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SOC102 Textbook Notes

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC102H1
Professor
Lorne Tepperman
Semester
Fall

Description
Social Problems Research as a Moral Enterprise Sociologists have an aim to better society through the application of research-based knowledge, but paradoxically, human efforts to improve society sometimes backfire. Modernization sometimes fails to ensure that we preserve a decent quality of life and can cause numerous social issues. - 20 thcentury has had the most technological progress but also the most organized killing and environmental destruction, but sociologists continue to aim for: 1. Life over death 2. Health over sickness 3. Knowing over not knowing 4. Cooperation over conflict 5. Freedom of movement over physical constraint 6. Self-determination over direction by others 7. Freedom of expression over restraint of communication - However society often falls short and people buy into myths, ideologies and stereotypes that perpetuate harmful conditions. Victims are often blamed, but the reasons why are more important - Sociologists also identify social-structural conditions and factors that make people vulnerable to these “personal” troubles and that increase problem behaviours Social Construction - Whether something is true or not, if a person believes it to be true, the actions taken are real nonetheless – people’s subjective view of reality, not reality itself, shapes their behavior Social constructionism: a sociological research approach that examines the ways people interact to create a shared social reality - Often involves the work of moral entrepreneurs: those that “discover” and attempt to publicize deviant behaviours; they are crusading reformers that don’t rest until something is done about the problem - It involves claims-making: the promotion of a particular moral vision of social life and, thus, is anything people do to propagate a view of who or what is a problem and what should be done about it - Goal is to examine the ways people interact to create a shared social reality - Berger and Luckmann argue that all knowledge is created, preserved and spread by social interaction - Social constructionism says that any idea, however natural or obvious, is an invention of a particular culture/society - How, among the plethora of ideas, do some ideas because widely accepted as “true” and compelling?  Symbolic Interactionism: George Herbert MEAD: children learn to interact with others by learning a system of symbols, which allows them negotiate shared meanings among those in the system.  Then the shared meanings make social interaction possible = allows cooperation and influence  MEAD: social life is the sharing of meaning – the cooperative (social) construction of reality.  Symbolic Interactionism: GOFFMAN: play = social scripts = become people we pretend to be  Social life is scripted, directed performances – inside our social roles is our true identity NOTE: Symbolic Interactionists looks for the shared meanings of objects and events (not the actually physical object/event themselves) - Meaning often imposed on the event/object: rose = beautiful, daisy = plain  Product of the dominant cultural and symbolic practices in a group/society 4 basic assumptions of the social constructionist position: 1. The world does not present itself objectively to the observer, but is known through human experience.  We use language and images to create emotional meanings and responses. 2. Historical and cultural specificity is recognized.  The language categories used to classify things emerge from the social interactions within a group of people at a particular time and place. 3. Knowledge is sustained by social process. Conventions and communication in force at the time determine how reality is understood.  Witchcraft: Pronouncements of the religious leaders + superstitious groups was enough to be claim legitimacy as “knowledge” 4. Knowledge and social action go together  Within a social group or culture, reality is defined by complex and organized patterns of ongoing actions. (understand politics, religions, gender etc.) In short, people interact = construct common knowledge of the world = reinforced with more interaction = knowledge now seems natural (unavoidable) Is it a real problem or a social construction? Have to keep asking this because: 1. Need to have the clearest understanding of reality, even if we have to challenge our common sense, on a given issue 2. Need to learn as much can about social process by which real social problems, and imagined problems, come into being. Have to be able to make theories and therefore learn more about society 3. Need to know which problems require immediate concerted actions and which ones can wait Social Ethnography: a mode of inquiry designed to help researchers explore the social organizations of everyday knowledge - Created by Feminist sociologist Dorothy Smith - Aimed to make the familiar strange – question assumptions that are taking for granted - Shift research away from the interests of the most powerful to better serve people who are subject to admin  Must deconstruct confusing language (enhanced interrogation vs torture)  Shine light on taken-for-granted relations of power – point out ways that ruling relations can be modified to better serve ordinary people in real life Warnings, Panics, and Claims - Ruling class want control and use claims-making as a way to provoke intense feelings of pity, concern and fear - Claims-making often rely on common