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RANKBottom line: Inequality is a fundamental feature of social systemsInequality•central topic in American society•Many people have much less than poor Americans Social Stratification •Reflect hierarchies •different societies rank people in different ways •example: the Indian caste system •hereditary -expected to marry people in your caste, kids will be in your caste - outcast comes from the caste system - people out of the caste •“the untouchables” - people without a caste -handle the dirty jobs; cleanup garbage Americans •believe that your wealth is a product of hard work - no caste system•a lot of things a person can do to move up in society-The American Dream - written during the great depression Horatio Alger Jr. •wrote close to 100 books•books had a common theme about a poor young boy manages to achieve great success in life -manuals on how to be successful -how he finds bargains, place to sleep, working his way up the ladder CLASS•class for sociologists refers to your place in society - how much money you haveKarl Marx•saw society as a product of economic arrangements •the caste system was the “super structure” under that would be the “base” where you can find the working people such as the farmers -argues that in every society, the base shapes the super structure; the families and educated workers move up in society and make up the super structure •capitalist societies there are 2 different structures -the capitalists & the working class; within these classes there are conflicts -capitalists want more money so they want to reduce wages whereas the workingclass wants more money & higher wages -this creates class conflicts •workers go on strike to force the capitalists to raise wages (usually violent in the 19th century)•TODAY: there are legal limits constraining strikers in labor disputes (not as violent)Class System •over 90% says that they are middle class •higher your class, the greater your wealth •upper class usually from inheritance •higher your social class, the more education you have -kind of clothes you wear, what food you eat, etc. •class can be mapped -example: education levels in Manhattan •Social Mobility - the ability to move up the class structure •other nations have more mobility than America -mostly in northern Europe Ethnicity •income is related to ethnicity •whites have more than other ethnicities on average •ethnic differences are mostly class differences Max Weber•glass half-empty guy•a lot of conflict in society•argues that society is divided along 3 hierarchies 1.) class2.) power (political)3.) status STATUS•difference statuses in society -we think of expensive things -enough money that I can afford these expensive things to show off my class •Weber argues that all classes have status symbols (high & low)•Status can be correlated with social class (yachts, etc.) •Groups have their own class (Christian motorcyclists) •Tattoos are symbols of status (gang members)•Civil Rights was a movement over STATUS not over CLASS-receive service at a lunch counter •Women’s rights •Equality is about status -claims about respect •Immigration debates are about status (not “real” Americans) •during the prohibition, immigrants were linked to alcohol -symbolic issue for native-born, old, Protestants -Protestants disliked Italians because they drank wine during dinner in ffront of their children •States that voted Prohibition had mostly Protestants Contemporary •competitions over status -old white people don’t want illegal immigrants; illegal immigrants saying they will do the work that we don’t want to do to come into America Gini coefficient: -most of society has a curve in money not a perfect line •wealth is becoming concentrated at people at the top •middle class is

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UD SOCI 201 - Lecture notes

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