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SOC100H5 (536)
Chapter 6

Chapter 6- SOC 100.docx

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Ashley Monks

1 Chapter 6: Social Stratification: Shipwreck and Inequality ­ Robinson Crusoe: story that favors capitalism, people get rich if they possess the virtues of good businesspeople, stay poor if they don’t ­ Swept away: Movie with higher class women, lower class man, deserted on an island where social class is gone, they have sex, but when saved, women goes back to her high class and man stays lower class ­ Movie shows that (1) You can be rich without working hard (2) people can work hard without becoming rich (3) structure of society causes inequality, which disappears on desert island ­ Titanic: Inequality theme, class difference determines life or death but also shows two lover connecting, cross of class lines, matter little ­ Social stratification: the way society is organized in layers or strata Patterns of Social Inequality Wealth ­ Wealth is what you own, car, house, savings ­ Wealth is assets minus liabilities ­ Wealth enhances your well being, gives you more political influence, improve health ­ Government study shows that the rich are getting richer, while poor are getting poorer ­ Canadian families divided into poorest fifth, second-poorest fifth, middle-fifth, second richest fifth, richest fifth (over 21 years, rich got 64% increase, while wealth decrease for 40% of families) Income ­ Income: Amount of money earned in a given period ­ 1951: 35 000 average Canadian made; 2007: 71,900 ­ W/ increase of money made, comes increase of merchandise, inflation ­ Population divided into fifths: top 20, second 20, middle 20, etc. ­ Top 20 made 44.2% while Bottom 20 made 4.8% ­ All quintiles earned smaller in 2007 than 1976, but rich (3.2% more) Poverty and Feminization Explanations of Income Inequality ­ Income Inequality exists due to peoples jobs (Bank worker vs. mail man) ­ Individual Talents (actors) earn more money than Autistic individuals ­ Effort plays a role in income inequality ­ Education (developed skill) as a determinant of income & occupation increases ­ Society moving from resource-based foundation to mature knowledge-driven economy ­ Human capital: Investment in education and training, investment in the skills of people ­ Social capital is reason for why people of same education can make different incomes ­ Social capital: refers to people’s networks or connections. Individuals more likely to succeed if they have strong bonds of trust, cooperation, mutual respect and obligation w/ well positioned individuals or families ­ Cultural capital: made up of the set of social skills people have, their ability to impress others to use tasteful language and images effectively, thus to influence and persuade people ­ Social and Cultural capital emphasize being part of the right club, idea that higher class more capital Defining Poverty ­ Homelessness is one manifestation of poverty ­ Poverty: lacks definitions ­ Absolute poverty: Focus on essentials, poor families can’t afford this (Food, clothing, shelter) ­ Relative poverty: In comparison to others (Less income than all neighbors, poverty) ­ Two issues w/ poverty line (1) Relative poverty, relative to what? Narrowly or broadly (2) poverty defined on basis of income or consumption ­ Definition of poverty is important for (1) Social policy: welfare (2) Political reasons; can people participate in national affairs ­ Canada’s does not define poverty but has a low-income cutoff that marks ‘the income level at which a family may be in straitened circumstances b/c it spend greater portion of income on necessities than average family of similar size” ­ Family of four, less than 33,946 is POOR ­ 2007 9.2% lived in poverty, went down from 13% 30 years earlier 2 Myths about Poverty ­ Myth 1: People are poor because they don’t want to work  People have disabilities making them unable to work, have children, bad childcare  Some people work and still in poverty b/c of low minimum wage  Quebec: highest minimum wage and New Found land: lowest  Minimum wage fell 25% across Canada from mid 1970 to 2000 ­ Myth 2: Most poor people are immigrants  Only recent immigrants have poverty, established immigrants are above poverty in comparison to people born here ­ Myth 3: Most poor people are trapped in poverty  90% succeed out of poverty in 2 years, 80% less than year, 8% stay for more than two The Feminization of Poverty ­ The Feminization of Poverty is a theory (1) women are more likely to be low-income earners than men (2) this low-income gap b/w women & men growing ­ 1976, 33% more low income women, 2006 only 4% more ­ Single parent, three times more low-income single mothers, than single dads (1976) ­ 2.2 times more low-income single mothers, than single dads ­ Due to divorce, women don’t get good child support, Canada has bad childcare, women can’t work fulltime ­ Poor older women (age 64) twice as likely as men (1976) in 2006 five times likely ­ Reason: (1) Men work longer, women have domestic roles (2) women get paid less, less benefits (3) women live 5 years longer than men, use up more money (resources) ­ However, older women are more far off when older than young (47% low young women, 16% low old women) Explaining Poverty ­ Individual-level explanation: Poverty is due to flaws within a person, individual attributes (uneducated or disabled) ­ Social-psychological explanation: Belief that parents in poverty have poor upbringing, attributes or stigmas acquired keep people in poverty ­ Culture of poverty: Poor families share a way of thinking that created poverty in children ­ Criticism of this view: (1) bad attitude isn’t causing poverty, but poverty causing bad attitude (2) poor people work, religious, don’t drink or smoke ­ Social organization explanation: social structure responsible for poverty, capitalism w/ booms and busts, periods of high and low employment causes poverty ­ Social policy explanation: Social policies like minimum-wage and Tax collection & allocation cause poverty ­ Tax: (1) GST & fuel tax is regressive, doesn’t look at income of payer (2) rich people find ways to avoid tax, making retirement or education plan ­ Thinking and perspective explanation: Thinking someone is of no value, racism, leads to less job and poverty (E.g. Aboriginals) ­ Poverty in Canada can be reduced, Western Europe has job training and child-care programs that help w/ poverty, Canada refuses to inhabit these methods Is Stratification inevitable? Three Theories Marx’s Conflict Theory ­ Marx believes that social stratification and conflict b/w classes is not inevitable ­ Class: determined by a persons relationship to the means of production, source of income ­ Two classes Bourgeoisie/owners (income is profit) and Proletariat/worker (income is wage) ­ Industrial revolution caused increase in machinery (1) increase in competition send bourgeoisie to join working class (2) bourgeoisie hire large workers w/ low income, bad work environment ­ Hence, bourgeoisie get richer and smaller as proletariat get larger and impoverished ­ Workers class consciousness would create communist society, w/ no private wealth Criticism 1. No conflict emerged, a middle class of workers who had good income 2. Technology did improve capitalist earnings but worker were able to earn higher wages, less work in less oppressive conditions
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