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Class systems & inequalities

by: Desiree Lynch

Class systems & inequalities ANTH 1000

Desiree Lynch
GPA 3.7

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In this set of notes we go over class differences and the inequalities that come from this. I've included key terms and important figures in bold as an easy way to distinguish the key points from ...
ANTH 100: Other People's Worlds
Dr. Elle
Class Notes
25 ?




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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Desiree Lynch on Monday November 9, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to ANTH 1000 at University of Connecticut taught by Dr. Elle in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 82 views. For similar materials see ANTH 100: Other People's Worlds in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of Connecticut.

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Date Created: 11/09/15
Anthro Notes- class and inequality Middle Class- considered the “ideal” because it symbolizes comfort and having leftover money for leisure time. Huge gap between the classes Class- system of power based on wealth and income and a social status that creates and unequal distribution of resources. Serves a large part of our identity- we’re consciously aware of our class differences There isn’t equal opportunity- probably born into your class and you stay in that class. There isn’t a trickledown effect- the rich stay rich while the poor struggle to get by even though they are working 40+ hour work weeks Inequality a Natural part of human culture? - Egalitarian Societies. Reciprocal relationships create long term relationships (Marcel Mauss) theory of “The gift”. Some people in the egalitarian society can have a status within the community- known as “Achieved” status. Egalitarian societies do not include “ascribed status”: when a person is born into their status. (example of this privilege from status would be the son of a king must be treated differently from other children, even if he has not yet achieved any person status). Ranked Societies- redistribution of resources so that everyone has at least some of the resource. Conspicuous consumption- demonstration that you have money to “burn”. Theories of Class-:  Karl Marx: interested in the relationship between upper class and lower class during industrial revolution. Argued that upper class owned the means of production- mode of production is the way of producing. Showed the relationship developing between the workers and their product. Proletariat owns no means of production they offer only their labor and are taken advantage of. Marx wanted there to be economic egalitarianism  Max Weber: Prestige and Life Chances. Economist during late 19 Century interested in Prestige and life chances. Prestige: some classes/occupations had more than prestige than other, more highly regarded. This effects opportunities in life: different access to education for self and children  Peirre Bourdieu: Education and Social Reproduction- says that education doesn’t necessarily lead to social mobility. Very few actually change class because of their educational status. 1. Habitus: Refers to our self-perception and identity that develops as a part of enculturation. What do the people that live around you strive for? Gives you cultural personality. They become “habits” that are really hard to break and we perpetuate them 2. Culture Capital: Refers to the resources you and your family have to draw upon- based on wealth and prestige and lack thereof.  Leith Mullings: Intersectionality. In order to understand class in inequality we must look at how class intersects with race and gender. Race and gender must be considered in addition to economics and class. Americans have a lot of misconceptions about incoming wealth. 21% of the wealth went to the top 5% of the population. 3.3% of all income went to the lowest-earning to the bottom 20% of the population. About 35% of wealth is controlled by just 1% of the population. 80% of pop control just 12.8% of wealth. Distribution of wealth creates disproportionate amounts of wealth between the classes. Criminalizing poverty- punishing homeless people for sleeping outside of churches/businesses- can’t climb out of poverty. Many people blame the poor for being poor- too lazy to clean up and get a job. Others blame the structural problems that limit a person’s ability to get a job. Lewis’ work was mean for an academic audience but the US politicians and policy makers became attracted to the notion of a culture of poverty. They made the accusation and assumption that African American poverty was a problem within in their (African American) culture and not at the fault of Jim Crow laws and institutional racism. This caused a huge uproar. Poor communities have poorer education systems, health care access, lower paying jobs, minimal police protection, urban areas more susceptible to globalization and movement of jobs overseas- structural problems of the community lead to poverty. Not a cultural issue. Television implies that inequality isn’t an issue and that we all have equal opportunity to the middle class ideal Gated communities/suburbs going certain lengths to make sure that they are separated from impoverished communities- isolate themselves from communities that are poorer than them Consumer Culture- pressure to buy goods beyond basic needs and credit has encouraged invisibility of class inequality- appearance of class even if we do not earn enough to buy these luxuries Caste System- involves levels of social hierarchy with those on top having better access to economic, cultural, and political power. Outcasts- People born without caste and given the worst jobs and considered the lowest and most impure people of India. Caste system largely exploited by the British- allowed the British to control the population much easier (divide and conquer). Allowed the Indians to view themselves as different from them Caste to Class- caste systems are gradually failing. Incompatible with the capitalistic economic model of being spread by global corporations.


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