chapter 7 Inequality

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social stratification
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the division of society into groups arranged in a social hierarchy
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social inequality
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the unequal distribution of wealth power or prestige among members of a society
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slavery
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the most extreme form of social stratification based on legal ownership of people
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4 basic principles to social stratification
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1) it is a characteristics of society rather than a reflection of individual differences 20social stratification persists over generations (such as class wealth) 3)different societies use differing criteria or ranking individuals 4) social stratification is maintained through beliefs that are widely shared by members of society
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systems of stratification
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slavery caste social class
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caste system
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a form of social stratification in which status is determined by one’s family history and background and cannot be changed (you are born into this)
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apartheid
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the system of segregation of racial and ethnic groups that was legal in south africa between 1948 and 1991
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caste system of India as declared within the Hindu religion
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5 categories: -Braham (scholars and priests) -chhetri (rulers and warriors -vaisya (merchants and traders -sudra (farmers, artisans and laborers) -untouchables (social outcasts)
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south africans were separated into 4 groups
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white english and dutch indian from india colored mixed race and black
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social class
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a system go stratification based on access to such resrouces as wealth property power and prestige especially practiced in capitalist societies
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socioeconomic status
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a measure of an individuals place within a social class system often used interchangeably with class
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intersectionality
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a concept that identifies how different categories of inequality (race class gender etc.) intersect to shape the lives of individuals and groups
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upper class
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an elite and largely self sustaining group who posses most of the country’s wealth they constitute about 1 percent go the US population
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the upper middle class
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mostly highly educated professionals and managers who have considerable financial stability they contisute about 14% pf the us population
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middle class
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composed primarily of white collar workers with a board range of education and incomes they constitute about 30% of the US population
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white collar
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a description characterizing lower level professional and management workers and some highly skilled laborers in technical jobs
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working class or lower middle class
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mostly blue collar or service industry workers who are less likely to have a college degree they constitute about 30% of the US population
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blue collar
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a description characterizing skilled and semiskilled workers who perform manual labor or work in service or clerical jobs
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working poor
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poorly educated manual and service workers who may work full time but remain near or below the poverty line they constitute about 20% of the US population
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underclass
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the poorest group includes the homeless and chronically unemployed who may depend on public or private assistance they constitute about 5 percent of the US population
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status inconsistency
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a situation in which an individual has differing levels of status in terms of the individuals wealth power prestige or otter elements of socioeconomic status
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freudal system
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a system of social stratification based on a hereditary nobility who were responsible for and served by a lower stratum of forced laborers called serfs
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what are serfs?
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forced laborers
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what did marx argue about the feudal system?
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that economic relationships were quickly becoming the only social relationships that mattered
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wealth
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a measure of net worth that includes income property and other assets
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weberian theory
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max weber noted that owning the means of production was not the only way of achieving upper class status a person can accumulate wealth believed that another important element in social class has to do with prestige which can affect not only their wealth or power but also how they are perceived
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prestige
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the social honor people are given because of their membership in well regarded social groups
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structural functionalism
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there must be incentives to ensure that individuals will occupy these roles that are most necessary or important the functionalist perspective helps to explain the existing system of social stratification and its persistence but it still leaves us with questions about the structured inequalities that it continues to reproduce
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postmodernism
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social reproduction cultural capital also shapes the perceptions that others form about a person
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social reproduction
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the tendency of social classes to remain relatively stable as class status is passed down from one generation to the next
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cultural capital
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the tastes habits expectations skills knowledge and other cultural assets that help us gain an advantage in society
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symbolic interactionism
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interactionalists believe that all social structures including systems of inequality are constructed from the building blocks of everyday interaction erving Goffman noted that we read different aspects of identity by interpreting the behavior of others and that we become accustomed to others reading our behavior in the same way
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everyday class consciousness
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awareness of one’s own social status and that of others
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correlation with pregnancies and education
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less educated women have higher average number of births throughout their lifetime than more educated women
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state of being and health
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those who were more educated reported feeling healthier and better about themselves regardless of age race or gender
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how do people move from one social class to another?
