Chapter 7 Notes
Chapter 7 Notes Sociology 1101
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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Leslie Jane Larson on Sunday March 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Sociology 1101 at Clayton State University taught by Mrs. Holland-Davis in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Sociology in Sociology at Clayton State University.
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Date Created: 03/06/16
CHAPTER 7 SOCIAL INEQUALITIES Learning Objectives Module 7.1 You will learn about the processes by which people are categorized and ranked on a scale of social worth and rewarded accordingly. Module 7.2 You will learn about two theoretical traditions in sociology that give meaning and significance to the concept of social class. Module 7.3 You will learn four sociological perspectives on social inequality. Module 7.4 You will learn that “failures” in life are often unearned. Module 7.5 You will learn that income, wealth, and other valued resources are distributed unequally across the countries of the world. Module 7.6 You will learn how sociologists think about the world’s richest people. Glossary Module 7.1 achieved statuses – humancreated social categories and characteristics acquired through some combination of personal choice, effort, and ability. ascribed statuses – humancreated social categories and characteristics that are the result of chance in that people exert no effort to obtain them. Birth order, race, sex, and age qualify as ascribed statuses. caste system – a system of stratification in which people are ranked according to ascribed statuses. class system – a system of stratification in which people are ranked on the basis of their achievements related to merit, talent, ability, or past performance. 1 life chances – the probability that a person’s life will follow a certain path and turn out a certain way. Life chances apply to virtually every aspect of life—the chances that someone will survive the first year after birth, complete high school, see a dentist twice a year, work while going to school, travel abroad, major in elementary education, own fifty or more pairs of shoes, or live a long life. social mobility – movement from one social class to another. social prestige – a level of respect or admiration for a status apart from any person who happens to occupy it. social stratification – the systematic process of categorizing and ranking people on a scale of social worth where one’s ranking affects life chances in unequal ways. status value – a situation in which people who possess one characteristic (white skin versus brown skin, blond hair versus dark hair, high versus low income, married versus single) are regarded and treated as more valuable or worthy than people who possess other characteristics. Module 7.2 finance aristocracy – those who live in obvious luxury among lowpaid or unemployed workers. Include those who are seemingly detached from the world of work. income – the money a person earns, usually on an annual basis through salary or wages. negatively privileged property class – people completely lacking in skills, property, or employment, or who depend on seasonal or sporadic employment, constituting the very bottom of the class system. political parties – organizations that try to acquire power to influence social action. Parties are organized to represent people of a certain class or social status or with certain interests. positively privileged property class – those who monopolize the purchase of the highestpriced consumer goods, have access to the most socially advantageous kinds of education, control the highest executive positions, own the means of production, and live on income from property and other investments. power – the probability that one can exercise his or her will in the face of resistance. social class – a person’s overall economic and social status in a system of social stratification. status group – an amorphous group of persons held together by virtue of a lifestyle that has come to be “expected of all those who wish to belong to the circle” and by the level of social esteem and honor others accord them (Weber 1948, 187). status symbols – visible markers of economic and social position and rank. wealth – the combined value of a person’s income and other material assets such as stocks, real estate, and savings minus debt. Module 7.3 intersectionality – the interconnections among race, class, gender, sexual orientation, 2 religion, ethnicity, age (generation), nationality, disability, and other social statuses that taken together profoundly shape life chances. penalties – constraints on a person’s opportunities and choices, as well as the price paid for engaging in certain activities, appearances, or choices deemed inappropriate of someone in a particular category. privileges – special takenforgranted advantages and immunities or benefits enjoyed by a dominant group relative to minority groups. social inequalities – the unequal access to and distribution of income, wealth, and other valued resources. Module 7.4 urban underclass – diverse groups of families and individuals living in the inner city who are “outside the mainstream of the American occupational system and consequently represent the very bottom of the economic hierarchy” (Wilson 1983, 80). Module 7.5 absolute poverty – a situation in which people lack the resources to satisfy the basic needs no person should be without. Absolute poverty is usually expressed as a living condition that falls below a certain threshold or minimum. brain drain – the emigration from a country of the most educated and most talented people, including actual or potential hospital managers, nurses, accountants, teachers, engineers, political reformers, and other institution builders (Dugger 2005). extreme wealth – the most excessive form of wealth, in which a very small proportion of people in the world have money, material possessions, and other assets (minus liabilities) in such abundance that a small fraction of it, if spent appropriately, could provide adequate food, safe water, sanitation, and basic health care for the 1 billion poorest people on the planet. relative poverty – a situation that is measured not by some essential minimum but rather by comparing a particular situation against an average or advantaged situation. Module 7.6 no key terms 3 Sample Critical Thinking