Chapter 8- Social Stratification
Social Stratification; refers to the way in which society is organized in layers or strata. Seen in movies
about shipwrecks where people are swept of all forms of privilege and convention.
Economic Inequality in Canada
Purchasing Power of families rose because;
1. Economic productivity increased as workers skills and technologies improved.
2. Large numbers of women entered the paid labour force starting in the early 1960s.
Income inequality hasn’t changed much between 1951 and 2008
United States has the highest inequality gap and Denmark has the lowest
Canada is known as a welfare state because it implies that it takes money from the rich to give to the
Some people have a genetic gift that allows them to have high paying jobs (acting, athletes, singers)
some people have genetic disability that doesn’t allow them to have high paying jobs (autism, down
syndrome). Most people don’t have a job altering genetic ability
As Canadian occupational structure moves further away from its traditional resource-based foundation
to a more mature knowledge-driven economy the importance of education will continue to grow.
Human Capital; the sum of useful skills and knowledge that an individual possesses.
Social Capital; refers to the networks or connections that individual possesses.
Cultural Capital; is the stock off knowledge, tastes and habits that legitimate the maintenance of status
Differences in human, social, and cultural capital contribute to existing inequalities.
A Modest correlation exists between wealth and income. Some have high income and low wealth and
others have low income and high wealth
Homelessness is a type of poverty.
Debate between absolute and relative poverty.
Absoloute poverty=lacks essentials (food, shelter, clothing)/bare essentials are subjective
Deprivation occurs when a family cannot acquire the essentials not necessarily when income is
too low. Income and consumption are correlated but there are exceptions
Social Policy has impact on distribution of opportunities and rewards in Canada. A definition of poverty
showing that there are less poor people shows that there’s no need for government action. Low-Income Cutoff; Statistic Canada’s term for the income threshold below which a family devotes at
least 20% more of its income to the necessities of food, shelter, and clothing than an average family
would, likely resulting in straitened circumstances.
Myths about the Poor:
1. Poor people are poor because they don’t want to work; Working does not guarantee an escape
from poverty. Many are either disabled or have children that limit their ability to work due to
inadequate child care service.
2. Most poor people are immigrants; recent immigrants are a small fraction of poor people/
Immigrants who arrived in Canada prior to 1980 experience poverty at lower rates than people
born in Canada
3. Poor people are trapped in Poverty; Poverty for many is a result of unstable family finances,
they slip into and out of difficult circumstances.
Culture of Poverty; poor families adopt child rearing practices that encourage low self-esteem, weak
motivation to achieve and an inability to delay gratification, lack of self-discipline and a poor work ethic.
*Sociologists do not agree with this because it confuses cause and effect
The right of an employer to not renew work contracts leave people in poverty. Low income jobs create
poverty. Social Policy affects p