Sociology Chapter. 8 Notes
Sociology Chapter. 8 Notes syg 1000
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Stratification, Class, and Inequality ● The Middle Class suffered the most during the Great Recession of 2008. + Social class determined impact when something happens in the economy + Upper class lost most absolute dollars, but had little impact on their health Home ownership is the principle source of wealth for upper/lower classes The lower class bought less expensive homes with smaller mortgages ● Social Stratificationnequalities among individuals and groups that are determined not by individual personality or smallscale social situations, but by attributes like age, gender, religion, and military rank. ● Structured Inequalities:Social inequalities that result from patterns of social structure. The inequalities are built into the economic/political system rather than individual differences or chance occurrences. Systems of Stratification ● Slavery: Extreme inequalitysomeone is someone else’s literal property. Almost completely gone. ● Caste: Indian/Hindu cultures. Believed that people who don’t abide by rituals and duties will be reborn into a lower position in their next life. ● Class systems: System of social hierarchy that allows individuals movement between classes. 4 chief basics: Ownership of wealth Occupation Income Education ● Class systems are fluid and movement is possible through the hierarchy. They are also economically based and are largescale/impersonal his makes them different from slavery and castes. ● Class: Largescale group of people who share common economic resources and influence their lifestyle. There is no clear argument how the notion is to be defined. + Most sociologists use the term to refer to socioeconomic variations between groups of individuals that create variations in their material prosperity and power. Income ● Income: Greatly affects one’s social position, this refers to the wages and salaries earned in paid occupations, plus money from investments. + Rising real income of majority of population ● Real income: Income excluding rises due to inflation, to provide a fixed standard of comparison from year to year. + Blue collar workers do handson work such as construction and manufacturing. Their income rose, but their real income flopped in the latest decades. + Increasing productivity leads to more affluent population (output per worker) through technological advancement. ● Income distrubution is very unequal still. ‘7406, income inequality rose even more. Income for the richest 5% rose by more than 65%. Wealth ● Wealth: All assets individuals own (cash, savings, checkings, investments, etc.) ● Debt: All assets minus what someone owes. + Wealthy people get money from investment and inheritence. Some scholars argue that wealth, not income, is the source of social class since it’s less sensitive to fluctuations like: Shift work hours Health Other factors that impact one’s income. ● Best determinant of wealth:Survey of Consumer Finances ( every 3 years) Shows concentration connected to education, age and income. Home owning is a principle assett for most families. Cars and homes are not sources of wealth that can be used to pay to bills/get richer. + Net financial assets for minority groups are less than for Whites + White nonHispanic Americans experienced less loss of assets than Black/Hispanic counterparts. ● White’s have enjoyed higher income and wealth historically more than Blacks, so they pass it on to their children. ● Oliver and Shapiro: Argue that discrimination plays a role in holding assets. Racial gaps are prevalent in home ownership. Subprime mortgages usually happen only to minorities (charge higher interest rates) + Home ownership constitutes American families’ primary means for accumulating wealth. ● More and more debt has been growing and people owe more than they own. More debt means less net worth. + Wealth is even more unequal globally. + Difference in wealth=difference in privilege. People in the White house, Pentagon and Congress don’t have tons of wealth, but have tons of privilege. Education ● College education increased value over years due to demand and wages ● Education is one of the strongest predictors of occupation, income, and wealth later in life Occupation ● Occupation is an important indicator of social standing. More education= more prestige Top= Doctors, lawyers. Middle= insurance representative. Low= Garbage collector. Class and Lifestyle ● Class location, rely on income or wealth for sociologists. ● Consumption plays a large role in everyday life culturally, and individual identity surrounds ifestyle choicessuch as how we dress and eat (Not about employment) ● Bourdieu: Saw social class groups as identifiable according to cultural and economic capital. Individuals distinguish themselves not according to economic or occupational factor, but on basis of culrutal tastes/leisure pursuits. ● Need of Merchants people who represent and present goods and services, symbollic or actual, for consumption. Consumer society is a mass society where class