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Sociology – chapters 7, 8

sex
the natural or biological differences that distinguish males from females
sexuality
refers to desire, sexual preference, sexual identity, and behavior
gender
a social construct that consists of a set of social arrangements that are built around sex

social relations are built on unequal ground – POWER is fundamentally at play when we talk about gender diffs

feminism
an intellectual, consciousness-raising movement based on the idea that women and men should be accorded equal opportunities and respect

The movement’s chief goal could be described as getting people to understand that gender is an organizing principle of life.

waves of feminism
3 waves

1st = getting women EQUAL access to voting, suffrage (1900s – 1920s)

2nd = gaining EQUAL access to employment and education (1960s, 1970s)

3rd = focus NOT on equal rights but on diversity and different varieties of female identities that women can possess – women can behave how they want

Essentialism / biological determinism
assign gender and explain gender differences purely in terms of natural or biological attributes
ancient greeks’ view on the body
thought that there was one body, the male body, and that the female body was its inversion.

This notion endured until the mid-eighteenth century

hegemonic masculinity
an ideal notion of a man that is so dominant, people aren’t even really aware of it
gender roles
sets of behavioral norms assumed to accompany one’s status as a male or female
patriarchy
a nearly universal system involving the subordination of femininity to masculinity
structural functionalist approach
approach to studying gender assumes that gender differences exist to fulfill necessary functions in society, but it doesn’t allow for the possibility that other structures could fulfill the same function or for the fact that structures change throughout history.
psychoanalytic theories
focus on individualistic explanations for gender differences as opposed to societal ones. Inherent in these theories is the notion that natural differences exist between men and women that dictate how they behave.
social feminists
argue that all social relations, including relations between workers and the owners of the means of production, stem from unequal gender relations
social constructionists
argue that gender is a process in which people participate with every social interaction.
black feminists
pointed out that gender doesn’t function in a vacuum and that gender studies must take into account that no single category of women or men exists. Indeed some women are not only more privileged than other women but are even more privileged than some men. (white women better than black men)
post-modern theorists
question the whole notion of “woman” as a separate, stable category and question the value and appropriateness of Western scholars applying their cultural logic to the study of non-Western societies.
middle-range theories
may be the most useful in addressing the complicated subject of gender because they connect people’s day-to-day experiences to larger social forces.
Parson’s sex-role theory
under the “structural functionalism” umbrella

theory that the nuclear family is the ideal arrangement in modern society bc it fulfills the function of reproducing workers

glass ceiling
an invisible limit on women’s climb up the occupational ladder
glass escalator
the promotional ride men take to the top of a work organization, esp in feminized jobs
stratification
systematic inequalities between groups of people that arise as intended or unintended consequences of social processes and relationships
social equality
a condition whereby no differences in wealth, power, prestige, or status based on nonnatural conventions exist
Rousseau
18th century; argued that private property creates social inequality and that this inequality ultimately leads to social conflict
inequality is a result of
surplus

(central paradox of chapter 7)

Adam Ferguson and John Millar
Scottish Englightenmen thinkers; agreed with Rousseau that private property creates inequality, but they argued that this is good because it means that some people prosper and create assets
assets (definition)
a form of wealth that can be stored for the future
assets (different views)
The ability to create assets provides an incentive to work hard and be productive, which in turn leads to higher degrees of social organization and efficiency and ultimately to an improved society and civilization.

The irony, however, is that this ability to create and store surpluses is what creates inequality.

Thomas Malthus
viewed inequality favorably, but only as a means for controlling population growth

thought that a more equal distribution of resources would increase the world’s population to unsustainable levels and ultimately bring about mass starvation and conflict

in other words – too many people will eventually use up all the available resources and bring about mass starvation and conflict

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
master-slave dialectic
dialectit
a two-directional relationship, one that goes both ways
master-slave dialectic
posited that most social relationships in the world were based on a master-slave model in which the master and the slave are equally dependent on e/o

Hegel also believed that over time society would have more and more free people and the master-slave model would die out as the primary social relationship.

ontological equality
the notion that everyone is created equal in the eyes of God
equality of opportunity – definition, example
the idea that inequality of condition is acceptable so long as everyone has the same opportunities for advancement and is judged by the same standards

This standard of equality is most closely associated with OUR CURRENT modern capitalist society and a cornerstone of arguments made by civil rights activists in the United States in the 1960s.

bourgeois society
a society of commerce (modern capitalist society, for ex) in which the maximization of profit is the primary business incentive
equality of condition – definition, example
the idea that everyone should have an equal starting point from which to pursue his or her goals

Belief in this standard of equality has led to policies, such as affirmative action, which try to compensate social actors for differences in their conditions or starting points.