idioms and styles that reflect core cultural values (young children, flag in the background, etc.) - Media has a major influence in shaping public perception of a problem  How a problem is depicted = how people will respond  Ex. news reports, talk shows (where the host says something is normal, praiseworthy etc. and then the claps by audience reinforce) - Normal people make claims too  Whistle-blowers: unusual claims-makers who gain credibility for speaking out contrary to their own immediate interests and those of their employer; often get punished for it (blacklisted, etc.) - The way something is framed is very important  Ex. FARM didn’t gain much support until they started focusing attention on health, longevity and environmental endangerment - Some issues grow slowly and hold for a long time, but others come and go quickly (Moral Panics – short lived intense periods of concern)  Moral panics sometimes leave a legacy of laws, stereotypes, cultural beliefs or changed attitudes - Since social problems come from claims-making, which comes out of historical context, we must try to understand the construction of these problems via historical context How to tell if a Social Problem is “Real” - Apply various standards to a stated problem to decide how serious the problem may be - Ex. for Racism 1. Discuss differences and inequality between groups (employment, housing, education etc.)  Is there exclusion and what is the source of the unjust differences? 2. Lack of intergroup contact, due to exclusion and racism, produces problems of isolation and limited information flow  Racism may be a problem because it promotes segregation, ignorance, fear and conflict between groups 3. Might include second-order outcomes like self-hate (from segregation, exclusion, prejudice, and discrimination)  May infer health consequences  Note: Not all people will suffer health consequences.  Merton’s theory of Anomie: people react differently to social disadvantage. Some will retreat from life, while others will take action into their own hands - It may be a problem if we can show these things with data, that they produce any or all of these outcomes - Then must compare to other societies (are we in a good position?), and also if the problem is manageable/getting better? - Same types of questions need to be asked for other potential problems Theoretical Perspectives on Social Problems Looking at different approaches that other fields of study have taken in order to best understand social problems – complementary, multi-leveled co-operative activity Biological Perspective - Focus on individuals and on the genetic, hormonal, neurological and physiological factors that contribute to their dysfunction in society  Ex. violence: increase in hormones? Genetic/evolutionary aspect? - Since they assume they are universal human traits, their theories are not helpful for explaining historical and cross-national variations Psychological Perspective - Focus on individuals; mainly with cognitive, perceptual, and affective processes - Different from sociologists because focus on research on thoughts and personalities of individuals as they are influenced by social context AND also because research through experimentation rather than field study/surveys - Drawbacks: tend to carry out research in laboratories:  Limited samples to undergraduate students  Setting is not natural - Sociologists focus on group relations and culture (macro and micro analysis)  Macro analytical approaches: structural functionalism & conflict perspectives  Micro analytical approaches: symbolic interactionism Sociological Perspectives Structural Functionalism: views society as a set of interconnected elements that work together to preserve the overall stability and efficiency of the whole - Individual institutions contribute to functioning of whole society - Merton: latent and manifest functions  Latent: hidden, unstated and sometimes unintended consequences of activities in an institution  Ex. school provides safety (when main focus was to educate)  Manifest: visible and intended goals/consequences/effects of social institutions - Social problems caused by failure of institutions to keep up with sudden cultural shifts that disrupt traditional values and common ways of doing things  Durkheim: called it anomie (normlessness)  Says norms are weak or come into conflict with one another - Norms break down = social control decline = people feel less tied = more likely to behave in deviant ways (crime, drug use etc.)  Solution: strengthen social norms and slow pace of social change Conflict Theory: views society as a collection of varied groups – especially social class—locked in a struggle over a limited supply of assets and power (haves and have nots) - Originates with Marx who identified:  bourgeoisie (elite owners of means of production)  proletariat (working class that must sell labour in exchange for livable wage)  stated that bourgeoisie use economic and political influence to ensure they have dominance over workers - argue that problems stem from economic inequalities that exist between competing groups  capitalist class want to stay in power so they ensure the proletariats have limited to no opportunity  poverty = conflict - say that workers in the capitalist system feel alienated:  from work, other workers, products of their work, themselves  they are exploited - critics:  communist regimes based on Marxism didn’t erase inequality  Too focused on class – not all social problems stem from class (race, gender, age etc.) Symbolic Interactionism: sees society