differences are overridden (people of different classes can catch the same TV) Differences identified through lifestyle and tastes ● Social and material deprivation is because of lack of opportunity and constrained economic structure. (we don’t choose to typically buy clothes from Walmart, it’s just what we can afford) Theories of Stratification in Modern Societies + Most influential Marx and eber. Marx: Means of Production and Analysis of Class ● For Marx, class refers to people with relationshieans of Production ● Means of Production The means by which people can gain a livelihood ● Capitalists:Those who own the means of production ● Working class Selling labor to industrialists + Relationship between classes exploitative ● Surplus Value Source of value, which capitalists put to own use. Produce more than employers need to repay the cost of hiring them. + Industrialism > gap between wealth of minority and poverty of mass population Marx was right about poverty in industrialized society and inequalities. Marx was wrong about income being extremely low for most of the population. Weber: Class and Status ● Two main differences between Marx and Weber theories: Class division according to Weber derive not only from lack of/control, but also from economic differences that have nothing to do with property. Lower level workers earn more depending on education, but the highest worker is more “marketable” with their degree. Weber came up with Status:The differences between groups in social honor or prestige that others give to them. He applied this to stratification. ● Pariah Groups: Negative status that makes them rejected from certain occupations and such. They are rejected from political positions too. Wealth doesn’t ALWAYS equal high status (“new money” in Europe is looked down upon) + Class is objective, status is subjective by social differences. + Class= economic factors and earnings. Status= varying lifestyles. ● Weber offers a more sophisticated basis than Marx on stratification. Davis and Moore: The Functions of Stratification ● Davis and Moore: Functionalist explanation of stratification, arguing that it has beneficial consquences for society. Only a few people can do brain surgery, so they deserve more importance. They deserve rewards such as money or prestige or power. All societies are stratified due to benefits of different positions. Functional because they ensure most qualified people fill the roles most important to society. + All in all, social position is based on talent and effort alone. ● Tumin: Critic of this theory, argued that functional importance of a role is difficult to measure and that the social rewards given don’t reflect someone’s actual importance. They also overlooked stratificaion limiting discovery of talent in society. Social inequality limits reaching full potential, such as lack of education that prevents learning and mastering talents. Erik Olin Wright: Contradictory Class Locations ● Three dimensions of control over economic resources in modern Capitalist production, allowing us to identify major classes: 1. Control over investment/money capital 2. Control over physical means of production 3. Control over labor power ● Contradictory class locations: M anagers and white collar workers. They influence aspects of production, but lack control over others. + 8590% sell their labor (according to Wright) Within this is both blue and white collar workers. ● Two factors that differentiate class location within this population: 1. The relationship to authority 2. Possession of skills/expertise + People with more knowledge are harder to control, so employers secure their loyalty by rewarding them accordingly. Annette Laureau on Parenting Styles: Concerted cultivation vs The Development of Natural Growth ● Larreau: Social class influences parenting. Middle class is “concerted cultivation”, with time management and assertiveness and teamwork. Working class: Development of natural growth, they just play freely in neighborhoods. They end up with less skills and less assertiveness. Research on Social Stratificaion Today Contemporary portrait of the US Class Structure + There are no sharply defined boundaries between classes. The Upper Class ● The wealthiest Americans, usually inherited their wealth or hold a large number of stocks or businesses. This is the 5% who are wealthy, but not super rich. They are politically influential ● Globalization sparks entrepenurial work. “New wealth” is hold greatly for entrepeneurs. ● Minority of people believe the rich deserve their “hard earned wealth”, but movements like Occupy Wall Street oppose these overprivileged people who were just lucky. The Middle Class ● People usually associate themselves with the middle class because the US is relatively free of class distinctions. People often want to interact with the same class. ● Middle Class: Diverse group of occupations, people who earn stable incomes at primary white collar or highly skilled blue collar jobs. Shrank during the last quarter century. Currently the middle class includes slightly more than half of American houeseholds. It is increasingly diverse now. + Level of financial security enjoyed by the middle class has eroded over the years. Upper Middle Class ● Highly educated professionals (doctors, lawyers, engineers/professors) or own/manage small businesses. 