Social structures-2802345


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Social structures-2802345

  1. 1. CHANGING SOCIALSTRUCTURES – KEY CONCEPTS• Social Divisions„ Those substantial Social Stratification - CLASSdifferences betweenpeople that run throughoutour society. Social divisionhas at least two categories GENDEReach of which hasdistinctive material andcultural features … socialdivisions are not natural‟ –Social Divisions, Payne, G. RACE and ETHNICITY2nd edition, 2006, page 4
  2. 2. STRUCTURAL INEQUALITIES• In threes - Can you think of structural inequalities to do with:ClassGenderRace and EthnicityAgeDisabilitySexual orientation…any others?
  3. 3. Making Sense of Society• In order to help us understand society and the impact of social structures, it is necessary to work within a sociological framework.What do you understand by the term Sociology?Can you write a definition of sociology?
  4. 4. Aims for this week: Living with modernity, the restructuring of Britain• What does Modernity mean?• How is the presence of modernity reflected in social structures.
  5. 5. Auguste Comte• 1798 – 1857 French• Recognised as having invented the term ‘Sociology’• law of three phases‘: society has gone through three phases:Theological (Divine),Metaphysical (human rights not divine, but bigger than and beyond mankind), pre-French Revolution; andScientific (which he called Positivist – mankind can find solutions – a new social understanding based on science, post French Revolution)
  6. 6. Emile Durkheim 1858 - 1917 French one of the first people to explain the existence and quality of different parts of a society by reference to what function they served in keeping the society healthy and balanced, a position that would come to be known as structural functionalismDurkheim also stated that society was ‘more than the sum of its parts’ – ‘social facts’ termed to describe phenomena which have an existence of themselves and are not bound to the actions of individuals – for example, a society’s adaptation to a particular climate. Boundaries can break down- the interim time before new boundaries are created is called ‘anomie’- period of chaos, anarchy.Wrote ‘The Division of Labour’, examining how social order was maintained in different types of societies – coined the distinction between ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ societies.
  7. 7. Karl Marx1818 – 1883 German• All social inequalities can be explained in terms of class• Studied Capitalism, the production of economic wealth• He argued for a systemic understanding of socio-economic change• Viewed classes as being in conflict. Upper class exploits lower classes- conflict theory• Influenced by Hegel, Rousseau, Thomas Payne (consensus forms around thesis, from this an antithesis occurs, eventually a synthesis)- Just as capitalism had replaced feudalism, so socialist would replace capitalism• He envisaged a ‘stateless, classless, equal society’ which he called Communism• Social Conflict Paradigm continued by C. Wright Mills- Gap between rich and Poor growing.
  8. 8. Max Weber 1864 – 1920 German• Argued that all social action was meanful fror individuals.• Profound influence on our understanding of society, organisations etc• Three elements to class: Power, prestige, status• Concerned with the rationalisation, and ‘disenchantment’ caused by Capitalism and the rise of modernity – ‘Bureaucracy’• Thought Marx was too focused on materialism,• Wrote „The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism‟ – the impact of Capitalism on the human spirit, religion etc.
  9. 9. Comes in a Sociological Theory variety of shapes and sizes…High-Level TheoriesFocus on trying to explain how and why society is ordered Functionalism… Mid-Range Theories Marxism… Focus on trying to explain some general aspect of Interactionism… social behaviour Feminism… Low-Level Theories Focus on trying to explain a specific aspect of social behaviour. Why do girls achieve higher educational qualifications Why do I always fall than boys? asleep in Psychology lessons?
