SOC 111 Chapter 5

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what is social stratification
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a society hierarchical ranking of people into social classes
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what is social class
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– based on birth and achievements – a group of people sharing a position in a social hierarchy, based on birth and achievement
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what is social status
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an individuals position within the class structure
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what are the four key principles of social stratification
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– societies redistribute materials and social rewards to individuals (meritocracy) – transcends any generation so its relatively stable over time – it varies on how it expresses itself (income vs prestige) – differences in wealth and prestige are just and fair
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what is the basis for societies to redistribute materials and social rewards to individuals
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– material are always in short supply so they go to those individuals that deserve them the most – individuals who work harder receive more material wealth and social recognition – people who offer more to society should have more – ex: doctors, students getting good grades
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what is meritocracy
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a system of rewards based on personal attributes and demonstrated abilities – people achieve what they deserve ex: grades you get in school
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what is the basis for stratification transcends any generation so its relatively stable over time
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– social positions granted by ones parents – few people move out of the class into which they were born
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what is social mobility
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movement between social classes – comparing children adult status to that of their parents – compare individuals position over their lifetime
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intergenerational mobility is
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comparison of adult children social class to that of their parents
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what is intragenerational mobility
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comparing an individuals status position over his or her lifetime
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why do sociologists use social mobility
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to measure society equality of opportunity
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social stratification has little to do with _______ and more to do with ______
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skills and abilities; wealth high status
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what is the basis for stratification by that it it varies on how it expresses itself
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status can be given on how much wealth on has or by how much wealth one gives away – differences on how people earn their wealth, drug dealer vs. surgeon but dealer could be still lower class because people don’t condone or respect that position
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what is the basis for stratification for the criteria by which wealth is granted is fair
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often grounded by dominant ideology – set of beliefs and values that support or justify a societys ruling class
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what is social inequality
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when attributes such as gender, minority status, and class affects a persons access to socially valued resources (money, status, power, health care, education, etc)
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what is social inequality unfair
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it treats some people better then others
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how is social inequality difficult to detect and challenge
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because its hidden behind ideologies that name the processes associated with their perpetuation as normal and just and their harmful consequences as being the fault of the disadvantaged
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why are people often discouraged from talking meaningfully about the affects of social inequality
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because its easier to talk about the ideals of diversity and multiculturalism than it is to challenge social exclusion and discrimination
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how does social inequalities result
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– from collective decisions about what is important in evaluating a person or group – a system that ranks people from high to low on subjective criteria such as gender and minority status
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what are some forms of inequality
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– women being paid less then men for the same job – visible minorities less likely to be hired – those with more education tend to make more
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why are people ranked by subjective criteria
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– they have no material influence on whether a person can actually perform a particular job – no inherent necessity for the majority of truck drivers or lawyers to be men, or for most elementary and social workers to be women
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whom are subjective assessments supported by
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dominant ideologies rather then individual capability
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what is classism
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the belief that peoples relative worth is at least partially determined by their social and economic status
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what idea is classism based on and what has this idea been referred to
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the idea that everyone in society starts out with the same chances of success – referred to as the american dream of capitalistic ideology
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how does classism result
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in the belief that the wealthy deserve what they have and that the poor are responsible for their failure
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what two perspectives from classism explain why people are poor
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– one that blames the victim and one that blames the system
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what is the perspective of blaming the victim
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a perspective that holds individuals responsible for the negative conditions in which they live – the poor only need to work harder in order to transcend their poverty
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blaming the victim perspective is accepted by whom
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– general population – criticize the poor for not doing enough to help themselves
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sociologists have found little to no evidence to support what assertion
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that social inequality is the result of individual attributes such as being lazy as it can pertain to both the poor and the wealthy
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what does the term culture of poverty mean developed by oscar lewis