as made up of shared meanings, definitions and interpretations held by interacting individuals - focuses on small-group interactions - analyze how certain behaviors and conditions come to be defined or framed as social problems; and how people learn to engage in such activities - Simmel: found urban lifestyle to be relentless and alienating  Fragmentation leads to decrease in shared experience - Labelling Theory: rests on the premise that a given activity is viewed as a social problems if a group of people define it as such  Becker: people extend their own beliefs about right/wrong into social rules/norms  Those that act against it are labeled “deviant” and their actions are defined as social problems - Blumer’s 4 stages of development of social problem: 1. Social Recognition: first identified as social concern 2. Social Legitimizing: recognize as a serious threat to social stability 3. Mobilization for action: start planning strategies 4. Development and implementation of an official plan: ex “war on drugs” - Critics:  Problems still exist even if you don’t label them Population Health Perspective - Goals of improving health of entire population and reducing health inequalities between social groups - Many determinants of health include income and social factors (employment, education, physical environments etc.) - Combines insights from various disciplines for theory and research CHAPTER 9: CLASSES AND WORKPLACE Class: - According to Marx, a group of people who share the same relationship to means of production or to capital; - According to Weber, a group of people who share a common economic situation, based on (among other things) income, property and authority  Organization of work is more complex than it was before, but we still wonder about how to improve work experience Functionalism Workplace inequalities translate into broader social and economic inequalities - Functionalist would argue that poverty and inequality serve important purposes in society; it can motivate people to work harder to move up the ladder (brings excellence and productivity) - Functional theory works well when more rewards for those that work harder – but there are many exceptions (athletes, entertainers etc.) - Functionalists believe that everyone needs to work – for material and emotional needs (shelter, social interaction, cohesion, etc.) Critical Theory Critical theories always look for power inequalities and exploitations - Functionalist would say that unemployment is a personal failure from lack of skill/ambition; Critical theory says that unemployed is a structural condition manipulated by the ruling capitalist class to boost profits (economic cycle of boom/bust – employees suffer the most because of their inflexibility to leave) - Threat of unemployment also lets capitalists threaten workers who demand too much – can get laid off if they can be replaced by cheaper labour  The cycle of employment and unemployment empties and fills a reserve army of labour: people who, because they are impoverished and often unemployed, formed an easily mobilized, easily disposable workforce at the mercy of employers - Marx: class relations under capitalism cause all the conflict within and between societies – workers and capitalists can never cooperate because their interests oppose one another - It views the workplace as a place for repression and mistreatment Feminist Theories - Points out the different experiences the genders have – women are generally paid less for the same job that men do - Capitalists profit at the expense of women that work for them – therefore creating job dissatisfaction, lack of job control and psychosomatic illnesses Symbolic Interactionism - Symbolic Interactionists focus on the ways that meaning are attached to social inequality  Poor: lazy, freeloading ethnic minority, who relies on welfare and social assistance rather than getting a job  Rich: greedy, shallow, born into well-off family, stepping on others - They focus on the means of work and unemployment for the individual (work is an important part of someone’s identity) Social Constructionism Always ask: “How did the arrangement emerge?” - Interested in charting the changes in ideologies about work and worker control – the evolution of popular thinking about work  50s/60s: organizations turn people into robots; 70s/80s: exploitation of workers, possibility of computers replacing humans CLASSIC STUDIES: LABOUR AND MONOPOLY CAPITAL Harry Braverman argues that work, while demanding ever higher levels of education and expertise, is becoming ever more mindless, alienating and bureaucratic – “degraded” as capitalists seek to increase control over labour process by separating execution from design - Recognizes that the separation of skill and knowledge degrade the meaning of work but ALSO separates jobs into those requiring 1) highly skilled people whose time is worth a lot; vs. 2) mass simple workers whose time is worth nothing - Now, even highly skilled occupations of the modern workplaces – like law firms – are becoming degraded - His work highlights the worrisome trend in modern work, which degrades the well-being and satisfaction of workers and reduces the society’s ability to profit from the creativity of these workers Labour and Classes “Social Class”: - Marxian terms is defined by the way people earn a living; - Weberian terms is defined by how much money and status people gain from their occupation  Classes and the work people do are fundamentally linked – also need to relate to power Marx defined two main classes: 