the control of large capitalist enterprises, more autonomy • Conditions of work are less alienating, positive development of post industrial capitalism • Negative; forced to earn a living without rewards, pensions and benefits that come with big companies Income and Poverty: strong correlation between social class and income  Working class jobs pay less than middle class jobs and owners of capitals tend to have higher incomes  There is increasing polarization of income in Canada;  Lowest quintile has remained stable since 1951; stability through government transfers such as tax credits, social assistance, unemployment insurances,  Government policies are in place to ensure more equitable income distribution in Canada; o But how equitable is a system that has 15 billion increase in Upper quintile , the same money need to eliminate poverty in Canada We can add some news stories or videos, about the government here, I know for a fact that there were some laws about privatization, or something LOL  Poverty serious social problem; 15% of people deal with it, 12% are families, 38% for unattached individuals  Poverty rates based on gender, family status, age, immigrant, and minority status, health, education, and labor force a
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