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SOC263H5 (63)

ch 1- Introduction.docx

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Anna Korteweg

Introduction Sunday, September 29, 2013 8:29 PM  People are poor because opportunities are distributed differentially in society on the basis of things such as class, age, gender, ethnicity, and race.  INEQUALITY doesn’t simply refer to differences among individuals but rather reflects differences that matter, differences that result in unfairness and disadvantage for some and privilege for others. To understand social inequality we need a framework that integrates social structure, human agency and social time.  SOCIAL INEQUALITY refers to relatively long lasting differences among individuals or groups of people that have implications for individual lives, especially for the rights or opportunities they exercise and the rewards and privileges they enjoy.  These STRUCTURES OF INEQUALITY are patterns of advantage and disadvantage that are durable but penetrable. Durable means that it stays for a long time and penetrable means it can pass through generations. HUMAN AGENCY is the capacity of individuals to interpret their situation and act to change.   Experience of inequality must be examined within the context of SOCIAL TIME (refers to issues of generation and the life course) which evolves throughout one's life and is influenced by the generation in which one is born in. DEFINING SOCIAL STRUCTURE  SOCIAL STRUCTURE- Generally refers to relatively long lasting patterned relationships among the elements of society. In general however, there are two dominant views of social structures.  The study of social inequality involves an examination of the factors that contribute to meaningful differences in the rights, resources, and privileges of individuals and groups of people. 
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