1) Bourgeoisie: the controlling class, which owns the means of production 2) Proletariat: the subordinate class, who work for wages from the bourgeoisie - Haves and have nots are fundamentally locked in conflict because of different interests; however they are interdependent = paradoxical relationship Profit depends mainly on the price of manufactured product minus the cost of labour; therefore, in order to increase profit, need high prices and low wages. - Leads to poor working conditions where workers want better wages, conditions, security - Leads to never-ending class struggle under capitalism Proletariat band together so they can protect their wages and working conditions, while capitalists do so to protect their profit, authority and control. - For any united action, need Class Consciousness: a group’s awareness of their common class interest and their commitment to work together to attain collective goals – harder than it sounds  Factors that prevent it from happening: a) Prevention of unionization or even discussions of work concerns: Corporations may lobby (or pay off) the legislators so they may laws to give employers more power in cases of conflict Police may be called to break strikes b) Problems within proletariat: May not want to work with another group within Disagreements on how to best promote workers’ interests False consciousness: a willingness to believe in ideologies that support the ruling class but that are false and disadvantageous to working class interests – may believe that they are powerless against capitalists, no right to demand, etc. 3 criteria of exploitation: 1) Inverse interdependence principle: the economic well-being of capitalists requires the economic deprivation and exploitation of workers, since profit is shared between them 2) Exclusion Principle: capitalists must keep up the pressure on workers by excluding them from access to productive resources (finding a new job, limit their housing etc.) 3) Appropriation Principle: capitalists take advantage of the workers, appropriating (taking) their labour for a fraction of its real value Weber viewed classes as power groups rather than economic groups like Marx – identified a new group: Petit Bourgeoisie: the lower middle class; a group of people who own the means of production on a small scale, such as owners of small shops (ex. dentist) - Identified two other sources of power: Parties and Status groups  Parties: associations and organizations that give people non-economic power and influence (i.e. family political parties, or even political lobbies)  Status Groups: sets of people who share a social position in society, with a common degree of prestige, esteem, and honour (ie. Religion, ethnicity, region, race, etc.) - Ex. Dentists  Economic class: because they have comfortable income and relations to means of production  Party: if they organize to lobby for (or against) publicly funded dentist care  Status: in their capacity as a regulated profession with the authority to train, certify, and de-certify practitioners Marx vs. Weber - Marx believed that people could gain power only by owning the means of production; Weber asserted people could gain power by entering influential parties and high-status groups (through social position) - Marx’s portrayal, in today’s post-industrial society, is too simple because: 1) No longer necessary to own a business to control the means of production 2) The working class today is international because of multinational ownership and global competition The Organization of Work Today Technology, in theory, gives more leisure time, more opportunity, and job autonomy, but has also increased workplace inequality (made people at the bottom of the hierarchy more readily replaceable) - Increase of non-standard work arrangements: dead-end, low-paying, insecure jobs, also known as precarious employment. (“McJobs”)  Give employers full control over the labour process (hire/fire with ease)  “degraded” jobs  Disproportionately to be women, immigrants, young people (the vulnerable people in society)  Fastest-growing type of employment in developed countries  Many people have opted for self-employment – struggle  Results in fewer full-time jobs = full time workers have longer hours, often unpaid etc.  Some workers today are unemployed or fear unemployment, others are under-employed, while others are still over-employed – more inequality among workers - Submergence of class politics (politicized version of class conflict) – replaced by identity politics  Today more concerns about racism, sexism, ageism, or religious discrimination than about reducing class-based poverty CLASSIC STUDIES: THE DIVISION OF LABOUR IN SOCIETY (Emile Durkheim) Durkheim argues that modern industrial societies have different moral codes (i.e. different laws and beliefs) than pre-modern, pre-industrial societies. They are marked by “moral density” that increases the growth of division of labour. - 2 factors responsible for the growth in moral density: “social volume” (total number of its members) and “material density” (frequency of social connections, which increases when spatial distance between individuals is reduced (as in cities) or through advances in comm. / trans.) - Today’s society depends on the cooperation of all, the law is more flexible, practical and open to differences (accept individualism), but less social cohesion  One result is often anomie/normlessness; another is greater reliance on non-traditional units of organizations (occupations groups rather than kin/tribe) - Some criticize him for favouring society over the individual and also his assumptions about the homogeneity and simplicity of earlier societies.  