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Chapter 8

SOCA02 - Chapter 8, 10, 15, 19

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Sheldon Ungar

Chapter Eight: social stratification Human capital is the sum of useful skills and knowledge that an individual possesses. Social capital refers to people’s networks and connections. Cultural capital is the stock of learning and skills that increases the chance of securing a superior job. Low-income cutoff is Statistic Canada’s term for the income threshold below which a family devotes a larger share of its income to the necessities of food, shelter, and clothing than an average family would, likely resulting in straitened circumstances. Global inequality refers to the differences in the economic ranking of countries. Cross-national variations in internal stratification are differences among countries in their stratification systems. The Gini index is a measure of income inequality. Its value ranges from zero (which means that every household earns exactly the same amount of money) to one (which means that all income is earned by a single household). Social stratification refers to the way in which society is organized in layers or strata. An ascription-based stratification system is one in which the allocation of rank depends on characteristics a person is born with. An achievement-based stratification system is one in which the allocation of rank depends on a person’s accomplishments. Social mobility refers to movement up or down the stratification system. A caste system is an almost pure ascription-based stratification system in which occupations and marriage partners are assigned on the basis of caste membership. Apartheid was a caste system based on race that existed in South Africa from 1948 to 1992. It consigned the large black majority to menial jobs, preventing marriage between blacks and whites, and erected separate public facilities for members of the two races. Asians and people of mixed race enjoyed privileges between these two extremes. Feudalism was a legal arrangement in preindustrial Europe that bound peasants to the land and obliged them to give their landlords a set part of the harvest. In exchange, landlords were required to protect peasants from marauders and open their storehouses to feed the peasants if crops failed. Class consciousness refers to being aware of membership in a class. Class, in Marx’s sense of the term, is determined by a person’s relationship to the means of production. In Weber’s usage, class is determined by a person’s ‘market situation.’ The bourgeoisies in Marx’s usage are owners of the means of production, including factories, tools, and land. They do not do any physical labor. Their income derives from profits. The proletariat, in Marx’s usage, is the working class. Members of the proletariat do physical labor but do not own means of production. They are thus in a position to earn wages. The petite bourgeoisie, in Marx’s usage, is the class of small-scale capitalists who own means of production but employ only a few workers or none at all, forcing them to do physical work themselves. Status groups differ from one another in terms of the prestige or social honor they enjoy and also in terms of their style of life. Parties, in Weber’s usage, are organizations that seek to impose their will on others. The functional theory of stratification argues that (1) some jobs are more important than others are, (2) people must make sacrifices to train for important jobs, and (3) inequality is required to motivate people to undergo these sacrifices. Power is ability to impose one’s will on others. Authority is legitimate, institutionalized power. Intragenerational mobility is social mobility that occurs within a single generation. Intergenerational mobility is social mobility that occurs between generations. Socioeconomic status (SES) combines income, education, and occupational prestige data in a single index of a person’s position in the socioeconomic hierarchy. Chapter Ten: race and ethnicity Prejudice is an attitude that judges a person on his or her group’s real or imagined characteristics. Discrimination is unfair treatment of people because of their group membership. Race is a social construct used to distinguish people in terms of one or more physical markers, usually with profound effects on their lives. An ethnic group comprises people whose perceived cultural markers are deemed socially significant. Ethnic groups differ from one another in terms of language, religion, customs, values, ancestors, and the like. Canada’s multiculturalism policy emphasizes tolerance of ethnic and racial differences. The melting pot ideology of the United States values the disappearance of ethnic and racial differences. Symbolic ethnicity is a nostalgic allegiance to the culture of the immigrant generation, or that of the old country, that is not usually incorporated in everyday behavior. Racism is the belief that a visible characteristic of a group, such as skin color, indicates group inferiority and justifies discrimination. Ecological theory – Robert Park 1.
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