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social mobility
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social mobility
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the movement of individuals or groups within the hierarchical system of social classes
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closed system
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a social system with very little opportunity to move from one class to another
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open system
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a social system with ample opportunities to move form one class to another
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intergenerational mobility
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movement between social classes that occurs from one generation to the next
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social mobility can happen in three different ways
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intergenerational mobility intragenerational mobility structural mobility
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intragenerational mobility
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the movement between social classes that occurs during the course of and individuals lifetime (this change can be measure in two directions horizontal social mobility and vertical social mobility)
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horizontal social mobility
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the movement of individuals or groups within a particular social class most often a result of chaining occupations
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vertical social mobility
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the movement between different class statuses often called either upward mobility or downward mobility
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structural mobility
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changes in the social status of large numbers of people a a result of structural changes in society
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relative deprivation
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a relative measure of poverty based on the standard of living in a particular society
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absolute deprivation
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an objective measure of poverty defined by the inability to meet minimal standards for food shelter clothing or health care
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homogamy
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choosing romantic partners who are similar to us in terms of class race education religion and other social group membership
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heterogamy
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choosing romantic partners who are dissimilar to us in terms of class race education religion and other social group membership
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hypergamy
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marrying up in the social class hierarchy
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hypogamy
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marrying down in the social class hierarchy
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digital divide
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the unequal acces to computer and internet technology both globally and within the United States
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culture of poverty
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entrenched attitudes that can develop among poor communities and lead the poor to accept their fate rather than attempt to improve their lot
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just world hypothesis
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argues that people have a deep need to see the world as orderly predictable and fair which creates a tendency to view victims of social injustice as deserving of their fates
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residential segregation
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the geographical separation of the poor from the rest of an are’s population
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disenfranchisement
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the removal of the rights of citizenship through economic political or legal means (if the political system has ignored their needs why would the poor get involved)
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meritocracy
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a system in which rewards are distributed based on merit
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delusions of american dream
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what constructs the american dream to modern day citizens is of an obscure nature, that is we view the dream as one that involves consumerism
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simplicity movement
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a loosely knit movement that opposes consumerism and encourages people to work less earn less and spend less in accordance with nonmaterialistic values
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social stratification
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is the division of society into groups arranged in a social hierarchy every society has some form of stratification, but societies stratify people according to a variety of criteria (such as race class and gender)
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social inequality
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is the unequal distribution of wealth power or prestige among members of a society
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slavery
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is the most extreme form of social stratification and is based on the legal ownership of people
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caste system
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is a form of sisal stratification i which status is determined by one’s family history and background and cannot be changed
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apartheid
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is the term for the system of segregation of racial and ethnic groups that was legal in south Africa between 1948 and 1991
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social class
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refers to a system of stratification based on access to resources such as wealth property power and prestige. sociologists often refer to it as socioeconomic status (or SES)
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the upper class
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wealthiest people in a class system make up 1% of the us population possess most of the wealth of the country
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the upper middle class
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professionals and managers make up about 14% of the US population
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the middle class
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consists of primarily of -whiter-collar workers -have broad range of incomes -make up about 30% of the US population
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the working class (lower middle)
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blue collar or service industry workers less likely to have college degrees make up about 30% of the US population
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the lower class
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many poor people who typically have lower levels of literacy than other classes makes up about 20% of the US population
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karl marx
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believed that there were two main social classes in capitalist societies -capitalists (or bourgeoisie) who owned the means of production -workers (or proletariat) who sold their labor for wages –he believed that the classes would remain divided and social inequality would grow
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max weber
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offered a similar model that also included cultural components: wealth (or privilege) (property and investments) power (make change in the system) prestige (the social honor given to people for their membership)
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structural functional theory
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suggests that the system of stratification that has emerged is functional to society in many ways: -certain roles are more important for the functioning of society and these roles may be more difficult to fill so more incentive is needed -greater rewards are necessary for work that requires more training and skill
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postmodern theory
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more recently pierre bourdieu attempted to explain social reproduction the tendency for social class status to be passed down from one generation to the next
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why does this social reproduction happen?
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according to bourdieu this happens because each generation acquires cultural capital which helps us to gain advantages in society -this cultural capital either helps or hinders us as we become adults
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symbolic interaction theory
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symbolic interactionists examine the way we use status differences to categorize ourselves and others -as erving goffman pointed out our clothing speech gestures possessions friends and activities provide information about our socioeconomic status
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life chances and socioeconomic status
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belonging to a certain social class has profound consequences for individuals in all areas of life including education employment and medical care
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social mobility
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is the movement of individuals or groups within the hierarchical system of social classes -a closed system is one in which there is very little opportunity to move from one class to another -an open system is one with ample opportunities to move from one class to another
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intergenerational mobility
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is the movement between social classes that occurs from one germination to the next
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intragenerational mobility
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is the movement between social classes that occurs over the course of an individuals lifetime
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horizontal social mobility
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is the occupational movement of individuals or groups within a social class
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vertical social mobility
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is the movement between social classes and depending on the direction is often called either upward mobility or downward mobility
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structural mobility
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refers to changes in the social status of large numbers of people due to structural changes in society
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defining poverty
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in the US the federal poverty line (an absolute measure of annual measure) is frequently used to determine who should be categorized as poor
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relative deprivation
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is a relative measure of poverty based on the standards of living people are considered poor if their standard of living is less than that of other members of society
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absolute deprivation
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is an objective measure of poverty that is defined by the inability to meet minimal standards for food shelter clothing or health care
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culture of poverty
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refers to learned attitudes that can develop among poor communities and lead the poor to accept their fate rather than attempt to improve their situation
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american dream
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the ideology of the American Dream (that anyone can achieve material success if he or she works hard enough) explains and justifies our social system but it has been criticized for legitimizing stratification by implying that everyone has the same opportunity to get ahead

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