  10. 10. • Functionalist explanation of why girls achieve- Education is only salient means for them to achieve mobility.• Interactionist explanation of why working class kids do not do as well- teachers labelling of working class children produces low expectations.• Marxist explanation- curriculum reflects the values of the ruling class, alienating children. They lack the cultural capital to do well
  11. 11. Social Structures• Can be understood as organised mechanisms that exert control over individuals.• Can take the form of social institutions and patterns of behaviour• Address and often emphasise social divisions
  12. 12. Key Social Structures WithinModernity Employment Education The State
  13. 13. Can you think of others
  14. 14. Modernity versus Post- Modernity• Modernity:• “A term coined to encapsulate the distinctiveness and dynamism of the social processes unleashed during the 18th and 19th centuries, which marked a distinct break from traditional ways of life.” – Introductory Sociology, Bilton et al (2002) Macmillan, p545 Post- Modernity: “Characterised by a pastiche of cultural styles and elements but implies a deep scepticism about order and progress. Instead diversity and fragmentation are celebrated.” – Introductory Sociology, Bilton et al (2002) Macmillan, p.546 What does this mean for social structures?
  15. 15. Modernity• Marx: modernity is capitalism and he felt that the ideal of true democracy is one of the great lies of capitalism.• Key words: Alienation, class conflict, false consciousness.• Weber: modernity as rationalization, bureaucratization, and the "Iron Cage."• Durkheim: saw modernity as moral order, anomie and the decline of social solidarity..
  16. 16. PostModernity• Modernity has failed to provide the solution to the problems of life.• "Progress" is not an onward and upward march• Science (positivism) does not have all the answers• Social Institutions are changing at a rapid rate: Family, Religion, Education, etc.• Everyday life expressions of these themes:• Hi-Tech lifestyles• Preoccupied with consumer goods and media images• The Mass• International, "demise of the nation-state"• Irrationality of rationality• McDonaldization- Ritzer
  17. 17. Modernity/ Post modernity What does this mean for social structures?
  18. 18. Necessity (natural and social laws) Contingency or chanceUniversality (across time and space ) Locality and the particular (can only know own experience)Certainty and predictability Uncertainty and provisionalityTruth and reality Critique of tradition-bound analysisTransparency or understandability UndecidabilityOrder of nature and structures Ambivalence of human designFordist modernity economies of scale flexible postmodernity economies of scope, diversity, social division ofhierarchy labour, decentering, desire, homelessness, entrepreneurialism,Homogeneity, detail division of labour, public housing, monopoly indeterminacy, localism, individualism, neo-conservatismcapital Immateriality, reproduction, pastiche, eclecticismPurpose, design, mastery, determinacy, production capital, white collar, commercialism, charismatic politics, rhetoric,universalism, state power, trade unions, state welfarism, metropolis, decentralization, deconstruction, local contracts, small-batchethics, blue collar, centralization production, spectacle, flexible worker, symbolic capital, temporary, narrative, mass production, class politics, technical-scientific contract, electronic reproduction, deregulation, urban revitalization,rationality, utopia, concentration, specialized work place, laissez-faire, deindustrialization, geopoliticscFunction, Representation, signified industry, protestant work ethic, Ephemeralitymechanical reproduction, becoming, epistemology, regulation, urbanrenewal, relative space, state interventionism, industrialization,internationalism, permanence, Time
  19. 19. Fordism
  20. 20. Social Structures in Post- War Britain• The Beveridge report written in Disease Ignorance 1942 prompted the eventual creation of what we now know as the welfare state.• Beveridge argued that there was a need to rid society of the ‘five giants’ Idleness Want Squalor
  21. 21. Beveridge Report 1942 Each giant was countered by: The 1944 Butler Act which reformed schooling, the commitment to full employment in the same year. The Family The National Health Allowance Act of Service (NHS) Act instituted a universal 1945. state health service. The The 1946 National Act provided free Insurance Act diagnosis and treatment The 1948 National of illnesses at home or in Health Act, aimed hospital, including dental at achieving that and ophthalmic very objective, and treatment. established for the first time a national minimum.