15% of Americans are this. Lately are susceptible to layoffs and seen wealth shrink Lower Middle Class ● Trained office workers, elementary school teachers, nurses, police officers,. 40% of Americans are this. The most varied social class strata Modest homes, mostly high school and college education. The Working Class 40% of American households Blue collar mechanics and pink collar clerical aids ● Many manufacturing jobs are threatened by economic globalization, so they feel insecure. ● Racial/ethnic diversity. Children often bypass college and seek full time work immediately. ● Lower class: 20% has low wage full time workers, part time, or not at all. House cleaning or sweatshops, they have dead end jobs and live off with no benefits. + Live in poverty and are mostly not White (seldom vote and at times are homeless) The Underclass ● Underclass: Beneath class systems and lack access to world of mainstream behavior. AKA The New Urban Poor. Typically African American. Poor neighborhoods and even homeless, they have little hope of making it out of poverty. ● Sociologists argue that they perpetuate inequality b/c of difficult conditions make them ill suited for the economy. The divide between the urban poor and the rest of society is not as great as they believe Social Mobility: Moving Up and Down the Ladder ● Social Mobility: Movement of individuals through class positions as a result of changes in occupation, wealth, or income. ● Intergenerational mobility: Social movement across generations. ● Intragenerational mobility: How far one moves up or down the social ladder throughout one’s life. ● Exchange Mobility: Exchange of positions, such that more talented people in each generation move up the economic hierarchy, while the less talented move down. ● Structural Mobility: Most mobility is categorized here, it is made possible by expansion of better paid occupations at the expense of poorly paid ones upward mobility is easier. + New entrants to the work force in the 80s were badly displaced in the work force, negatively affected their futures in the social class. Opportunities for Mobility: Who Gets Ahead? ● Blau and Duncan: L ong range intergenerational mobility (working class to upper middle) was rare. Why? EDUCATION!! ● Sewell and Hauser: Confirmed this conclusion. Adults who raised the children inspire the educational/career aspirations. ● Bourdieu: Family backgrounds impact social status, but emphasize cultural advantages parents provide children. The most important factor for status is the transmission of cultural capital, coming from a “good home.” People who already hold wealth and power don’t typically worry for their children’s access to it, but working class parents lack resources or capital. + In U.S. society, it’s better to start at the top than the bottom. ● Intergeneration mobility= higher education. More for men than for Women, more for White than any other race. 60% of Americans in top income graduated college. ● Great Recession of 2008: D eemphasized centraiity of educational attainment of upward mobility. Graduates who entered the work force suffered long term lower wages. Being accepted into college depends on social background. HOWEVER! This resulted in higher rates of female labor. Women don’t feel the economic downfall since they are generally paid less than men. So Men suffered greater job losses. (Take that) Downward Mobility ● Middle class upbringing does not result in same status over lifetime ⅓ end up out of that status in adulthood. (downward mobility has increased recently) Finance, construction and real estate (usually with men) often were strongly impacted. Small shifts into a similar job can have psychological cost. ● Women inter/intra generational shifts can also happen due to divorce. ● Schwarz and Volgy: Divorce lead to more uncertainty and less stability , despite leaving abusive people. Poverty in the United States Poverty has increased over the years. ● Absolute Poverty: C an’t get enough to eat, common in poor developing countries ● Relative Poverty: Industrial countries, measure of inequality. Being poor compared to majority, lacks basic resources. Measuring Poverty ● 15.1% in poverty (2010) Rate of child poverty is even worse, 1 in 5. + Romania has the highest poverty child rate, U.S runs second. ● Poverty Line: Official government measure to define those living in poverty in the U.S. 3X the cost of a nutritional diet. Some believe this is an overestimation (it doesn’t take noncash forms of income like food stamps or medicaid) Some say it underestimates since poor people focus on housing more than food. + Genuinely underestimated older adults in poverty since they are faced with high healthcare cost. Who Are the Poor? ● 55% people believe the poor are just lazy for their poverty. ⅔ People believe government handouts too much to them. ● A