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FSU SYG 2010 - Chapter 7 – Economic Problems: Poverty and Wealth

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Chapter 7 – Economic Problems: Poverty and Wealth• Social inequality = social problem  negative consequences• Cooking patterns have changed, 20% income on food – should multiply by 5 instead of 3 to determine poverty line. Multiplying by 3 assumes everyone cooks at home and never goes out• In early years of US most people were poor but poverty was not considered a social problemo Poverty assumed to be natural way of life• Subjective concern – when an issue becomes a social problem• Objective concern – when an issue is a personal problem• War on poverty in 1962 by President Kennedy • Why is poverty a social problem?o Where should cutoff for poverty be?o What should count as income?o How many poor people are there really?o How we define poverty determines who will/will not receive aido Poverty is the root to many other social problemso No matter how poverty is computed millions of people will still be poor• If wealth is good, then why is it a social problem?o Wealth brings vast power• Symbolic interactionistso Stress that to understand poverty we must focus on what poverty means to people Poverty is relative and differs from one group in society to the nexto Perception on poverty effects the help they receive If middle class views poor as “good people” they will support legislation to create more jobs. If they view poor as “no-goods” then they will withdraw their supporto Meaning of poverty changes as social conditions changeo In 1700s poverty was seen as God’s will and poor were put on earth to provide opportunity for the rest of us to show Christian charity. Poverty was a personal problem, NOT a social problemo Poverty was viewed as result of flawed character• Functionalismo Some tasks in society are more important than others. These positions required talented people who are willing to sacrifice to prepare for them.  Harder jobs with extensive training = $$$$$ (more) Lower jobs with less training skill = $ (less)• Anyone can wash dishes, jobs like geologists require many years of schooling and trainingo Also analyze dysfunction of poverty Alienation, despair, drug abuse, street crime, suicide, mental illnesso Functions of poverty page 201• Conflict Theoryo Struggle over limited resourceso Wealthy pass advantages to their children, while poor pass on disadvantages to theirso Social class revolves around “means of production” People are either capitalists, who own the means of productions, or they are workers, employed by capitalists. o We should not think of power elite or ruling class as a group that meets and makes specific decisions. Rather, their behavior stems from mutual interest in solving the problems that face big business• Feminist Theoryo Women perform reproductive and household laboro Gender, race, and age are venues of exploitation just as important as those that exist between owners of production and workers• What is the cause of poverty?o Not laziness, stupidity, or any other personal characteristic but the structural features of society. Poverty is connected to geography, race and ethnicity, age, and marital status• One reason people are poor:o Culture of poverty People trap themselves in poverty and feel there is no way out. They continue the bad patterns and way of life that makes it impossible to get out of povertyo Economic colonialism Weaker nations must sell products to most industrialized nations at low prices and are lucky if they can keep up with expanding populationso National power elite Powerful countries use their resources to keep themselves in powerChapter 8- Racial-Ethnic Relations• Minority does not mean numerical minority• Characteristics of minority group1. Ascribed status2. Prejudice3. Discrimination4. Endogamy5. Common identity (we vs. them)• Goals of minority groups1. Assimilation2. Pluralism3. Secession4. Militancy • Policies of dominant group toward minority groupo In order from humanity to inhumanityi. Multiculterism (pluralism)ii. Assimilationiii. Segregationiv. Internal colonialismv. Population transfervi. Genocide• The problem comes down to many racial-ethnic group in U.S having distinct histories, customs, and identities• Prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination are not necessarily social problemso Individuals discriminated against internalize views of dominant group and believe there is a reason for being discriminated against. They belittle their own abilities and think of themselves as less capable, less worthy, and less human. Economic problems also arise from this. o Minorities are more likely to be turned down for a loan, whether their incomes are blow or above the median income of their community• Symbolic Interactionistso Prejudice and discrimination is learned, as right or wrong, as a routine part of everyday lifeo Stereotypes become lens as through how we view peopleo Ultimately labels effect our relationships How we learn labels, use labels to classify one another, how our classifications create selective perception and sort people into different kinds of life experiences• Functionalismo Slavery and the invasion of the west left a legacy of dysfunction Racial-ethnic tensions, hostilities, hatred, and fearo “Dirty work” is done by people willing to accept low wages because they are unable to obtain high paying jobs, immigrantso Immigrants also earn more than they would in their home countryo Ethnocentrism helps the dominant group justify its higher social position and greater share of society’s resources. The lower class also sees that one class has “made it” and gives them hope that they can someday too• Conflict Theoryo The dominant group pits racial-ethnic groups against one another in order to exploit workers and increase profito Split labor market Workers who are fearful and distrustful of one another are unable to unite and demand higher wages or benefits. This causes minorities to view each other as enemies and view themselves as pathetic victims unable to get ahead because of the whites• Cultural integrity is essential in order to promote the encouraging of cultural pluralismChapter 9 – Inequalities of Gender and Sexual Orientation• Sex is a major sorting device in every society in the world• Men’s activities are always given greater prestigeo It is the sex that is associated with the work that provides its prestige, not the work itself• Major areas of discrimination:o Political and


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