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Chapter 1

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Anna Korteweg

12 September 2013 Soc 263 1) Brief overview of main themes of course 2) Review syllabus 3) To do next week What is social? Society and interactions in society, class system, family structures, gender, social economic status Inequality? Double standards, treating people differently, all societies are unequal. Inequality does not 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. 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 Social Patterns This means way of doing things, patterns of advantages and disadvantages, its durable and penetrable 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 1) Structural Functionalism: it tends to emphasize the degree to which individuals conform to the values and norms established in the social structure and the degree to which society is based on consensus. It also de- emphasizes the possibility of conflict in society or the possibility that individual choices are constrained by the forces of social structures 2) Critical Theory  Assumes that social relations are the essential elements of social structures  Assumes that social relations are characterized more by conflict than by consensus. The views of social structures and power fall more in line with critical approaches to social inequality than with those found in stratification or structural functionalist approaches. Social inequality- on the test “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” p7 from Grabb 2007. People are not poor because they are lazy or because they lack motivation or ambitions. They are poor because opportunities are distributed differently in society on the basis of things such as class, gender, age, ethnicity, and race. For example, compared to people from the middle and upper classes, people who are part of the working class don’t have the same educational opportunities and tend to have worse health. Women and members of racial and ethnic minority groups tend to work inn bad jobs while good jobs are reserved for men and members of the privileged racial and ethnic groups. What fact about inequality? Continual discrimination among sexuality, sexuality becomes a side of inequality What % of parliament are women? 25% It is also about how society encourages certain things Of all the Canadian population 16 % visible minorities Understanding of personal choice is another important thing Main themes of course Macro+ meso+ micro = social inequality How all these levels produce inequality? Individual institutions structures = social inequality What is structure according to sociologist? The functions of society, the order organized and has rules. Order and organized are society such as economy these are things that cannot be changed individually Poverty is the biggest part of inequality Stratification According to stratification theory individuals can be ranked hierarchically according to socially desirable characteristics such as income, education, occupation, status, or prestige. Therefore, inequality results largely from class structures, and thus explanations of inequality are reduced to issues of economic subordination Class Relations Refers to the relative rights and powers that people have in production processes. Some consider race or ethnic relations as the central element of social inequality Social Relations Class, gender, age, ethnicity, and race are conceptualized here sets of social relations that are characterized by power and that are fundamental structures or organizing features of social life Power Relations The ability of individuals in social relationships to impose their will on others regardless of resistance Human Agency Agency expresses the idea that individuals do not passively conform to the circumstances of their lives. Rather, they are active participants in social relationships.Agency in sociology requires underlying sense of self as well as an ability to assess the impacts of one’s actions on future outcomes and impacts that actions have had on present conditions. Social agency is what makes people join together Social time Social poverty is not the same all the times. People experience different kinds of poverty or changes during their lifetime. Sometimes people are poor and at times they are rich and it also turns out that it matters which part of the world you are born. For the past 40 years the conditions of people’s health increased but decreased in equality. Generation also matters when it comes to inequality and poverty Measuring poverty Absolute versus relative.. Measuring poverty is kind of subjective. Poverty is how much you deviated from the norm. Poverty is not necessarily in absolute state. Poverty is relative meaning you can compare it to someone else. It creates social exclusion and experienced by individuals and consumed socially. Poverty is a key element of social inequality Connections between concepts 1) Stratifications Theory (roote
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