substantial part of the middle class will be in danger if the recession continues. The Working Poor ● Working Poor: People who work, but earnings don’t get them out of poverty. The minimum wage can be raised in different states, not lowered. (Highest is Washington, which is 8.80 per hour.) Most poor people do not get welfare since they make too much to qualify for it. + Disproportionately nonWhite and immigrant. Lack education and healtchare. Poverty, Race, and Ethnicity ● Poverty in the U.S is higher for minority groups, even though ⅔ of poor are White. Minorities work at lowest paying jobs and racial discrimination. Asian Americans have the highest income, but poverty rate is higher than Whites. Hispanics have little higher rates than Blacks, but poverty rate is similar. Black poverty has decreased as well as for Hispanics. + This is because of economic expansion for new job opportunities. Feminization of Poverty ● This is an increase in proportion of poor who are female. Usually due to divorce and single parenthood. This is dominant in Hispanic households. Children in Poverty ● Children are the principle victims of poverty in the U.S. 43% children live in poverty households Elderly in Poverty ● Poverty rates fail to consider the high costs of medical care, which strike older adults. Highest rate is for old Hispanic women. Income is based on social security and private retirement programs. Results in modest incomes. Special Case of Poverty: Homelessness ● Homeless: No place to sleep and either stay in free shelters or sleep in public places. Today they are primarily young single men often of working age. + Hard to count them due to not living anywhere, its hard to estimate how many. The number has decreased due to permanent shelters and supportive housing. ● Most homeless numbers have children (1/3 ) Very few Homeless are Asian or Latino since they have closeknit families and community ties. Veterans make up most of homelessness due to combat injuries or mental scarring. ⅔ have alcoholic problems or drugs, or mental health issues. ● Rising costs of housing cause homelessness. Declining income to rising rent= affordability gap. Unanswered Questions 1. Is Inequality Declining or Increasing in the U.S? ● Kuznets Curve: Kuznets was an economist who made the formula that shows inequality increasing during the early stages of Capital development, then declines, then stabilizes at a low level. Fourth phase inequality is again increasing. The gap between rich and poor keeps growing. The U.S has the largest unequal distribution of income. ● Globalization and declining governments lead to rise in inequality all over the world. The gap was widening long before the recession. Officials were getting paid more than the working class. + Since the recession, the growing gap has accelerated. Most gains in income go to the top 5% rich. ● The average value of all homes which is the principle form of wealth for all but the wealthiest Americans. Dropped sharply. Obama’s increase in government spending helped slow the economy inequality. Why are Poverty Rates Rising in the U.S? Sociological Debate + The poor are most affected by economic downturns. ● Blame the Victim The poor are responsible for their own actions. Poorhouses said that poor were unable to contribute. Explanations targeted poor lifestyles. ● Lewis: Poverty results from larger social and cultural atmosphere where the poor young are socialized. ● Culture of Poverty: As stated above, young people see little point in wanting to be more. ● Murray: “No fault of their own”, he placed individuals who are poor intependency culture. Widows, orphans, or the disabled, they rely on welfare other than working Welfare erodes people’s incentive to work since it’s easier for them. + Majority of American’s blame the poor for their own lifestyles. ● Structural differences link to poverty, such as race, class, gender, occupational position, education, and so forth. They have lack of opportunity, they aren’t lazy. Countering would require better policy and higher wages/income levels for family. What can be Done to Combat Poverty? ● Transferring wealth in forms ohigher taxeselps the poor inequality from the rich. But people usually in welfare try to escape from it due to shame. ● TANF program had welfare recipients begin work after receiving benefits for two years. Employment increased. However, some had to rely on partners or just couldn’t find work. Those who got jobs received less money than they had when they were on Welfare, especially low income mothers who noticed that jobs payed lower income, so Welfare was better. + These were conducted during an economic expansion period. When growth slows, it becomes impossible for Welfare people to find new jobs. How will These Economic Patterns Affect Your Life? Education future wealth? This has decreased over time. Traditional upward jobs will dissappear. ● Overall number of jobs may not keep up with amount of college degrees out there. More women are entering the work force, and technology is working too.
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