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– a fatalistic belief system held by the poor as an adaptation to systematic discrimination – poor had different subcultural value systems and that these systems limit their ability and desire to escape poverty
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how does oscar lewis feel that poor people feel relative to the dominant majority
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– marginalized, helpless and inferior and are fatalistic in their view of their future – rarely participate in community life, politics or school
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what is deferred gratification
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the ability to forgo immediate pleasures in the interest of achieving greater rewards in the future – poor don’t appreciate this concept
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lewis believed that culture of poverty could represent
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it could represent an important cultural adaptation to systematic discrimination
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what theory is lewis culture of poverty consistent with
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– Marxist approach – rich and powerful want to keep the poor weak to promote a capitalist ideology that blames the poor for their poverty
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what could alleviate poverty and blaming the victim
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working harder will alleviate poverty
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what is the blaming the system perspective
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a perspective that recognizes the systemic discrimination that exists within social systems – consistent with the sociological perspective that larger social events influence your life
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what are systemic explanations for poverty
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the larger socioeconomic systems impose certain restrictions on certain members of society – the loss of well paying factory jobs due to deindustrialization
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what is deindustrialization
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the transformation on an economy from one based on manufacturing to one based on services – the poor lack the skills needed to compete for the new, more highly skilled jobs that replace industrial jobs
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what does deindustrialization cause
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downward pressure on wages and increases the competition among workers for fewer and fewer jobs – creates poverty in a manner that is beyond control of any individual
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how are negative impacts of deindustrialization addressed
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– well panned, community based, anti-poverty programs to compensate for structural properties that cause poverty
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why do some resist anti poverty programs
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people believe social welfare programs promote laziness, dependency and poverty
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how do poor see their unfortunate situation
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as a result of high unemployment rates, lack of opportunity, and the failure of society to provide adequate schooling
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how are policies made
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based on perceptions of why people succeed or fail
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what are the perceptions to policies for the poor
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– if poor people are viewed as lacking motivation, then government focusses on reducing funding for subsidy programs to depend on, such as welfare – if poor people are viewed as the result of structural barriers, then policy makers focus on increased educational and occupational opportunities for all
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what are the two major ways in which social systems rank people
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closed and open systems
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how do closed systems work
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– based on ascribed status – attributes people are born with such as race and sex – innate attributes cannot be changes – very little social mobility
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how to open systems work
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– based on achieved status – people can have social mobility through their own efforts and abilities – where you end up in an open system is where you deserve to be – income, education, occupational prestige
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what system does a closed system involve
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caste systems
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what are caste systems
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an ascribed system of hereditary class designation which allows virtually no social mobility – legitimatizing a religious ideology to support and justify differences – social mobility is forge in – a persons caste is a central component to who they are – determines everything in their lives, what they can wear, what jobs they can perform, and who they can marry
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why is india a good example of a caste society
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because of varna (color) system which divided Indian society into four groups
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what are the four caste groups of the Idian society
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– Brahmin: teachers, doctors, other scholars – Kshatriyas: warriors and politicians – Vaishya: merchants and artists – Sudra: workers in the service occupations
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what group is beneath all four caste groups of Indian society
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Dalits: untouchables, the oppressed or crushed, landless labourers, perform most menial and despised tasks, pollute people of higher caste
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what is believed about the Indian caste system
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– its hereditary one cannot change their caste
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how can indian men and women change their caste system
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women: marriage men: through reincarnation in a different life
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what is reincarnation
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belief associated with eastern religions that ones essence does not die and instead is reborn in another form
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when was indias caste system abolished and what was done for lower castes
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1950 by indian constitution – indian government made policies to provide lower castes with access to government jobs, higher education and politics – improve the situation of historically stigmatized populations and promote them into positions that would strengthen their representation and preserve their rights
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what is important about Indias caste system even though is was outlawed
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it continues to shape the lives of many Indians – european colonialism played a role in indian caste system
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what caste system exists in Japan
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Burakumin, like the Dalits of india, people of the village – descendants of outcast communities of the japanese feudal era – had occupations that were considered impure or nonhuman – lived in isolated hamlets or ghettos
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when was the feudal caste system in japan abolished but was the problem
