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Canada (161,798)
Sociology (1,770)
Chapter 2

Sociology 2140 Chapter 2 Textbook Notes

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Sociology 2140
Richard Sorrentino

CHAPTER 2 – POVERTY IN THE CANADIAN CONTEXT • Canadians view themselves as living in a meritocracy – a nation where the best person can rise to the top in any situation, despite his or her antecedents. • Today, more than 1.3 billion people live in absolute poverty o Exists when people do not have the means to secure the most basic necessities of life. o The number of people living in absolute poverty has increased even in high income nations such as Canada • Max Weber’s Life chances: The extent to which individuals have access to important societal resources such as food, clothing, shelter, education and health care. o Developed a multidimensional class model that focused on the interplay of wealth, power and prestige as determinants of a person’s class positions. Where as Marx defined the division of capitalist societies based on two determinants: the capitalist class (bourgeoisie) and the working class (proletariat) o Another theorist, Erik Wright, puts forth 4 criteria for placement in the class structure: 1. Ownership of the means of production 2. Purchase of the labour of others (employing others) 3. Control of the labour of others (supervising others on the job) 4. Sale of one’s own labour (being employed by someone else) The Canadian Lower Classes: • The gap between the richest and the poorest in the nation continues to widen – despite income taxes and transfer payments designed to lessen inequality • Minimum wages in this country no longer keep people out of poverty – despite the fact that that was what they were designed to do • 20 % of the Canadian population compromises the working poor and the chronically poor o Working Poor: Those who work full-time in unskilled positions but still remain at the edge of poverty o Chronically Poor: People of working age who are unemployed or outside of the labour force and children who live in poor families – may be people who can’t work because of disability as well as lone-parent mothers • Many working Canadians will turn to food banks because they cannot afford food on top of living expenses • Relative Poverty: When people may be able to afford basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter but cannot maintain and average standard of living compared to other members of their society or group. • In Canada, the government has not established a formal poverty line, however, they have created a low-income cut-off (LICO) line – which allows us to see how many people in Canada spend significantly more than the average on the necessities of life o Canadian post-secondary students may soon find themselves among the poor – for longer than their in-school years – due to increasing debt loads and decreasing job opportunities  Average debt two years past graduation is 20 000 (Maritimes having the highest debt while Quebec is having the lowest)  Stats Canada found an inverse relationship between program completion and student debt – the higher the debt, the lower the rate of completion Consequences of Poverty: • Lone mothers are starving the
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