Despite this, his work was the first piece of functionalist analysis in sociology that pointed that individuals need society (without society, we would be less productive/secure/fulfilled) - Marx and Durkheim both understood the importance of social solidarity, as a source of personal meaning and a basis for community mobilization Alienation and Collective Action Marx claimed that alienation was the result of capitalism – Worker feels alienated from: 1. The product of his/her work – he has no connection or his/her creation because it is sold off 2. The act of production – his products are taken away, therefore work itself becomes meaningless (no control/autonomy) 3. His/her own essence as a human being – robot simply carrying out labour 4. Other workers – capitalism reduces workers to replaceable commodities, workers see themselves and other as less than human (hard to have authentic relationships with others, can cause even self-hate) Seeman identified 5 dimensions of alienation: (1) powerlessness; (2) meaninglessness; (3) normlessness; (4) isolation; and (5) self-estrangement Today, alienation remains part of the reason why people do not develop a collective sense of their class position and try to overcome their disadvantage (when they do mobilize together, they form unions) Unions For working-class in professional fields (doctors, teachers, etc.) – concerned with improving pay, job security, and working conditions. - More common on US, Canada and Japan (less in UK and Europe) - Highly correlated with class-consciousness and class awareness (the significance people attach to class in a country’s politics – if they are concerned about the conditions of working class people) - Give working people strength in numbers - Union membership declining in Canada – stats reflect a loss in manufacturing jobs that have moved overseas  Female membership increase (because male dramatic decrease)  Emergence of vast unions of public employees once again illustrates the importance of taking a Weberian approach to understanding power outside traditional class boundaries - Union membership depends on: sex, region, age - Advantages: enjoy higher pay than non-union workers, gain benefits (job security, extended health care) - Unions declining worldwide (despite how powerful they were half a century ago) The Culture of Poverty The unemployed, underemployed and even the “working poor” (earning min. wage) - Personal failure and economic/class dimensions for explanations - Anthropologist Lewis’s book: The Children of Sanchez  Family living from hand to mouth  Found that many urban poor come from rural backgrounds that provided little in the way of coping skills  Lack of family for support and skills prevent them from better their lives  Therefore get into trouble (crime, violence, early pregnancy etc.) - Polarized opinion on poor:  Some say the deserve it because they aren’t doing enough escape it  Others: false awareness – the idea that certain values and ways of thinking – hinder people’s efforts to improve their lives (tend to think that poor are inferior and rich are superior) CLASSIC STUDIES: WHITE COLLAR CRIME Sutherland: White Collar Crime: corporate crime committed by individuals of high socio-economic standing - Corporations could be considered “habitual criminals” – like traditional thieves, they often expressed contempt for law, govt and govt personnel - Found that the crimes were deliberate and organized (planned) - Traditional theories about crime that focus on biological factors, poverty, lack of opportunity etc. can’t explain white collar crime - His theory of differential association applies to these types of criminals as it does to poor street criminals:  For both white and blue collar criminals, “criminal behavior is learned in association with those who define such behavior favorably and in isolation from those who define it unfavorably” - Praised by some by also criticized by corporations and other sociologists:  Latter: Sutherland didn’t explain how he chose the corporations in his study OR study wasn’t scientific enough - Example of business crime: Conrad Black who fraudulently misused millions of dollars from Hollinger Incorporated profit to preserve an extraordinarily lavish lifestyle Modern Forms of Capitalism Marx didn’t predict the rise of new classes: (middle class) - Managers, doctors, civil servants, judges etc. - They neither own the means of production nor sell their labour to capitalists but have more power than the average work-class person - Therefore, not all the inequality in modern Canada or US is due to exploitation in the form that Marx imagined - Some result of: unregulated market forces, tax structure (redistribution of wealth) Saunders defines middle class as “freedom from absolute poverty, the ability to borrow money, home ownership, and the ability to put your children through school, some sources of savings and equity that could start a small business” - 11% of worlds people are in upper/middle class Relationship between Class and Health - Poverty = stress (unemployment, job insecurity, anxiety, depression) = physical illness - Urban poor and urban homeless most vulnerable to this  Street-related experiences of poverty and insecurity can intensify any pre-existing mental and physical illness - Even housed unemployed or underemployed face stress and anxiety because of unpredictable/sufficient income - Even employed people can face mental health