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the division of society into groups arranged in a social hierarchy
a system of stratification based on access to resources such as wealth, property, power, and prestige
Max Weber's idea of social class
In his model, only economic relationship matter, and he believed social inequality would grow as the wokers continued to be exploited. Modified cersions of this theory remain popular among sociologists. He offered a similar model that also accounted for cultural factors. He argued that class status was the product of three components: wealth, power, and prestige
Karl Marx's idea of social class
He believed there were two classes in capitalist societists: the capitalists (or bourgeoisie), who owned the means of production and the wokers (or proletariat), who possessed only their labor, which they were forced to sell for wages.
awareness of one's own social status and that of others
Pierre Bourdieu’s idea of social class
He attempted to explain social reproduction, the stability of social classes across generations. According to his theory, children inherit not only wealth but also cultural capital: the tastes, habits, expectations and other cultural dispositions that help them to take on their parents' class status. Symbolic interactionists examine the ways we notice status differences and categorize ourselves and others accordingly.
the tastes, habits, expectations, skills, knowledge, and other cultural dispostitions that helps us gain advantages in society
Socioeconomic status and life chances (family, health, education, work and income, criminal justice
Belonging to a certain social class has profound consequences in all areas of life. Members of different social classes set and achieve different educational goals, work at different typed of jobs, and receive different levels of quality in their medical care. People tend to marry someone whose social and cultural backgrouds are similar to their own, in part because they are more likely to encounter people like themselves.
Absolute deprivation/relative deprivation
- Absolute deprivation: an objective measure of poverty, defined by the inability to meet minimal standards for food, shelter, clothing, or health care
- Relative deprivation: a relative measure of poverty based on the standard of living in a particular society.
The culture of poverty
entrenched attitudes that can develop among poor communitie and lead the poor to accept their fate rather than attempt to improve their lot
The ideology of the American dream
Though we aren't always aware of it, the United States has a distinct ideology that explains and justifies our social system. The American Dream -that anyone can achieve material success if they try hard enough- has been criticized for several reasons. For example, it justifies the class hierarchy by reinforcing the idea that success depends only on effort, suggesting that the poor are simply lazy. It also encourages consumerism and valorizes material wealth, leaving Americans with less free time and more debt, a trend that the simplicity movement has begun to fight.
Defining race and ethnicity
- Race: a sociallt defined category based on real or perceived biological defferences between groups of people
- Ethnicity: a socially defined category based on common language, religion, nationality, history, or another cultural factor
The social construction of race
As an exmaple of the social construction of race and ethnicity; let's look at the evidence documenting the historical changes in the boundaries of the category "white." In the early 199s, native-born Americans, who were frequently Protestant, did not consider recent Irishm Italian, or Jewish immigrants to be white and restricted where there groups could live and work. After WWII, however, as the second generation of them reached adulthood, the importance of ethnic identity declined and skin color become the main way to differentiate between who was white and not.
Symbolic ethnicity/situational ethnicity
- Symbolic ethnicity: an ethnic identity that is only relevant on specific occasions and does not significantly impact everyday life
- Situational ethnicity: an ethnic identity that can be either displayed or concealed depending on its usefulness in a given situation
members of a social group that is systematically denied the same access to power and resources abailable to society's dominant groups but who are not necessarily fewer in number than the dominant groups
- Racism: a set of beliefs about the superiority of one racial or ethnic group; used to justify inequality and often rooted in the assumption that differences between groups are genetic
- Prejudice: an idea about the characteristics of a group that is applied to all members of that group and is unlikely to change regardless of the evidence against it
individual discrimination/institutional discrimination
- Discrimination: unequal treatment of indiciduals based on their membership in a social group; usually motivated by prejudice
- Individual d.: discrimination carried out by one person against another
- Institutional d.: discrimination carried out systematically by institutions (political, economic, educatinal, and others) that affect all members of a group who come into contact with
Functionalism and conflict theory
- Sociologists have offered several theories to explin the critical role of race in our society. Functionalist theorists focus on the ways that race creates social ties and strengthens group bounds, through they also recognize that racial issue can lead to social conflict.
- Conflict theorists emphasize the way that race is related to class and the economy. Early conflist theories, often focused on the American South, tried to explain race as the result of economic oppression; newer conflict theories aim to explain race in a more diverse society. Symbolic interactonists have focused on the way that race, class, and gender intersect to produce indiciduals' identities.
Race, ethnicity, and life chances (family, health, education, work and income)
Race and ethnicity unfluece every part of our live, including health, education, work, family, and interactions with the criminal justice system. In all of these areas people of clor stuffer wide-ranging effects as a result of racism and discrimination. Nonwhites tend to have less access than whites to education, well-raid jobs, and health care, and they tend to interact with law enforcement more often. Because we live in a racially stratified society, whites tend to take for granted prvileges denied to other.
- Assimilation: a pattern of relations between ethnic or racial groups in which the minority group is absorbed into the mainstream or dominant group, making society more homogemous
- Pluralism: a ci;tira; patterm of intergroup relations that encourages racial and ethnic cariation within a society
- Sex: an individual's membership in one of two biologically distinct categories -male/female-
- Gender: the physical, behavioral, and personality traits that a group considers normal for its male and female members
- Gender identity: the roles and traits that a social group assigns to a particular gender
Theoretical approaches to understanding gender – Functionalism, conflict theory, and interactionist perspective
- Functionalism: gender roles exist because they are an efficient form of social organization, allocating instrumental roles to man and expressive role to women. However, this fails to explain why society rewards these roles so unequally.
- Conflict theory: gender roles as resulting from male dominance. Because men have historically had greater access to material resources, it is in their interest to preserve their dominant status. Unlike macro-theories, symbolic interactionists emphasize how gender is socially constructed, maintained, and reproduced every day. One way to examine this process is through studies of transsexual undergoing the process of sex reassignment. Such individuals must learn to "do gender" in new ways to fit a new identity. Although this might seem like an unusualconcern, we all learn to do gender throughout our lives
Expressive role/instrumental role
- Expressive role: the position of the family member who provide emotional support and nurturing
- Instrumental role: the position of the family member who provides the family's material support and is often an authority figure
Gender role socialization (families, peers, schools, the media)
the lifelong process of learning to be masculine or feminine, primarily through four agents -families, schools, peers, and media
Sex, gender, and life chances (family, health, education, work and income)
Sex and gender affect almost evey significant life outcome, Gender expectations shape experiences with family life, health, the esucational system, and the workplace. Women tend to be disadvantaged in institutional settings in out society, doing a disproportionate amount of housework, earning less on average than their male peers in workplace, and remaining more likely to live in poverty.
The feminization of poverty
the economic trend showing that women are more likely than men to live in poverty, caused in part by the gendered gap in wages, the higher proportion of single mothers compared to single fathers, and the increasing costs of childcare
Gender and language
In language, we can see evidence of the cultural norms and values that underwrite such inequalities. Our vocabulary tends to reflect a hierarchal system of gender inequality, with male-associated words referring to power and authority as well as representing the default category for all humans. Language can also reflect social changes, as many people now strive to use gender-neutral terms and reform sexist language. However, it is still up for debate whether these changes reflectchanges in society or if changes in linguistic convention can create change
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