Flashcards in Unit 2 Social Inequality Deck (40)
What is social inequality?
The unequal distribution of RESOURCES such as power, wealth and income and OPPORTUNITIES (related, for example, to health, education and employment)
Social class, gender, ethnicity and age are all sources of inequality in modern British society.
What is social stratification?
The way society is structured into a hierarchy of strata that are unequally ranked. A social hierarchy is shaped like a pyramid with each layer more powerful than the one below it. The most privileged group forms the top layer. Inequalities are based on wealth, income, status and power.
Describe 2 examples of closed stratification social systems where status is ascribed.
1. Apartheid in South Africa - social hierarchy decided by ethnicity - where being white put you at the top, and being black put you at the bottom.
2. Caste system in India - place in society depended on your caste. Highest castes had the most opportunities. If low caste couldn't marry people higher up or take certain jobs.
What is meant by achieved status and how does this link to social mobility?
Social positions that are earned on the basis of individuals’ talents or abilities, which allows individuals to move up through the social hierarchy - for example become a higher class in UK.
What is meant by 'life chances'?
An individual’s chances of achieving positive or negative outcomes (relating, for example, to health, education, housing) as they progress through life. The lowest social classes have the poor life chances e.g. lower life expectancy, lower educational qualifications and pay.
What did Karl Marx believe about society that the social theory of Marxism is based upon?
Karl Marx believed that class membership was determined by economic factors (ownership & non-ownership). He identified two main classes in capitalist society:
- Bourgeoisie (capitalist/ruling class). Wealthy and own property, big businesses, land and factories. Main interest - higher profits
- Proletariat (working classes). Own no property - forced to sell their labour to the bourgeoisie to survive. Main interest - higher wages
These two classed have very different interests and this leads to CONFLICT between them (conflict theory).
What did Max Weber say about how society is organised?
Max Weber identified four main classes with different life chances in the labour market:
- Property owners
- Petty bourgeoisie
- Working class
Similarly to Marx, Weber saw class as based on economic factors. He also stressed the importance of status and power in determining life chances.
What is the Functionalist approach to society?
Modern society requires a system of unequal rewards. This provides an incentive for the most talented people to train for the key occupations that are essential for society to continue (compared to the body and how each organ must work properly for the body to). These top positions must provide rewards such as high pay/status to attract the most able people.
What was the measurement of social class until 1998 and why was it replaced (2 reasons)?
RGS - Registrar General's Scale: Places people in classes based on their occupation. Occupations were divided into manual (seen as working class) and non-manual (seen as middle and upper class).
1. Scale based on occupation so difficult to place people without jobs (such as students, retired and unemployed) into a social class.
2. Class position of a jobless married woman was assessed on the basis of her husband’s occupation, which might be misleading
What is the NS-SEC and why is it seen as an improvement on the RGS (2 reasons)?
NS-SEC is National Statistics Socio-economic Classfication and the new measure of social class since 1998.
Better than RGS - it uses occupation but covers the whole population including students and long term unemployed people and takes account of a person's authority (are they a manager or worker).
Define Institutional racism
A process that produces racist outcomes, even when the individuals themselves act without racist intent.
Which criminal case brought Institutional racism to the public?
Stephen Lawrence inquiry which led to the Macpherson report that identified way the police were institutionally racist and make recommendations for change e.g. increasing the number of minority ethnic officers.
Name two institutions in which racism could affect someone’s life chances
Name two ways in which the Government has attempted to tackle racism and inequality.
1. The 1976 Race Relations Act outlawed discrimination based on ethnicity
2. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has powers to enforce the equality laws and to shape public policy on equality issues
What is a social construction?
A phenomenon that is created and developed by society
Name two Government policies that have attempted to tackle gender inequality
Equal Pay Act (1970)
Sex Discrimination Act (1975)
What is the ‘triple shift’?
1. Paid employment
2. Domestic labour - housework, childcare
3. Emotion work – making children and partners feel good
What is the 'glass ceiling'?
Invisible barrier of discrimination which makes it difficult for women to reach the same top levels in their chosen careers as similarly qualified men.
What type of society to feminists claim we live in?
Patriarchal (male dominated)
Name 2 changes in society that have improved the position of women?
1. Smaller family size giving greater opportunities to enter paid employment.
2. More jobs for women with more jobs in the public sector and in administration.
Name one difference between childhood 100 years ago and today's society
1. Today child labour is socially unacceptable and illegal
2. Restrictions imposed on employing children
3. Full time compulsory education introduced
Why might ‘age’ be a barrier to life chances?
Ageism - e.g. when employers have attitudes about the commitment/experience of young people or the ability to use technology by the elderly.
Give one example of a government policy to tackle ageism.
1. Employment Equality Regulations (2006) outlawed age discrimination and harassment in employment
2. Equality Act (2010) banned age discrimination outside workplace.
One way in which the UK government define poverty in modern society
Low income = those below 60% of the income of the median income for the population
What s the difference between wealth and income?
Wealth = owning assets e.g. houses,land, shares and savings.
Income = resources received over a period of time e.g. wages, welfare benefits, pensions.
What do sociologists mean by social exclusion?
People are marginalized or excluded from participating in education, work, community life and access to services. Experienced by those living in relative poverty - so likely to suffer from material deprivation.
Name one factor in the Culture of Poverty
Poverty was seen as part of their culture and way of life. The poorest section of society were socialized within subculture of poverty.
Socialisation = unable to break free from povertyset of values to cope with their position.
People can do little to change their situation so may as well accept i. tLive for the moment, don’t worry about tomorrow. There is no point saving up of planning for the future
Help them adapt to their situation but also stop them from escaping and this passed on through family.
What characterises the underclass?
Why would some sociologists claim the working class has disappeared?
In the 1980's many were able to buy their council homes and moved into white-collar jobs. Others suffered unemployment from loss of industry and became welfare state dependent and fell into the underclass.