(affirmative action = preferential selection to increase representation of women/minorities in areas of employment, education, and business from which they have been historically excluded)

equality of outcome – definition, example
the notion that everyone in a society should end up with the same “rewards” regardless of his or her starting point, opportunities, or contributions

This standard of equality is most closely associated with Communist ideology, and critics argue that without greater incentives to work hard and be productive, people will slack off and social progress will be stymied.

“A centrally organized society calls on its citizens to contribute to the best of their ability yet everyone receives the same rewards. The median income is everyone’s income regardless of occupation/position.”

free rider problem
the notion that when more than one person is responsible for getting something done, the incentive is for each individual to shirk responsibility and hope others will pull the extra weight
estate system – definition, example
a politically based system of stratification characterized by limited social mobility

best ex: the social organization of feudal Europe and the pre-Civil War American South

caste system – definition, example
a system of stratification based on hereditary notions of religious and theological purity and generally offers no prospects for social mobility

ex: the varna system in India

class system – definition, example
an economically based system of stratification characterized by somewhat loose social mobility and categories based on roles in the production process rather than individual characteristics

ex: contemporary American society

Karl Marx’s views, forms of stratification
society was divided strictly into two classes—the proletariat, or working class, and the bourgeoisie, or employing class
proletariat
the working class
bourgeoisie
the capitalist class
Erik Olin Wright’s views, forms of stratification
developed the concept of contradictory class locations, which is in opposition to Marx’s pure classes
contradictory class locations — definition, example
the idea that people can occupy locations in the class structure that fall between the two “pure” classes

examples = small business owners, managers, self-employed

Max Veber’s views, forms of stratification
concept of class is based on grouping people according to the value of their property or labor in the commercial marketplace
status hierarchy system – definition, example
a system of stratification based on social prestige

can be linked to different things – occupation, lifestyle, membership in certain organizations – but is MOST OFTEN linked to occupation

elite-mass dichotomy system
a system of stratification that has a governing elite—a few leaders who broadly hold the power of society
Vilfredo Pareto
thought that the masses were better off in the elite-mass dichotomy system because the most skilled and talented people would reach the governing elite
meritocracy
Pareto believes in this

a society where status and mobility are based on individual attributes, ability, and achievement

C. Wright Mills
viewed the elite-mass dichotomy system as dangerous and detrimental as it consolidates power in the hands of the few who will act according to their interests as opposed to the interests of the masses

divided the “elite” into 3 realms – military, business, gov’t (military, economic, political)

C. Wright Mills – elite economic realm
economic institutions

with a few hundred giant corporations holding the keys to economic decisions

C. Wright Mills – elite political realm
political order

once decentralized to states and localities, the increasing concentration of power in the federal gov’t has led to a centralized executive establishment that affects every cranny of society

C. Wright Mills – elite military realm
the largest and most expensive feature of gov’t
socioeconomic status (SES)
refers to an individual’s position in a stratified social order

refers to ANY measure sociologists use to classify people – groups, individuals, families – in terms of occupation, wealth, income, education

income
money received by a person for work, from transfers (gifts, inheritances, or gov’t assistance), or from returns on investments
wealth
a family’s or individual’s net worth (that is, total assets – total debts)
upper class in USA
associated with income, wealth, power, and prestige, but definitions related to specific levels of income or net worth can vary.
upper class (general def)
the economic elite
middle class (general def)
used to describe those individuals with nonmanual jobs that pay significantly more than the poverty line – though this is a highly debated and expansive category, particularly in the USA, where broad swathes of the population consider themselves middle class
types of poverty
working poor
nonworking poor
working poor
= “deserve our assistance”
nonworking poor
= “those who can work but don’t and therefore have a weaker moral claim on assistance” = aka “the underclass”
social mobility
the movement between different positions within a system of social stratification in any given society, can be either horizontal or vertical and can take place on the individual or group level
horizontal social mobility
a group or individual transitioning from one social status to another situated in same class position (ie remaining middle class)

aka lateral mobility

vertical social mobility
the rise or fall of an individual or group from one social stratum to another (ie moving out of a social class to a new one)

aka upward (ascending) or downward (descending) mobility

structural mobility
mobility that is inevitable from changes in the economy such as the expansion of high-tech jobs in the past 20 years
exchange mobility
occurs when people essentially trade positions—the number of overall jobs stays the same, with some people moving up into better jobs and others moving down into worse ones
mobility table
a way to examine the process of individual mobility by comparing changes in occupational status between generations
status-attainment model
also looks at changes in occupational status between generations (as the mobility table does), but it includes factors such as educational attainment, income, and the prestige of a person’s first job

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