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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 notes of Social Problems book.

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Chapter 2 Class, Poverty, and Economic Inequality Introduction Economic inequality: large differences in income and wealth across individuals and groups within a society; differences in the economic power of nations Sociological take: poverty and inequality are important public issues o Become named problems, with supposed causes and effects, through the efforts of claims-makers It takes a sociological imagination to see how poverty and inequality connects to issues of ideology, governance and power Marx introduced the notion of social class o Stressed that people always organize oppositionally around their relation to the means of production o Those who own it will enjoy the greatest power: the control over available jobs o The rest proletarians will have to sell their time and labour power to capitalists to earn wages that allow them to survive o Capitalists will pay the workers as little as possible and sell the product for as high a price as possible maximum profit Classes are groups of people who share a common economic condition, interest or relationship to the means of production (technology and capital) Two main classes binary: fundamental to all social relations since these two classes are forever locked in conflict High prices, low wages and poor working conditions are not good for workers o So they struggle through unions, co-operatives, legislation, and other means to improve their wages, working conditions, job security and the prices they have to pay for food, shelter, and health care People in the same relation should band together o Workers to protect their wages and working conditions o Employers to protect their profit and control o For this to happen, the people must: develop an awareness of their common interest, commit themselves to working together for common goals and come to see their individual well-being as connected to the collective well-being of their class capitalist class system will produce monopolies of wealth and ever-increasing inequality, globalization and imperialism, overproduction and recurrent financial crisis those at the bottom will be impoverished, desperate and willing to do almost anything to survive employers may prevent formation of unions or discussions of worker concerns legislators may make laws that give the employers more power in the event of a conflict policemilitary may be used to break strikes unions and representatives may not agree on how best to promote workers interests workers may suffer from false consciousness: an acceptance of the discourse and value of the dominant class and thus a willingness to believe arguments that promote individualistic solutions to problems or that blame the poor and unemployed for their problems workers may also be alienated from politics cannot trust unions oppressed classes can bring about change only after they become aware of their position in relation to the ruling class and their historic role however, it is no longer necessary to own a business to control the means of production and the working class, today, is international, a result of global ownership and economic competition www.notesolution.com
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