Essays The following essays are unedited examples from actual students. You may find it useful to share them with your students to initiate discussion, or you may use them as rubrics against your own students’ work. Module 7.1 – Assign a monetary value to your life. Explain your rationale. Do not try to deflect this question by saying it’s impossible to put a price tag on anyone’s life. Rather, think about who in your life would be affected if you were to die and your value to that person. It is very difficult to assign a monetary value on my life, especially in contrast to other people. According to my life insurance, I’m worth $25,000 to carry down to my family when I pass. The only way I could approach this would be to follow the compensation model used by United States after September 11, 2001. They studied age (I am 23), annual income (I earn $7,200), occupation (education major & librarian), marital status (single), potential earnings (projected inheritance), and family status (with child); and how those factors affect worth and the money awarded. Factors that might increase my value are that I survived 23 years, am a licensed driver, high school graduate, will eventually have a masters degree in education, am musically talented, work at a library, volunteer at Brighton Center, see a doctor, dentist, and optometrist at least once a year for checkups, and have natural hair and all my body parts. Some factors that might decrease my value are my tattoos and piercings, my low income, or that I’m a single mother. Module 7.2 – What is your social class? In answering this question use the language of Marx and Weber. I would say that the social class I occupy at this point in my life is the negatively privileged property class. I do not have many skills that can net me a wellpaid position, I do not have any property, and I have depended upon seasonal and sporadic employment for much of my life. If we were to place my social class according to wealth I am in the bottom quartile as I have no accumulated wealth after debts are paid. If we were to place my social class according to income I would be in the bottom fifth because I make less than $16,000 a year after taxes. I think that to make it from the lowest class that I occupy now into at least the middle class I would need to be making between $45,000 and $80,000 per year, and I think I would need to be on the higher side of that. Overall, until I finish school and get a job with decent benefits, including salary, I am stuck in this class, unless I forgo the legitimate means. Module 7.3 – Give an example of how systems of oppression (institutionalized, symbolic, or personal) have affected your chances to connect with people in other categories. 4 In the United States there is a large population of Spanishspeaking immigrant workers. For years I have heard of native citizens being upset with the steady flow of immigrant workers that have come to work in the United States, often for lower wages than non immigrant workers will accept. This social climate has led to the marginalization of immigrant rights, and even the demonization and dehumanization of illegalimmigrant workers. Because the role of the immigrant worker has been greatly marginalized, communications between immigrant workers and the nonimmigrant population in the U.S. are fairly strained. I have worked in many restaurants where there were Spanish speaking immigrants working in the kitchen and it has been my experience that it is difficult to build relationships with these workers. The symbolic system of oppression that has marginalized their rights has understandably made them feel more comfortable interacting with others who fit into their same category, and despite the fact that I uphold the rights of immigrant workers, the fact that I look like many who marginalize them certainly affects my ability to build relationships with them. Module 7.4 – Look over the list of factors that help to explain unearned failures and successes. Think of a “success” or “failure” in your life and identify three factors that were most influential in your achievement or failing. A big success in my life was receiving a full scholarship offer from UK (University of Kentucky), U of L (University of Louisville), and NKU (Northern Kentucky University). I chose NKU. The three factors that were most influential to this achievement include my hard work in school, a basketball camp that I founded, and my mother’s influence and support. I feel that my hard work and dedication in the classroom played a big part because it gave me the writing skills to compose an effective essay submitted with my application, On my application I was also able to write about a basketball camp that I started with the goal of teaching atrisk children the fundamentals of basketball, to display good sportsmanship and apply these lessons to everyday life. In the essay proportion of my NKU scholarship application I was asked to write about something I have done to contribute to my community in a positive way. I chose to write about my basketball camp and its positive impact on the children who participated as well as the formal recognition I received for starting it (e.g., the YMCA Character Award and the Prudential Spirit of Community Award). The fact that I had done something likely gave me an edge with the selection committee. The last big factor is my mother because she has supported me in a big way. My mother helped me find the resources to start my camp; she reviewed my application and suggested edits to make sure that I wrote the best essay possible. I feel that each of these three factors played a significant role in helping me achieve scholarship. Module 7.5 – Have you ever experienced absolute or relative poverty? Give examples. I’ve never experienced absolute poverty but there were times when we weren’t that far away. My mom was bedridden by botched back surgeries and my stepdad worked as an exterminator for most of my childhood. He never made much, and I’d been told time 5 and again that if not for all the overtime we never would have gotten by. We didn’t see him too often, but there were months when even all that overtime wasn’t enough and we had to borrow from my grandparents. Most folks on the street are probably just people who don’t have anyone to lean on when things get rough. 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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