problems because of workplace experiences and social inequality - Interestingly, white collar depression > blue collar depression - 2 studies: 1. Karsek and Theorell: showed that people with stressful jobs are more prone to heart disease than those with less stressful and autonomous jobs  Many common jobs that carry little authority are especially at risk  Best job is one that eliminates alienation  Let’s the worker set his/her own pace and control the workflow  Usually professional jobs like dentist, accountant, professor 2. “Whitehall Studies” done in Britain: showed that person’s position in job hierarchy is a key predictor of health and longevity  Higher the position = longer life  Study didn’t include poverty and job insecurity (not part of explanation) - Both studies showed that economic and social inequality, not just poverty, affect people’s life  This is the case even when lifestyle behaviors like smoking are taken into account - Social subordination damages the body and brain, causing hidden injuries of social class Social Class and Crime - Crime is another response to social inequality and poverty - Innovators in crime are corporate criminals  Arise out of new conditions, relying on new technologies, social and cultural formations READING SOCIOLOGY Chapter 37: Pay Equity: Yesterday’s Issue? (Armstrong) - Pay equity movement says women’s jobs should be paid on the same basis as men’s  Based on the comparisons of work predominately done by women with work predominantly done by men Chapter 38: Red Zones, Empty Alleys and Giant TVs: Low-Income Youths’ Spatial Accounts of Olympic Host Cities - Red zones: an area that the police have designated as “out of bounds” to particular youths who have been vanished by police for partaking in illegitimate (not always criminal) behavior - Zones of Prestige: culturally impressive institution of space that a city uses to boost its reputation both nationally and globally - Chapter 39: Parents and Traffic Safety: Unequal Risks and Responsibilities to and from School (McLaren and Parusel) - Automobile contradiction:  To many it is the “good life”, freedom, convenience, pleasure etc.  To others, dangerous places where parents have to protect their children inside and outside cars from auto-saturated streets - The automobility system is “a self-organizing autopoietic, non-linear system that spreads worldwide.  Includes cars, car-drivers, roads, petroleum supplies and many new technologies and signs  Responsibly of traffic safety has fallen on the pedestrian (not the automobility system) and subsequently the parents that protect their children - Traffic safeguarding of children is gendered, with mothers predominantly responsible for organizing children’s school journey  The transportation systems in different neighborhoods is intertwined with social class in determining fatality and injury rates - East and West streetscapes were different: More trucks (low-income zone) vs. parental chauffeur (upper-middle class) - Traffic Safeguarding work:  ES: don’t trust traffic lights, never let children walk alone to school  WS: free for all Chapter 40: Municipal Malaise: Neo Liberal Urbanism in Canada (Fanelli and Paulson) - Neo-liberal Urbanism: The range of uneven processes unfolding in the urban environments in which we live and work  Municipals face contradicting pressures: simultaneously trying to cut costs, meet increasing demands on city services, etc. while at the same time not having enough fiscal support since the only means of income is taxes on the municipal level (compared to federal and provincial who have several facets of income) - Neo-liberal policies benefit some and not others  When the math doesn’t add up, public sector workers and provisions of private goods are to be sacrificed - Powerful businesses and groups have pressed for decrease in taxes on businesses. Shift the financial burden from businesses and landlords to consumers and residents = losing revenue = disappearing funds and services - Public usually respond negatively to strikes  Strikers are perceived as “spoiled people who enjoy holding a helpless city hostage”  Lack of public and public sector union = employers and high ups can reinforce neo-liberal common sense rather than challenge - To fix the problem: need to stop treating cities as the backbone of capital and treat them as places where most Canadians live, work and play  Struggles should be based on class and urban consciousness (state of being cognitively aware of and alert to situation in city) – need to demand the restructuring of our city to serve our needs and not those of capital CHAPTER 5: GENDER RELATIONS Sexism: the perceived superiority of one sex (most often men) over the other (usually women) Gender: the expectations of behavior or appearance that we describe as masculine or feminine; a set of social expectations - We grow up in a society that discourages/prohibits sexism, but still present in our society  Women feel fork in road (mother or work?) limited biological time  We feel like we have freedom to choose our work, but not really  Men and women are fed different kinds of encouragement (seen in media) – gender stereotypes are everywhere and influence us Ways to Look at Gender Functionalism: - Parsons: gendered division of labour is the most effective and efficient way to carry out society’s tasks of reproduction and socialization - May even have evolutionary survival value Critical Theory - Marxists: capitalism requires low-cost social reproduction of a workforce and families are the cheapest way to raise new workers  Women/mothers have the job of keeping all the family earners and earners-to-be healthy at no cost  Capitalists benefit from the surplus value workers produce - Feminists: women exploited by men of own working-class and also by capitalists  Gender inequality serves mainly interests of men – women’s oppression Symbolic Interactionism - Concerned with ways that gender differences become stable gender inequities  Ex. how women become objectified into sex objects  Ex. how the sexual double standard (expectations that women will feel or behave differently from men in sexual matters) has been negotiated and accepted by women (had led men to have more sexual freedom) Social Constructionist Approaches - Interested in: when and how did the arrangement emerge?  