  22. 22. Opinions at the time• Its the goods! All the yearnings, hopes, dreams and theories of socialists for the past half century have been crystallised into a practical economic formula. Equity for the "lowest common denominator" I was staggered by its comprehension. (Insurance clerk, male, 39, Newport)• It gave me a feeling there was something to work for and fight for after all and that our efforts might be rewarded by some real social improvement, giving means to the phrase "winning the peace". (Royal Artillery, male, 29)• I am aware of a new feeling of confidence in myself as a member of a democratic society when I see those social reforms which I have considered necessary for such long time actually taking shape. (Accountant, male, 40, Prestwick)• But there were negative comments too:• My friends seem to think its a clever piece of eyewash to retain the capitalist system by getting the people on its side. (Student, male, 22, Enfield)• "A lot of blah" is the most frequent remark from the women in the factory. "Dont believe a word of it; were eard these promises before". (Stores Keeper, female, 57, Winchcombe)• I think it is direct encouragement to the lower type of humanity to breed like rabbits (Temporary civil servant, female, 38)
  23. 23. Post-WW2 Development of British Welfare State
  24. 24. • Adopting the slogan Prevention is better than cure, this Ministry of Health poster attempts to persuade people to adopt a healthier lifestyle. It was hoped that by improving the general health of the nation, the cost of running the NHS would eventually be reduced.
  25. 25. Black Report
  26. 26. Registrar General’s Classification of Social ClassClass Categories I Higher managerial, administrative, professional. Accountant, bank manager, dentist, doctor, solicitor. II Lower managerial, administrative, professional. Farmer, librarian, sales manager, teacher. IIIa Non-manual: Clerical and minor supervisory. Clerk, police officer, shop assistant IIIb Skilled manual: Clerical and minor supervisory. Electrician, mechanic, plumber. IV Semi-skilled manual. Assembly line worker, builder, lorry driver. V Unskilled. Cleaner, labourer.
  27. 27. The Black Report (1980) Findings Low incomeSub standard housing Unemployment Poor education Poor environment
  28. 28. The Black Report (1980)Problem was: They wanted to reduce public expenditure Took the Regarded individualist the Report approach – Government as old-fashioned, people should disagreed socialist eat, drink explanations and smoke of ill-health less Argued that individual behaviour within social classes shaped health
  29. 29. The Acheson Report (1998)• This was an independent study into health inequality.• It was commissioned by the new Labour government in 1997, under the chairmanship of a former Chief Medical Officer for England and Wales, Sir Donald Acheson.• Remit – to investigate health inequalities in the UK.
  30. 30. The Acheson Report (1998) Findings • Poor men are 68% more likelySocial class to die in middle age than Coronary heart disease I richer men. Strokes • Poor women are 55% more Risk increases likely to die young. Lung cancer • Health inequalities start before birth Accidents & suicides – A key factor in low weight babies is the mother’s birth weight and her pre- Respiratory diseases pregnant weight.Social class V
  31. 31. The Acheson Report (1998) Findings• Children from poor families weighed on average 1.30gms less than those from wealthy families• Infant mortality rates: – 7/1000 – lower social classes – 5/1000 – upper social classes• Long term illness – 17% of profession men aged 45-64 – 48% of lower class men aged 45-64• Income levels – 2.2 million children live on income levels 50% below the national average• Health campaigns – Higher uptake of screening amongst upper social classes – widened health gap
  32. 32. The McDonalization Thesis: Social Life as a Fast food Restaurant Although this perspective may appear to be rather unusual when applied to society, the claims made by George Ritzer (2002) certainly provide food for thought. McDonaldization: “The process by which the principles of the fast food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as the rest of the world.” Ritzer, G. (ed) McDonaldization, The Reader, Pine Forge Press, 2002, p.7
  33. 33. Control through non- human technologyPredictability Efficiency Calculability
  34. 34. Can we find parallels betweenRitzer and the Welfare state today?
  35. 35. MEDICINE AND THE MEDICAL PROFESSION• Sociologists are interested in the impact and role of medicine and the medical profession in society. The general health of the population has clearly improved (eg during the 20th century, life expectancy almost doubled), but is this due to medicine and doctors?• Studies show that medical care and medical discoveries have often had relatively little influence on health compared with social factors.•• McKeown’s historical evidence suggests that medical care had relatively little effect on death rates before the 20th century. Most deaths were from infectious diseases (TB, cholera, measles, etc), and the biggest improvements in health were brought about by public health measures such as improved sanitation, clean drinking water, and better housing, diet and a higher standard of living.•• Illich goes further, arguing that modern high-tech curative medicine and the medical profession are a danger to our physical, mental and spiritual health. He uses the term iatrongenic illness – those caused by medical intervention – to describe this danger, such as the side effects of drugs, errors by doctors, etc. There has been a ‘medicalisation of life’ and we have lost control over own bodies, lives, suffering and death and become dependent on the medical profession, the ‘new priesthood’.
