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109 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
How do we know what we know
direct observation: inquiry and experience
agreement (agreed upon knowledge): tradition and authority
scientific inquiry is:
conscious, deliberate, rigorous, and systematic approach to understanding
difference between casual inquiry and scientific inquiry
1. more casual inquiry, more likely observations are inaccurate 2. more likely to make errors in our conclusions
sources of error in casual or ordinary observation
1 inacurrate observation-mistakes in what we observe
2 overgeneralization- assume our observations are for larger groups
3 selective observation- see what we want to see
foundations of sociology
sociology is...

science is...
conscious, deliberate, and rigorous examination of the SOCIAL WORLD
same but of WORLD
what is sociology
as a science is deliberate, systematic examination of..
1 social contexts in which people live
2 how these contexts influence peoples lives-behavior
3 how groups influence people
4 how people are influenced by their society
sociology attempts to identify...
patterns of regularity in social life that are explained by theories (trends)
group membership that affects our behavior
ex who you marry, health, what we wear
logical explanation for a particular pattern
key elements of inquiry in sociology
in sociology are not people but variables that characterize people
gender affects income
age affects divorce
race affects grades
foundations of sociolgy
deals with aggregated not individual behavior; the collective actions and situation of many individuals; why aggregated behavior patterns are regular over time even if individuals change
social "facts" face criticism...
1. trivial-confirms what everyone knows
2. wrong-everyone knowns "that" isnt true
-all of us known exceptions of what sociologists observe
foundations of sociology
things are not always as they seem
scientific facts often contradict personal experience and conventional wisdom (cant always depend on agreement)
overview of social stratification
sociology says that individuals are shaped by social forces-some if not most of wht happens to individuals is a funciton of social factors
wpp determined by group membership
scientific facts often contradict personal experience and agreement basd on tradition
sociology suggest that social factors influence peoples position in life
traditional views suggest that people are primarily responsible for their own lot in life
social factors that affect wpp
race, gender, class, culture
individual factors
aspects such as hard work and determination determine lot in life-traditional view
Compare social vs individual factors in america
in america, the idea that social factors play even a small role is dismissed-believe in individual factors
American ideals-individual factors
core values of individualism and freedom
most dominant, productive, and affluent country in the world yet there is more inequality than any other industrialized countrycaused by indiv ideals
Conditions and processes of social stratification
social differentiation, social inequality, social stratification
social differentiation
-people have distinct indiv qualities and social roles
-people are different
-differences does not necessarily mean these differences are ranked (valued over others-different doesnt mean better)
ex. infant vs adolescent, brown vs black hair
social inequality
one social difference becomes better than others-when ranked, get social inequ.
-condition in which people have unqual access to valued resources in a society
-typically emerges from social differentiation
social inequality arises for two different reasons
1. evaluation of sociological differences-nothing biologically superior just culturally or socially
2. Some social differences, especially different social roles, place some people in a position to acquire a greater share of valued resources (men vs women-breadwinner vs caretaker)
social stratification
institutionalized inequality
-system of social relationships that determines who gets what and why-system emerges in shools and chruch etc to determine who gets what and why
2 primary bases of the stratification system
ascription and achievement
-placement in the hierarchical system is based primarily on heredity or other qualities and attributes completely beyond the control of individuals
-gender, race, origin, ethnicity
-done on own
-placement in hierarchical system is based primarily on merit, meeting specific ideals, and following rules of achievement
-qualities and attributes within control of individuals
social class
where an individual falls on the ladder of stratification
social class def
grouping of individuals with similar positions and similar interests-either political or economic
3 criteria to determine class
1. occupation-income producing activity (wealth)
2. authority-ability to order, direct others (power)
3. property (ownership)-prestige
social mobility
ability to move acorss the classes and within a class
social classes of us
upper class, corporate class, middle class, working class, lower class
Degrees of inequality
income and wealth
basic necessities and health
political inequalities
the money you make
-wages and payment received from an occupation or investments
-accumulated assets in the form of valued goods (real estate, stocks, money reserves)
-something of economic value that is bought, sold, or invested
distinction between income and wealth
income is earned and spent on necessities or desires
-wealth is accumulated and used to generate income
importance of wealth and income
they generate other differences and attitudes that cause inequality to exist
differences in inequality of income and wealth
differences in income are easy to see so we focus on them but there is even greater inequality in wealth
income inequality
-the extent to which income is not distributed equally-rich/poor gap
-the extent to which some groups have more or less income
-if everyone has roughly the same income, then no inequality would exist
Gini index
masure of income and wealth inequality that is used to summarize and compare
-provides single number for the illustration of amount of inequality that exists in a community or country that can be compared to other countries
Gini index measures:
the degree of inequality in the distribution of income-how much income for amt of population
calculated from the Lorenz curve
Lorenz curve
cumulative family or household income is plotted against the number of families or households
perfect inequality
20% of families had 20% of income etc-diagonal line
represented by the curve-lots people own little and the top owns the rest
perfect equality
1% owns 0, 20 own 0, 1 person owns 100% of income
-never perfect either way although this can almost be illustrated by dictator in small country
Gini index
area between the countrys lorenz curve and the 45 equality line
-higher the number, the greater the inequality, closer to 0, less inequality
1968 Gini
least inequality because of civil rights legislations-equal access, welfare, new deal programs
US Gini index
highest in the world-indicates that income is distributed highly unequally
-twice that of austria and 40% more than Germany
basic necessities for living
food, water, clothing, shelter, healthcare
why is income important
because income affects other factors (such as attitude) that influence our lives
are inequalities in basic necessities always a direct function of inequalities in income and wealth
no...inequalities in income and wealth are not pefect predictors of inequalities in basic necessities because of government subsidies and relative cost of basic necessities
government subsidies
if the government provided for those who cannot afford it then
-low income would not necessarily mean a low standard of living-lack of basic necessities
-there would be relatively little inequality in basic necessities
relative cost of basic necessities
even with highly unequal distribution of income:
-if the cost of basic necessities is relatively low, inequality would exist
-wealth and savings and luxuries would be unequally distributed
although there are government subsidies and relative costs of necessities are low...
