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What do sociologists mean by the terms 'social inequality' and 'social stratification'?

Social Inequality refers to the uneven distribution of:
•Resources such as money and power
•Opportunities such as education, employment and health.

Social Stratification refers to the structure of society in layers, or strata.


What do sociologists mean by 'life chances'?

People's chances of achieving positive or negative outcomes (Being healthy or ill, wealthy and poor) as they progress through life. These outcomes relate to many aspects of life, such as health, education, housing, wealth and income. These life chances aren't always equally distributed in society.


Identify two social factors that effect life chances and opportunities

Gender, ethnicity, age and class


Explain two different forms of stratification

The Caste System in India
•People are born into a particular caste and their social position is ascribed at birth. The system is closed so there is little movement between the different layers.
•Each caste was traditionally associated with particular occupations, the highest functioning as Priests and Teachers, and the worst with the jobs that no-one else would do, such as waste disposal etc.

• Was based on a social policy of racial segregation, with ethnicity being used as the basis for stratification. This applied to all aspects of society, so access to health, education, housing and employment was segregated according to the person was black, white or mixed race.
•Under apartheid, due to its features, a person's social position would be defined by birth.
•Black people were denied citizenship rights and opportunities available for white people. Therefore, their life chances were much worse, with little social mobility.

Social Class
•In modern industrial societies such as Britain, social class is seen as the main form of stratification. Social class is based on economic factors such as occupation and income (how much people earn for a living) rather than on religious teachings or racist ideas. This form of stratification is said to be an open one in that class position can be achieved and social mobility is possible.
•Sociologists also empathise the significance of sources of inequality based on gender, ethnicity and age in class-based societies. For example, men and women in the same class may have very different life chances in relation to promotion and pay at work. Feminist approaches in particular would see gender as a more important source of inequality than social class.


Identify one similarity and one difference between Marx's and Weber's views on social class.

Both Marx and Weber saw class as based on the distribution of economic resources such as wealth.


Identify one similarity and one difference between the Registar General's and the NS-SEC scales.

•Both classify social class due to occupation

•One includes never worked and long-term unemployed people


Explain one difference between sex and gender

Sex refers to if a person is male or female. It concerns biological differences. Gender is what a person views itself to be.


Explain way beside colours in which girls and boys are socialised differently.

Dictating different expectations of behavior


Describe two ways in which British governments have tried to reduce inequalities between men and women in the last 40 years

The Sex Discrimination Act (1975) made it unlawful to discriminate or treat someone favourably due to sex.


State 2 reasons why women tend to earn less, on average than men in the UK

Sex discrimination within the workplace
Women's triple shift
Childcare provision


Describe one way in which British governments have tried to reduce inequalities based on ethnicity over the last 40 years

•The introduction of equality and anti-discrimination legislation The 1976 Race Relations Act is an example, outlawing direct discrimination, indirect discrimination and victimization
•The establishment of the Commission for Racial Equality, which later merged with the Equal Opportunities Commission to become the Equality and Human Rights Commission. These organisations have helped tackle racism and discrimination.
•The recognition that institutional racism existed within organisations such as the Metropolitan Police and must be addressed
•Equal opportunities policies or statements supporting diversity in the workplace and education


Identify two differences in the life chances of some minority ethnic groups compared to those of their white British peers.

Black Carribean men face lower chances in jobs, having lower chances of getting professional and managerial jobs, having lower average weekly earnings, and are more likely to be refused when applying for jobs and promotions.


What does it mean to describe age as a social category?

Using age to form initial expectations of someone, and use it to classify people socially.


Identify one example to show that expectations surrounding childhood have varied over time.

In 1962, children over 5 were seen as small adults whom participated in work .


Identify two features of the move from adulthood to childhood.

•Increasing independence from families, parents, guardians
•Moving from the family home to another household
•Finishing full-time education
•Moving into full-time paid employment
•Gaining more status in society


What is the difference between wealth and income?

Wealth refers to the ownership of assets that are valued at a particular point in time. Marketable assets are things which can be sold to make money, such as houses, land works of art, and jewelry. Wealth also includes money in savings accounts and shares in companies. Wealth is often passed down the generations through inheritance in families. It may also be built up by saving or the value of assets such as houses or land going up.

Income refers to the flow of resources which individuals and households receive over a specific period of time. Income may be received in cash (wages etc.), or in kind (discounts etc.) Sources of income include wages, welfare benefits and pensions.