  36. 36. Functionalist account of health inequalities• Functionalists would look at social inequalities in health care from the perspective that regards the health care systems feasibility to cope with society and all of the requirements society places upon health care systems to prevent illness, and generate well-being• The functionalist is curious about the relation between the health care (HC) system itself and the rest of society.
  37. 37. Symbolic interactionism• is concerned with examining the interaction between the different role players in the health and illness drama. The focus is on how illness and the subjective experience of being sick are constructed through the doctor–patient exchange. The argument here is that illness is a social accomplishment among actors rather than just a matter of physiological malfunction.
  38. 38. Marxist theory• is concerned with the relationship between health and illness and capitalist social organisation. The main focus is on how the definition and treatment of health and illness are influenced by the nature of economic activity in a capitalist society.
  39. 39. Feminist theory• explores the gendered nature of the definition of illness and treatment of patients. Its main concern is the way in which medical treatment involves male control over women’s bodies and identities.
  40. 40. Foucault• Foucauldian theory concentrates on the dominant medical discourse, which has constructed definitions of normality (health) and deviance (sickness). This discourse provides subjects in modern societies with the vocabulary through which their medical needs and remedies are defined. The source and beneficiary of this discourse is the medical profession. Foucauldian theorists also argue that medical discourse plays an important role in the management of individual bodies (what Foucault called ‘anatomopolitics’) and bodies en masse (bio-politics), Medicine is not just about medicine as it is conventionally understood, but also about wider structures of power and control.
  41. 41. Parsonian Functionalism• The model of the sick role• The model of the sick role, which Talcott Parsons designed in the 1950s, was the first theoretical concept that explicitly concerned medical sociology.• In contrast to the biomedical model, which pictures illness as a mechanical malfunction or a microbiological invasion, Parsons described the sick role as a temporary, medically sanctioned form of deviant behaviour.• The functionalist perspective was used by Parsons to explain the social role of sickness by examining the use of the sick role mechanism. In order to be excused their usual duties and to be considered not to be responsible for their condition, the sick person is expected to seek professional advice and to adhere to treatments in order to get well. Medical practitioners are empowered to sanction their temporary absence from the workforce and family duties as well as to absolve them of blame.
  42. 42. Functionalists Parsons: being sick has potentially disruptive effects on society. Sickness is a form of deviance that needs to be controlled. Otherwise, the behaviour associated with it, such as dependency, apathy and incapacity, could become widespread and threaten the smooth functioning of society.• It is therefore important to restrict access to the sick role to those who are genuinely sick. This is the function of the doctor, whose authority is maintained by his or her objective scientific knowledge and high status.• The sick role involves both rights and obligations: the right to be exempted from normal role obligations (such as work) and to be looked after, and the obligation to want to get better, to seek help and to obey doctor’s orders.• Access to the sick role has to be legitimised by the medical profession. His explanation fits short-term, curable illnesses better than long-term, chronic illnesses
  43. 43. Feminist• Feminists see society as patriarchal and doctors as perpetuating this. Medicine has a social control function, ensuring that women are kept in a subordinate role, for example by controlling women’s fertility (eg through the medicalisation of pregnancy and childbirth, and control over access to abortion and contraception). Doyal describes how doctors often stereotype women as emotional, neurotic, less objective and more excitable than men. Even when there is clear evidence that a woman’s problem is physical, doctors often see it as having a psychological cause.
  44. 44. Marxist• For Marxists, medicine and the medical profession perform important functions for capitalism, but not for society as a whole. Doctors act as agents of social control, ensuring that an alienated workforce cannot escape to the sick role but remains at work to produce profits. They reproduce the workforce by ‘patching up’ sick workers. Ideologically, they mask the exploitation of capitalist society, making it appear more caring. Medicine and health care also enormous sources of profit for giant multinational drugs companies.
