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Sociology 241 Exam 1 Notes

by: Nadeera Mohamed

Sociology 241 Exam 1 Notes SOCI 241

Nadeera Mohamed
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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About this Document

These are the notes for the first exam in Dr. May's Sociology class.
Social Problems
Dr. Candace May
Study Guide
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This 5 page Study Guide was uploaded by Nadeera Mohamed on Friday February 19, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to SOCI 241 at University of Louisiana at Lafayette taught by Dr. Candace May in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 64 views. For similar materials see Social Problems in Sociology at University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

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Date Created: 02/19/16
EXAM 1  Secondary Analysis: Using Available Data   A common major research method that is based on collection of data originally collected by  others Paradigms: Truth, Science, and Politics   Positivism  “value­free” approach  Purpose of societal control  Gives information to government or other positions of power  Interpretivism   Verstehen­ empathic understanding   Purpose of useful knowledge for people  Understanding of experiences is a representation of the truth they live in  Critical  Is “objective” research even possible?  Purpose is to change the world  They think verstehen is not accurate because people’s perception of reality is distorted Truth and Statistics   Check how terms are defined   Numbers are subject to error  People often “spin” off numbers  Responding to Social Problems: Social Policy  Social policy refers to formal structure Evaluation of Social Policy  How is success defined?  Tends to be shaped by culture  Conservatives: seek to limit the scope of societal change (focus on short comings of  individuals, not society)  Liberals: favor more sweeping change in society (see problems in the organization of  society)  Radicals: support policies that go beyond mere reform   Can be either ultra­liberal or ultra­conservative Politics: Constructing Problems and Defining Solutions  The Political Spectrum: a continuum representing a range of political attitudes from “left”  to “right”  Social Issues: political debates involving moral judgements about how people should live  Economic Issues: political debates about how a society should distribute material resources  Who Thinks What?  Two good predictors of political attitudes are education and wealth – both of which are  elements of social class  The fact that social class affects social and economic attitudes differently means that most  people have some combination of liberal and conservative attitudes  CHAPTER 2: POVERTY AND WEALTH Economic Inequality in the US   Social stratification   The system by which society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy  Power, prestige, and wealth   Stratification produces social classes   Categories of people who have similar life chances: access  to resources and  opportunities    Income   Salary or wages from jobs plus earnings from investments or any other source   Wealth   The value of all the economic assets owned by a person or family minus any debts   The wealthiest 5% of families in the US own 60% of all wealth   The wealthiest 20% control 85% of all wealth  50% of all families in the US have no wealth at all  Any discussion of problem such as poverty most include income and wealth  Taxation is a common device used by the government to reduce economic inequality   Taxes become very controversial   Taxation: Fiscal Policy  Progressive   The more you make, the more you pay  Regressive   The less you make, the more you pay  Sales tax, gas tax, excise taxes  Proportional   Everyone pays the same percentage   Sales tax, gas tax excise taxes  Rich pay nearly the same as the middle classes  The Rich and the Poor: A Social Profile  “The Rich”: those families who fall within the top 10% of income distribution   The “poverty line”: a standard set by the US government for the purpose of counting the  poor, referring to the level of annual income below which a person or family is defined as  poor and this entitled to government assistance  The “poverty gap”:   How much does it cost to live vs. where the poverty line actually is The Poor: A closer look  Profile of the US Poor:  Age: at greatest risk are children   Race: African Americans and Hispanics   Proportional to group size  Gender: women   Family Patterns: single mothers  Region: the South and the West  Rural and urban areas have the highest rates of poverty  Working vs. Non­working Poor  Working Poor  18% of the heads of poor families work full time  Remain below the poverty line  Non­Working Poor  May have bad health and/or  Lack of skills or self­confidence  The Underclass  Poor people who live in areas with high concentrations of poverty (40% below poverty line)  and limited opportunities  Persistent poverty vs temporary poverty Problems Linked to Poverty  Poor health   The link between poverty and health is evident from birth to old age   The infant mortality among the poor is twice the national average   Death comes earlier to the poor, more likely to die from disease/violence.  Social Problems Linked to Poverty   Substandard Housing or Homelessness  About 500000 people are homeless in the US on a given night   Up to 3.5 million people are homeless at some point during the year   Limited Schooling   Poor children are less likely than rich children to complete high school   Tracking – poor children seen as less able  Crime and Punishment   Poor are more likely to face arrest, trial, conviction, and prison   Political Alienation   Voters in 2012: 54% of people earning less than $40,000, 80% of people earning at least  $100,000 Responding to Poverty: The Welfare System  Social welfare program  An organization effort by the government to [help those who can’t help themselves]    Large government­run welfare programs have three characteristics:   Benefits depend on what/who is defined as worthy   They benefit most people (the elderly, veterans, students, and farmers)  They do not significantly change income disparity  Brief History of Welfare  The Colonial era – 1600s and 1700s  th  The earlier Industrial era (19  century)  Attitudes toward the poor became more negative   The 20  Century   Soaring immigration and the 1929 Great Depression, and FDR’s “New Deal”  Changes in the welfare system   Began when President Clinton pledged in 1992 to “end welfare as we know it”  The result was the Welfare Reform Act of 1996  The public remains divided over whether people deserve help Welfare Reform Act 1996  Replaced federal aid to families with dependent children (AFDC) program with a new state  related program   Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)   New Rules require able­bodied people receiving benefits to find a job  Or enroll for job retraining within two years   Max of 5 years to receive benefits Theoretical Analysis: Understanding Poverty   Structural Functionalism   Some Poverty is Inevitable   Symbolic Interactionism  Defining the Problem  Social Conflict Analysis  Poverty can be Eliminated Structural Functional Analysis­Some Poverty is inevitable  Social Pathology theories   Personal deficiency   Social disorganization theory   Too much change  Recent functional theory   Davis and Moore­ inequality actually helps society function efficiently   Herbert Gans – poverty exists because many people benefits from it  Symbolic Interaction Analysis: Defining the problem   Highlights the social construction of problems and solutions   Explores the meanings that people attach to those who are poor  How these views lead to a particular understanding of who/what are responsible  Social Conflict Analysis   Marxist Theory: poverty and capitalism  Cultural Capital: poverty involves more than money   Multicultural theory: poverty, race, ethnicity  Feminist Theory: poverty and patriarchy   Intersection Theory: Multiple disadvantages  


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