More historically oriented  Ex. gender inequality began to decline in 1960-70 when economic downturn called for dual income; birth control came and cut links between gender, sexuality and childbearing – central to having women as full-fledged members of societies Types of Feminist Sociology - Branch of critical theory - Says that gender differences are socially constructed and should be abolished - Not all agree on the causes of gender inequality = many different forms of feminism  Ex. recent one (anti-racist/postmodern feminism) argues for the elimination of prejudice and domination over other deprived groups CLASSIC STUDIES: THE SOCIOLOGY OF HOUSEWORK - Not until early 1970s did sociologists notice that housework was traditionally a woman’s responsibility  Sociologists were mostly male at the time and were not interested in unpaid work - 1974 Ann Oakley wrote The Sociology of Housework brought the issue to life- housework emerged as a type of legit, difficult and worthwhile work, not just “labour of love”  Drew attention to gender and domestic inequality - Based her research on working and middle class home makers, but both groups felt negative attitudes towards housework  Felt like it was part of their identity and swallowed dissatisfaction  Felt obliged by culture to play an alienating and frustrating role  “ideal nuclear family” idea at the time, but now, prevalent in baby boom generation more than later generations (shows that values change) - Some empirical evidence that contradicted Oakley’s findings and said she had a “narrowed and distorted picture of housewifery into that of a thankless joyless task” Gendered Socialization - First learn about opposite sex from family  Learn means to be a girl or boy by socializing with members of opposite sex  Emotionally charged and different from same sex interactions  May be because in many cultures, same sex family members are expected to pass along gender-specific knowledge - Further gender socialization in school  Often used to classify and organize people  Gender is often emphasized as a basis for distinction  Socialization with peer groups = provide access to peer culture and ideas about age- and sex-appropriate norms of behavior  Often encouraged/discouraged to go into fields of study (boys discouraged to go into nursing)  Called hidden curriculum where they often define gender roles as well as encourage gender stereotypes  Develop gender regimes which produce masculinity and femininity and attach certain practices to these labels - Less hidden curriculum today Mass Media - Plays a large part in preserving traditional occupational activities of women as “people workers” and “caregivers” - Allows young people to have more indirect experience with opposite sex – see how men and women are “supposed” to act, through TV, movies, etc. - Continues to objectify women as sex objects through ads, porn, TV sporting events etc.  There is a decline but has a long way to go - Men also face problems with ideal standards for their gender  Expected to be economically successful and be breadwinner  Those that are underemployed or unemployed face stigmatization and are seen as less desirable as dating/marriage partners  1980s revealed that ideal male was smaller-bodied, less pronounced jaw, more feminine  Some said that it was start of gender equality  Others said it was just the commercialization of male sexuality, as with women The Beauty Standard - Every society has appearance norms  Those that don’t abide by norms feel exclusion, ridicule, mistrust, stigmatization  May affect chances of getting job etc. – because we DO judge by looks - Women fear aging more than men because it pushes the boundary of attractiveness to unattractiveness  Some argue for natural aging, others argue that we should try to stop it (even cosmetic surgery) - Features are seen as valued because they are scarce (flawless white skin etc.)  Media glorifies ideal men and women  Over the years, women have become smaller, more toned and fit, while men have bulked up through muscularity - Mass media shows us a fantasy if idealism - Fantasies about men and women differ but they are still the same in that they are often unattainable Conflict between the Sexes - 60% of dating couples break up at least once, get back together and break up again  Rates lower for cohabitation and even lower for married couples - Divorce rates have risen 35-40% since liberalization  Wealthier and educated people less likely  Religious less likely  Those that marry late are less likely - Family institution is no guarantee for stable bonding across the sexes - Better today – young people are more gender blind, but they haven’t forgotten culturally defined differences (still hang out in same sex g
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