  45. 45. Mental Illness - Positivist ApproachAccepts medical definitions- mentalillness is an objective ‘thing’ ordisease. This approach examines thedistribution of mental illness amongdifferent groups in society andseeks to discover its causes. Feminists argue that the higher rates of mental illness among women areE.g. Hollingshead and Redlich caused by their position in the social structure, e.g. stress factorsshow that members of class V were associated with their domesticover six times more likely than roles. Similarly, racial discriminationmembers of class 1 suffer from and disadvantage faced by ethnicmental illness. This approach minorities create stress and may result in higher rates of mental illness.traces mental illness to the waysociety is organised and theposition of the individual in thesocial structure.
  46. 46. Mental Illness- Interactionists Interactionists are interested in how doctors and patients negotiate a diagnosis (ie a sickness label). Byrne and Long found that there is a conflict between doctors’ and patients’ views of the ideal consultation (not surprisingly, doctors prefer short, doctor-centred• Interactionists are interested consultations). in how individuals come to Doctors generally have more acquire illness labels, and the power in these interactions effects these labels have on them and those around them. They are interested in An example might be ‘illness’ and how doctor-patient ‘disability’ interactions create such labels.
  47. 47. The Third Way• ‘New Deal’ gives opportunities to work which people have a responsibility to take up, and they will suffer penalties if they do not. The main conditions are connected with work obligations, but there are also suggestions that tenancies in council housing should be conditional on behaviour
  48. 48. Next Week: Formative Assessment• Can you work in two’s for next week and please think about whether or not you agree with the idea of the Welfare state. You should consider its aims in relation to what is achieves.• Think about the provision of welfare through health care from functionalist, interactionist, feminist, marxist perspectives.• One person in the pair will argue for the existence of the welfare state, one person will argue against.• Think about labelling• The sick role• Structural inequalities• Disabling society• Classes, gender, ethnic groups, ages• The welfare state of Beveridge compared to today’s welfare state (Thatcherism to New Labour to the Coalition).• Consider the responsibility of the individual for their own health (should our taxes pay for those who are reckless with their own health).• Each person will speak for roughly 5 minutes
  49. 49. Food for thought• The government can decide if people break their side of the contract, but• the only option open to people who believe that the government has not kept its side of the deal is to vote against it in the next general election.• For example, Blackman and Palmer (1999: 119) point out the government’s limited responsibilities in job creation and varying local unemployment rates mean that unemployed people have very different chances of finding work.• Despite government’s ‘vital role’ in addressing the big issues that affect our health like housing, jobs and education, individuals’ responsibility for their own health appears to involve carrying out the rather patronizing ‘ten tips for better health’ from the Chief Medical Officer (DH, 1999). Finally, critics such as Will Hutton point out that most of the obligations are shouldered by the bottom of society (in Lister, 1999: see also Marquand, 1998), but this ‘tough approach’ seems not to apply to the powerful and assorted cronies and ‘fat cat’ executives.• Geoff Mulgan, of the Blair’s Office was comfortable with the language of dependency and parasitism, including ‘parasites’ who abuse their own health when health care is socialised, safe in the knowledge that others will pick up the bill’ and ‘the form of parasitism in which people take advantage of the community to do the work needed to pass on their own genes’ (in Levitas, 1998: 155).
  50. 50. Welfare Review• The social settlement of the Beveridge welfare state was based on particular assumptions regarding the ideological triangle of nation, family and work. We saw that it was imposed during a period where there was plenty of work.• The Beveridgean citizen was the fully employed (and insured) married, white, able-bodied, male worker, with other categories of people— including women, ethnic minorities, disabled people, children and elderly people—experiencing highly conditional forms of welfare outside the ‘normal’ universalism.• New Labour’s discourse of a ‘modern British people’ was found in their Welfare Green Paper which introduced the idea of disability and discrimination and hinted at the idea of a ‘disabling society’. This was not resolved however.
  51. 51. Next session• Key Institutions: The StateWe will be looking at:• what the state is• How it operates as a social structure• How it responds to social development• The role of sociologists in shaping social policy