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1871, but did not improvee the people social standing or decrease the level of discrimination they faced – still face discrimination to the day
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what is the important point to make out about burakumin and dalits of closed caste systems
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they continue to exist even when the government try to abolish them
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how do societies become more open
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– the move from pre industrial to industrial and post industrial economies – modern production techniques require more eduction – as eduction increase so does recognition of inequalities of class-based systems – disadvantages become more politically active to achieve greater equality
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social ranking of an open system is the result of
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ones own merit within class structure
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what is class structure
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a society economic hierarchy that categorizes groups of people based on their socioeconomic status (income, occupational prestige, education)
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what is the reality of social mobility
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it does occur but its rare
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how is social mobility measured
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through intergenerational earnings and income elasticity (IGE scores) – a comparison between a father and a sons earnings
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what do IGE scores mean
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lower scores mean more open class and high scores mean more closed systems – canada is more open system, social mobility is more common then the US
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what are the two components of inequality
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property and occupational prestige
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what is property and indicator of
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where one resides in the class structure
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what categories is property divided into
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income and wealth
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what is income
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money received annually from all sources (salaries, fees paid for services, rents, grants, support payments, gov assistance, interest and dividends from stocks and bonds) – what you earn
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what is wealth
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net accumulated assets, including homes, land and stocks, automobiles, jewelry, factories, bonds – what you have
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what is involved with occupational prestige
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the social value of an occupation – mean vs women or minorities – education, independence and autonomy, decision-making and abstract reasoning – higher the salary the higher the prestige – influences how we interact with others
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what is one of the most influential functionalist theory of social stratification
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the davis-moore thesis
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what does the davis-moore thesis and what does it mean
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social inequality holds two important social functions 1. it instills in the proper individuals to fill certain social positions 2. it instills in those whoa re assigned to those positions the desire to complete their duties and responsibilities -social stratification is functional for society because is ensures that the key positions are held by the most capable people – in order to attract the most capable and skilled people into important and demanding occupations, the rewards must be high enough to compensate them for their time and effort
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what were the four criticisms of the davis-moore thesis
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1. social status is hereditary – no guarantee that children are capable or as skilled as their parents. social elites have the ability to help their children assume the same social benefits. 2. substantial discrimination in who is eligible to assume elite positions – on the basis of gender and minority status which can restrict even highly skilled and talented people which can also influence salary levels for socially important female dominated occupations (day care, social work, teachers) 3. capitalist economy determines the salary of a given occupation through market forces 4. social inequality is extreme – how much inequality is necessary to inspire people to work hard due to fear of failure and poverty ignores the power of the social elite and the negative impacts on the poor and lower classes
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what does conflict theorists (Marx and Weber) say about social stratification
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– a society that contains social classes is simply a manifestation of competition between those who have social power and those that don’t
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what did karl marx believe about social stratification
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– was important for transformation of societies – a mechanism that institutionalizes inequality and promotes social stability overtime – was neither desirable nor inevitable – embodiment of class conflict and is inevitable in capitalist economies that require the exploitation of the working classes – interests of social classes are compatible – proletariat need overcome class consciousness and to overthrow bourgeoisie
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what did max weber believe about social stratification
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– capitalism led to class conflict – classes society is not inevitable and social stratification is unavoidable and necessary – social class is multidimensional – critiqued karl marx focus on economic production – ownership of property is important for gaining influence
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what did max weber think was important for gaining influence in economic classes
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– class, status groups and party
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what is class according to weber
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class differences are largely based on economic inequality – rich land owners in higher echelons and poor workers in the lower – economic class was relatively unimportant since most people lack class consciousness and less likely to challenge status quo
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what is status group according to weber
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– a group of people who share similar social status, lifestyles, world views, occupations, and standards of living – people are more likely to act as a part of a status group than they are as part of an economic class – we are usually more connected to those we share experiences with rather then to those in the same economic class – class are stratified according to their relations to production and acquisition of foods while status groups are more likely to act collectively according to there consumptions of goods
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what is party according to weber
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– organizations that attempt to achieve certain goals in a planned and logical manner – associations of people that have the power to influence social action and change (nongovernmental organizations – red cross)
