Textbook Notes (363,693)
Canada (158,533)
Sociology (1,479)
SOC100H5 (506)
Chapter 6

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Nathan Innocente

Chapter 6 Notes Social stratificationthe way society is organized in layers or strataWealth is assets minus liabilitiesIn terms of wealth the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorerIncome is the amount of money earned in a given periodSociologists believe that for the vast majority of people genes play only a minor role in determining incomeNatural talent and effort are important ingredients in this process to be sure but education matters Indeed the importance of education as a determinant of occupation and income continues to increaseIf physical capital is investment in industrial plants and equipment human capitalis investment in education and training Just as productivity increases by upgrading manufacturing plants and introducing new technology productivity gains can also result from investment in the skills and abilities of people Every lawyer acquires a law degree Yet economic rewards vary even for people with the same experience and type of legal practice Notably female lawyers earn less on average than male lawyers do even if they are matched in terms of experience and type of practicePart of the reason that people with the same amount of human capital may receive different economic rewards is that they possess different amounts of social capital Social capital refers to peoples networks or connections Individuals are more likely to succeed if they have strong bonds of trust cooperation mutual respect and obligation with wellpositioned individuals or families Knowing the right people and having strong links to them helps in finding opportunities and taking advantage of themCultural capitalcomprises the set of social skills people have their ability to impress others to use tasteful language and images effectively to influence and persuade people Although the notion of social capital stresses your networks and connections with others the idea of cultural capital emphasizes your impression management skills your ability to influence others In different ways both concepts emphasize being part of the right social clubWhat the concepts of social and cultural capital also have in common is the idea that families higher in the social hierarchy enjoy more capital of all types Connections and culture help you find a good job The hiring of new recruits then depends on the talent effort and skills that people bring to the interview but it also depends on the connections and culture that people have Indeed culture and connections often influence who gets an interviewIn summary natural talent and effort are important and for a few occupations very significant For most Canadians level of education or developed skill is a critical factor in finding continuous wellpaying employment In addition social and cultural capital are consequential for many people in achieving economic successHomelessness is one manifestation of povertyExactly how many Canadians are poor is a matter of intense debate Poverty lacks an agreedon definition A first disagreement occurs around whether poverty should be defined in absolute or relative terms An absolute definition of poverty focuses on essentials suggesting that poor families have inadequate resources to acquire the necessities of life food clothing and shelter Agreement on essentials depends on values and judgments What is essential varies from time to time place to place and group to group Many of our ancestors lived without indoor plumbing and some Canadians still do but most people would define indoor plumbing as essential A family could survive on a steady diet of cod and potatoes but most would define such a family as poorPoverty Lacks an agreedon definition Analysts disagree whether poverty should be defined in absolute or relative terms and whether it should be based on income or consumption Canada does not have an official poverty line Stats Canada reports a lowincome cutoff that marks the income level at which a family may be in straitened circumstances because it has to spend a greater proportion of its income on necessities than the average family of similar size Deprivation occurs when a family cannot acquire the essentials not necessarily when income is too low Income and consumption are correlated of course but wealthy people can live off their savings even with low incomeCanada does not have an official definition of poverty Instead Statistics Canada reports what it calls a lowincome cutoff This cutoff conveys the income level at which a family may be in straitened circumstances because it has to spend a greater proportion of its income on necessities than the average family of similar size However research conducted in the past few decades shows that many of the stereotypes about the poor are mythsMyth 1 People are poor because they dont want to work The myth that poor people dont want to work ignores that many poor people cannot work because of a disability or because they must take care of their young children because of inadequate childcare provisions in Canada Moreover it ignores that many poor people work fulltime and many more work parttime But having a job is no guarantee of escaping poverty because the minimum wage set by provincial and territorial governments is so
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