SOC263 Readings.docx

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Elizabeth Johnson

SOC263 Readings pp.3-17 Social inequality – not caused by personality flaws Ex. Laziness or lack of motivation / ambition - They’re poor because opportunities are distributed differently in society by class, age, gender, ethnic and race Social inequality: relatively long lasting differences among individuals or groups of people that have implications for individual lives, especially for the rights / opportunity they exercise and the rewards / privileges they enjoy. Ex. Middle class vs. upper class - Those from the working class do not get the opportunity to attend elite schools or access to private health services Structures of inequalities: patterns of advantages and disadvantages that are durable but penetrable Social times: generations and life time - Inequality in this aspect would refer to unequal life conditions as well as things people do to penetrate the structure Social Structure: the relatively long lasting patterned relationship among the elements of society. Structural functionalist: an all-encompassing social structure that may be decomposed into several specialized substructures (economics, political, educational). - Elements of social structures include social institutions (work organizations and political institutions) and patterns of social roles. Structure functionalist believe that individuals conform to the values and norms in social structures and society’s consensus. - De-emphasizes the possibility of conflict in society or the possibility of individual choices are constrained by the forces of social structure. Stratification: people can be ranked according to the income, education, occupations, status / prestige Class relations: rights and powers that people have in production process *must consider more than one factor: class, gender, race, ethnic, and age* Age: Canadas population is aging (75 and over is growing faster) - This creates an environment of competition over the distribution of limited resources between young and old. o Women + old age = higher poverty rate vs. men  Marital status also affects this and women’s rate are still higher than men Social relations: class, age, gender, ethnicity and race Characterized by power and are fundamental structures to social life. - Requires an emphasis on “structured forms of power, organizations, directions and regulations” exist for ruling groups to maintain and reproduce their dominant position Pp. 18-40 Marx and Marxism Class as a productive social relation - Society is the history of class struggles ex. Freeman vs. slave, lord and serf, guild master vs. journey man etc. *overall = oppressor vs. oppressed *Our epoch = bourgeoisie vs. proletariat Marx believed that the “petit bourgeoisie” and other middle class will become extinct. 3 class of modern capitalist society - Owners of labour power - Owners of capital - Landowners Marx does not examine the difference in income but where the income derives from; labour power, capital or land property. - Society divided into class by their relationship to means of production in society *In captialisms: bourgeoisie (owns means of production) exploit proletariat (workers) – who has no choice but to sell their labour power to survive.  One cannot just own the machines, one must be able to possess means of production (get people to work for them) Wright’s view on Neo-Marxism Exploitation: a) Interdependence: Material welfare of one group casually depends on the deprivation of another. One gains another loses. b) Exclusion: the exclusion of the exploited from access to certain productive resources. One cannot gain access at all. c) Appropriation: Exploiters have advantage due to exclusion; it enables them to appropriate labour effort of the exploited. Ex. Men vs. women Gender and social inequality: men get better jobs which leads to women not getting those jobs (deprivation). Because women are excluded (exclusion) from having access to certain productive resources, primarily because they have caregiving responsibilities. *it is not because of exploitation; it is non-exploitative economic oppression. Not given the opportunity Ex. Factory owner makes profit (that profit being the owners material welfare), the owner must pay workers less (material deprivation), owners takes the workers work, for their own benefit (appropriation). This is class exploitation *owners want workers to work harder and longer for less; this results in class conflict not only in wage level but also on how much work effort is expected. Middle class: integrated into 2 concepts: skills and authority a) Authority Ex. Managers/supervisors at the factory o Paid higher and enforces work o They exploit the workers; capitalists exploit them b) Skills Ex. Someone who possesses certain knowledge / skill can ask for a higher wage: their labour
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