Lecture 5 social stratification


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Lecture 5 social stratification

  1. 1. Social class and inequality Classism vs Class Privilege
  2. 2. Classism • Means: • That different values are placed on people, based on their social and economic worth and not on who they are.
  3. 3. Examples of life Chances Renting or owning a home Less likely to experience discrimination Obtaining a stable job Access to education Having alternatives Can you think of any others? Being paid an adequate salary Having a normal life span
  4. 4. Examples of Life Styles Social networks Leisure activities Diet & Cuisine Where we shop Purchasing power Type of car, house etc Connections Can you think of any others?
  5. 5. In Canada we hate to talk to our peers about about how much we make, but we like to show how much stuff we have. ( Rob – Classism & Cycling in Canada)
  6. 6. Social Class & Life Chances / Life Styles • Class creates differences in life styles • Class has a significant impact on: • Our health • Educational standing • All Canadians do not have an equal opportunity to succeed • Racism & Sexism compound the effects of classism
  7. 7. Who we are at birth greatly influences what we later become (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) •Ancestry • Where we enter the system of social inequality is determined, in large part, by our ancestry. • Being born to privilege or poverty impacts our future schooling, occupation, and income •Race and Ethnicity • Race and ethnicity are important influences of social position •Gender • Women earn less income, accumulate less wealth, and enjoy less occupational prestige than men
  8. 8. “The elephant in the room” http://www.diversityweb.org/DiversityDemocracy/vol11no3/gilbert.cfm • Threatens the fundamental myth that all people in Canada enjoy equal access to opportunity • Unexplored beliefs about class impact the policies, practices, and relationships that shape our lives • Class privilege must be recognized to break down systemic barriers to opportunity
  9. 9. Definitions • Classism - Social Inequality The varying degree to which different people have access to and control over valued resources such as money, wealth, status and power. Held in place by a system of beliefs and cultural attitudes that ranks people.
  10. 10. What is Classism (continued) • Many feel that all of the “isms” are rooted in classism • Classism is the parent
  11. 11. We live in a society that measures individual worth in terms of occupational achievement, and accumulated wealth – one’s ability to amass and consume material goods. (Sennett & Cobb 1972)
  12. 12. • List some of the language that we use that reinforces classism. • Is class visible?
  13. 13. Trouble with Class •Taboo subject •We don’t speak about ourselves in terms of class •Seldom discussed - language not well developed •Lack of language means that most of us can not have conversations to discuss the impact of class •Means different things to different people
  14. 14. Class Distinctions • 16% of Canadians living in poverty • School success strongly linked to social class • Most Canadians live in class segregated communities • Differences in health and life expectancy related to social class
  15. 15. Measuring Class • Wealth • Income • Occupation • Education • Where you live • Buying power • Entertainment, sports, vehicle
  16. 16. Variables of social Class - Income • Wages and salaries earned from paid occupation • Income distribution is still unequal
  17. 17. Social Inequality & Income (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • Average family income in 2004 - $76,000 • Disparity in earnings between the top and bottom 20% of Canadian earners • Top 20% of families receiving 43.6% of the income • Bottom 20% of families receive 5.2% of the income • Disparity is larger in the U.S. – Canada moving in that direction
  18. 18. Variable of Social class – Wealth (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • Assets: cash, savings, and checking accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate etc… • Wealth • Important source of power • Occupation - a major determinant of income, wealth, and power,
  19. 19. Variable of Social Class – Occupation (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • Occupation - a major determinant of income, wealth, and power – also a significant source of social prestige. • E.g., Physicians have scored near the top for several decades and newspaper carriers near the bottom • In general, white-collar occupations are higher on prestige scales than blue- collar workers, but these differences are getting smaller.
  20. 20. Variables of Social Class – Education (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • Critical factor for vertical mobility – determinant of labor force participation • It predicts occupation, income, and wealth later in life • Occupation - an important source of social prestige • Racial / gender disparities still exist • Strong correlation between educational completion and level of income.
  21. 21. Canadian Social Trends – Visible Minorities in the labour force
  22. 22. Social Mobility in Canada • Very common • Can result from personal achievement or structural change in the society itself • Can be upward or downward • Can be and intragenerational or intergenerational. • Intragenerational - a change in social position occurring during a person's lifetime. • Intergenerational - upward or downward social mobility of children in relation to their parents
  23. 23. What causes one to be in a particular social class •Ascribed status – factors that affect our ability to access power and wealth over which we have no control. • Racial or ethnic identity • Male or female • Social Background • Age • Ability •Achieved status – we have earned it, accomplished it
  24. 24. Class Structure in Canada (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • Upper class • Upper upper • Lower upper • Middle classes (very misunderstood) • Upper middle • Middle class • Working class • Lower class
  25. 25. Social Class Structure (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • The Upper Class • Those who own substantial amounts of wealth • 3- 5% of the population • Distinction made between • Inherited Wealth (1%) • New money (2-4%) • Historically of British origin – today more varied
  26. 26. Social Class Structure (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • The Middle Class • Own assets • Have a relatively well-paying job • Benefits & security • Minimum of high school diploma • Approximately 45% of population • Because of size, it has tremendous influence on patterns of Canadian culture • Significant racial and ethnic diversity
  27. 27. Social Class Structure (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • Middle Class (continued) • Top half of this category is termed the • “Upper-middle" class • Family incomes of $50,000 to $100,000 earned from upper managerial or professional fields. • The rest of the middle class (average middles) typically works in less prestigious white- collar occupations or highly skilled blue-collar jobs
  28. 28. Social Class Structure (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • Working Class • Own little or no wealth • Employed in low paying jobs • Insecure employment opportunities • Approximately 30% of the population
  29. 29. Social Class Structure (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • Lower Class • Those with the lowest or no income • About 20 % of the population • Homeless • Welfare recipients • Unemployed • Working poor • Less desirable neighbourhoods-often racially or ethnically distinct
  30. 30. Who is poor? (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • Race • Higher levels for visible minorities • Women • Wage gap, part time positions, lower paying positions etc • New Comers to Canada • Systemic discrimination – education & work experience
  31. 31. Who is poor? (continued) • People with disabilities • Less ability to participate in the work force • Face more barriers – real and perceived • Aboriginal Peoples • History of discrimination • Young & Elderly • A generation ago the elderly at greater risk today – the young
  32. 32. Impact of Social Class (Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., 2010) • Social Class & Health • Poor families and individuals • More likely than non-poor families to be malnourished • Have higher levels of infant mortality • Have a shorter life expectancy • Are more likely to work and live in hazardous or toxic environments (FEMA Training N.D.)
  33. 33. Impact of Social Class • Impact of Social Class & Housing • Poorer individuals and families: • Spend a larger proportion of household income on housing • Live in sub-standard housing • Over-crowded housing • Number of renters far exceeds the number of affordable housing
  34. 34. Impact of Social Class • Social Class & Education • Children from poor families are: • More likely to attend schools with inadequate funding • Less likely to finish high school • More likely to be tracked into general or vocational programs in schools, while children from higher social classes are likely to be tracked into university preparatory programs
  35. 35. References • Macionis, J., & Gerber, L., ( 2010). Sociology, 7th Canadian Ed. Person Education.