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What is power
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– defined as the ability to make others do something they would not otherwise do
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what is power according to marx
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originates within the possession of wealth and privilege
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how does weber see power
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that there are workers who lack power and status can still exert a tremendous amount of power because they have the authority to make important decisions
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why does weber say there is a usability of status inconsistency
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because class, status, and power systems of stratification are at play
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what is status inconsistency
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occurs when an individual occupies several differently ranked statuses at the same time
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what are social interactionists interested in with social stratification
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– HOW POEPLE INTERPRET AND CONTRAST THEIR responses to class inequality – how class affects patterns of everyday social life – how people use and respond to status symbols
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what are status symbols
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material indicators that demonstrate a persons social and economic position
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who was the pioneer in the study of status symbols and what was his contribution
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thorstein veblen – along with his concept of conspicuous consumption – how people communicate their social class – we constantly define and reconstruct impressions of ourselves and others
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what are thorstein veqlens 3 concepts to how people communicate social wealth/status
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conspicuous consumption, leisure, and waste
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what is conspicuous consumption
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purchase of expensive goods silly because they are valuable not because there is any innate satisfaction in them – having expensive things to seem lie you are wealthy – satisfaction is in the status these items imply
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what is conspicuous leisure
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the demonstration of ones high social status through forms of leisure that include taking long vacations in exotic locales
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what is conspicuous waste
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the disposal of valuable goods to demonstrate wealth – 100$ tip to a valet for parking your car
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what have changed peoples ability to be seen as lining one class above where they actually are
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credit cards allows people to purchase things they may not be able to afford
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what are non material indicators of social class
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accents, subtle social cues, someone will wait longer for someone with a higher social status, where your name tag ends up (shirt, door of your office, your company building)
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how do feminist theorist investigate social stratification
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1. recognize the working lives of women within capitalism 2. investigating the role of class position in determining ones view of the world
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how does gender influence the ‘double ghetto’ termed by armstrong and armstrong
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is the situation in which women who have full-time jobs outside the home often work another shift when they get home -men maintain a superior position over women because they own most of the social wealth (patriarchy) – patriarchy puts many women in a subordinate position both at work and at home
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what do feminists see social stratification as
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– one of the primary locations for struggle – the production of social reality (ones perspective of the world) in influenced by ones class – inequality is the result of capitalism and western ideology that promotes colonial expansion and domination (harding)
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who made the three forms of social control
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Erik Olin Wright
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what are the three forms of social control
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1. economic ownership that entails real control over economic surplus 2. command of the physical means of economic production (owning/suporvising the control of machines) 3. supervisory control over the workers
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how many forms of control do the bourgeoisie have
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– all three
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how many forms of control do the proletariat have
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none
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how many forms of control do the petit bourgeoisie have
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the first two but not control over the workers
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what kind control do managers have
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supervisory control over workers
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what two classes share characteristics of both capitalists and workers and occupy contradictory class locations
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the petit bourgeoisie and the managers
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who are the petit bourgeoisie
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– small shop owners and other entrepreneurs (middle class) – own capital but don’t employ very many workers – exercise very little authority – as capitalism matures, this group would become more diverse, altering traditional class dynamics
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who are the managers and what do they do
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– work in firms owned by capitalists – have direct authority over a number of workers – just as expendable as any other employee
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who made the candian class scheme
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gilbert and Kahl
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what defines the upper class of society
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– relatively few reside – chief income in accumulated – inherit the bulk of their money – new rich (occupy executive positions in largest corporations) and old rich (manage investments) – few visible minorities – live in small elite communities, marry within their class, send children to same schools, join the same clubs, vacation in same exclusive resorts – form insulated social networks out of the public eye – use wealth to maintain privacy
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what defines the upper middle class of society
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– members ten to be highly visible – lack significant power – movers and shakers within local communitys – people working professional careers (doctors, lawyers) – financially secure – drive new cars, take international holidays, live in very nice homes – success of upper middle is the result of having a good education (degrees) – usually live in suburbs, active in municipal politics and volunteer organizations – more ethnically diverse then upper class
