Week 3: Macro-Sociological Perspectives Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Week 3: Macro-Sociological Perspectives Deck (22):

Macro-sociological perspective

Intergroup relations and inequality shaped by the way society is structured (i.e., economic, political, social, cultural systems)



- Emile Durkheim
- social arrangements perform a function
- society made up of interdependent parts
- every part performs a function
- society tends toward stability and consensus (desirable)
- change is not desirable
- political conservatism



- Karl Marx
- social arrangements allow exploitation
- groups have conflicting self-interests and unequal power
- one group dominates
- society tends to conflict (change --> desirable)
- consensus is artificial
- dominant ideology (false consciousness)
- radical political orientation


Social Problem:

- threats to the efficient functioning of society
- radical social changes (e.g., conflict, protest)

Stability over equality.


Social Problem:

- inequality
- poverty
- racism
- exploitation

Equality over stability.
Conflict is NOT a problem.


Causes of Social Problems:

- characteristics of disadvantaged groups (e.g., lack of skills, incompatible culture)


Causes of Social Problems:

- exploitative behavior of dominant class (disadvantage groups are the victims)
- exploitation and inequality benefit dominant class
- social institutions benefit dominant class


Racial/Ethnic Stratification:

- concern: deep divides may be disruptive
- inequality and stratification may meet some societal need (e.g., create incentives, fulfill low paid jobs)
- inequality and stratification may result from other condition that is useful: ethnocentrism


Racial/Ethnic Stratification:

- concern: minorities are exploited and unfairly treated
- inequality and stratification serve the interest of the dominant group
- inequality fails to serve as incentive
- ethnocentrism is a way of rationalizing exploitation


Conflict Theory:
Marxist Theory

- inequality is based on class
- 2 groups: owners of means of production and the working class
- racism is a way of masking the divide
- working class should unite across races


Conflict Theory:
Split Labor Market Theory

- inequality based on both class and race
- 3 groups: owners of means of production, higher paid workers, and lower-paid workers
- higher and lower paid workers are in competition
- higher-paid workers demand discrimination against minorities


Conflict Theory:
Internal Colonialism and Critical Race Theories

- inequality based on race/ethnicity
- inequality results from exploitation and discrimination of minorities
- inequality results from racism that is ingrained in social institutions and are largely unnoticed



- disadvantaged groups must change
- they must fit in: assimilate
- culture diversity must be minimized



- fundamental social, political, and economic changes
- change the system that is not working for minorities
- changes on the way resources are distributed


The notion of "culture of poverty" is associated with which perspective on inequality?

A) Order of Functionalist
B) Conflict
C) Mix of Both

A) Order of Functionalist
- The idea that the cause of the problem is found in the characteristics of the disadvantaged groups is related to the functionalist perspective.


The Moynihan Report

- influenced by the Culture of Poverty Theory
- Statistics: higher rates of divorce, separation, and unwanted motherhood, resulted in higher rates of single-parent female householder, among African Americans and Hispanics
- Family structure is the most important cause of continuing poverty among African Americans


Culture of poverty debate:
Poverty cause single parenthood

- prevents marriage: shortage of eligible men
- disrupts marriage: divorce and separation
- teenage pregnancy
- knowledge and access to contraception
- childbirth outside marriage


Culture of poverty debate:
Single parenthood as cause of poverty

- low wages for women and minorities
- household income is lower than in a 2-parents household
- effects on child development: studies show mixed results


A city that embraces the creation and maintenance of racial/ethnic districts, such as Chinatowns, as a form of preserving cultural diversity is mostly associated with with which perspective?

A) Order of Functionalist
B) Conflict
C) Mix of Both

B) Conflict

The conflict perspective embraces culture diversity while the functionalist perspective favors assimilation and reduction of differences as a way of minimizing possible divides in society.


The preference for English-only schools (rather than bilingual schools) is based on the assumptions of which perspective?

A) Order of Functionalist
B) Conflict
C) Mix of Both

A) Functionalist/Order Perspective

The functionalist perspective favors the assimilation of minority groups. This includes adopting the language of the dominant group.


Affirmative Action policies, which give advantages to traditionally or historically disadvantaged groups, is based on the assumptions of which perspective?

A) Order of Functionalist
B) Conflict
C) Mix of Both

B) Conflict

Affirmative action is a way of changing the way resources are distributed by favoring minority groups. This relates to the conflict perspective's demand for structural change.


Policies that attempt to remove legal barriers that exclude minority groups' access to education, housing, and employment, are based on the assumptions of which perspective?

A) Order of Functionalist
B) Conflict
C) Both of them

C) Both of them

Both perspectives see deep inequality as a problem. The functionalist perspective would like to see, at least legally, the same opportunities for all so that the ones who work harder and have the necessary skills are rewarded.