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what defines the lower-middle class of society
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– made up of managers, small business operators, senior executive assistants, and some minor professionals, school teachers and social workers – some college or university education, only a few completed degrees – both spouses work to support a moderately comfortable lifestyle – lacks substantial investments or sizeable cash savings – take occasional vacays,eat out regularly, drive later modelled cars, send kids to uni or college – own their own homes – insecurity to market forces such as interest rates on home mortgages – encourage children to continue their education to become successful – rarely participate in any politics because they feel powerless – follows rules defined by managers and superiors
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define the working class of society
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– 30% of the canadian population – skilled/semi skilled manual workers – carpenters, plumbers, electricians – low-level clerical workers, sales people, waitresses and cooks – jobs highly routine and closely supervised – couples must work outside the home to pay bills – few go to college – own their own home but have relatively few assists – vulnerable to financial crisis resulting form illness or unexpected unemployment – live in modest neighbourhoods, drive used cars, take holidays close to home – emphasize being respected in their community as a means of respecting their superiority over lower class
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what defines the underclass
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– lack marketable skills and have little to no experience with full-time work – many are virtually unemployed – annual income less then 15,000 – legitimate income may only be social assistance – rely on sharing of kinship ties – fall below low income cut off
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what is low income cut off
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the level of income at which a household spends 55 percent or more of its gross income on basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing) – a measure of income inequality and not poverty
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What factors influence social inequality in canada
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1. geographic location 2. gender 3. work status 4. age 5. visible minority 6. education 7. family structure
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what does geographic location have to do with social inequality
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– different provinces have different poverty rates – where you live my influence your chances of being poor
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what does gender have to do with social inequality
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– women tend to earn less then men even for the same work – perceived as natural – feminization of poverty – women are more susceptible to poverty then men – women are outnumbered by men i the highest paying jobs and dominate the lowest paying jobs
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what does work status have to do with social inequality
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– whether or not people have jobs – those who lack savings and support networks in economic crisis
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what does age have to do with social inequality
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people in their late teens/twenties more likely to live in poverty (just learning marketable skills and entering labor market) – more likely in a female lone parent family – after 34 steady rise in the incidences of poverty
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what does a visible minority status have to do with social inequality
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– ethnic and racial discrimination in labor markets and hiring practices – wage gap result of racial discrimination in hiring of visible minorities
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what does education have to do with social inequality
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– school offers some protection against poverty – education increase employment rates
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what does family structure have to do with social inequality
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– to parent families less likely to live below the low income cut off then lone female families
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what did simon kuznets develop
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the kuznets curve which is a graphic representation of the relationship between a society economic development and its social inequality – social inequality changes as societies develop – as societies develop they become more unequal in the early phases of the industrial evolution from there after inequality declines
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what society does the uznets curve hold true
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industrialized societies
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what was Lenski and Nolans theory about how development of societies affect social inequality
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inequality is largely the result of how much technology a society has to exploit its environment – hunters and gatherers VS. horticultural, agricultural, and industrial – as technology develops, wealth accumulates into fewer hands, resulting in greater social inequality
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who developed a way to asses wealth distribution in societies
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Carrado gini
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what is the gini index
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– gini coefficient – a measure of the inequality of wealth or income distribution within a country – scores vary between 0 (everyone has the same wealth)-100 (one person has all the wealth – inequality) – plotting percentage of cumulative wages against percentage of cumulative workers
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what is the lorenz curve
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– named after Max O lorenz – a graphical line representing a societies deviation from equal wealth allocation – no society can be perfectly equal or unequal
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how might functionalist theorist interpret gini index scores
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– some economic inequality is a good thing – it may inspire people to work harder to make a better life for themselves
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how might conflict theorist interpret gini index scores
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– global inequality is the natural progression of the worlds wealth continuing to move into fewer and fewer hands, as the rich get richer the poor get poorer
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how might symbolic interactionist theorist interpret gini index scores
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– investigate how people respond to their economic situations in both rich and poor countries – rich: consider growing infatuation with conspicuous consumption
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how might feminist theorist interpret gini index scores
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– target the role of patriarchy and class position in defining ones view of the world in which inequality is promoted and supported
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how might critical race and pot colonial theorist interpret gini index scores
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– target the role of the minority status and the legacy of colonialism to explain why some countries are much more equal than others – least unequal (Europe)

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