over 2 million live without potable water
over 3 million live without indoor plumbing
36.3 million in the US do not have enough food to maintain a healthy lifestyle
13 million children do not get enough food on a daily basis
1 in 10 households are living in hunger
4 million children experience food insufficiency and hunger-10% of children under 12 in the country-largest group in poverty
why do problems like hunger exist
because the US spends less on subsidies for low income people than any other industrial nation and has more poverty
health and healthcare-measured by...
life expectancy
health outcomes
quality of life
access to healthcare
determinants of health
physical environment
behavior and biology-enviro
social factors-inequality
health services-access
health services available to people
health care institutions-clinics and hospitals
health manpower-physicians and nurses
health commodities-equipment and supplies
Problems with healthcare
-healthcare is limited in the number of doctors, hospitals etc
-demand exceeds supply therefore it must be rationed
-healthcare must be distributed by some means
2 principles to distribute healthcare
1. need
2. price-in the US, most common form
United states is the only industralized nation without universal health care-one that is bot based on price but on need
US healthcare
treated like a commodity that can be bought and sold
-unlike other goods and services it is a NECESSITY and is VERY EXPENSIVE-prohibitively
3 factors that influence who gets healthcare
ability to pay
access to healthcare
health insurance
other determinants of health that are distributed unequally
exposure to risk factors
health services as a determinant of healthcare
more or better access is available for certain groups with illustrates the inequality that exists
indicators for checking to see if the healthcare system works
infant mortality rate
life expectancy
length of active lifestyle
US healthcare system
Highest health expenditure
lowest life expectancy by gender
health performance ranked 37 even if economy is number 1
US health composite score
72 among nations
highest cost per capita
54 in financial contribution fairness
Problems of citizens of US
lowest number follow their doctors advise
lowest survival rate of kidney transplant
second lowest survival of colorectal cancer
Relationship of healthcare cost and quality
-great disparity between cost and product
-costs increasing and need increasing because of the lack of insurance
political inequalities
differences in what some groups put into the political process
differences in what some groups get out of the political process
state as redistributive institution
function is to take from some and redistribute to others-materials in society
socialist idea of redistribution
takes materials from all and redistributes them evenly-identical outputs
american idea of redistribution
varying inputs and varying outputs-amt for each is varying
taxes as input
way to generate revenue because every nation has to raise money for input through taxes
the mechanism by which the state generate revenue to sustain itself and its expenses
progressive taxation
-common in most nations
-those most able to afford it, pay the most taxes
-those who make more money, pay more taes
outputs of political inequalities
welfare, education, military, roads,
-all are distributed unequally among groups
misconception concerning government assistance
poor do not receive the majority of the government benefits (outputs)
who gets government assistance?
1. education
2. enviro groups, parks and rec, police, public health programs etc
3. medicaid
4. higher education
5. dept of corrections
6. public assitance (2%)
7. transportation
overall state spending (gov output) for the poor
less than 18%
institutionalized inequality
-condition in which people have unequal access to valued resources in a society
-system of social relationships that determines who gets what and why
5 types of stratification systems
1. primitive communal
2. slavery
3. caste
4. feudal (or estate)
5. class
5 major characteristics to differentiate the types of stratification systems
1. normative closure/openess between ranks
2. actual method of placement into ranks
3. method of legitimation
4. predominant form of inequality
5. level of inequality (comparative)1
normative closure/openess between ranks
norms or values prescribe how open or closed the ranks should be-what is right and wrong
-US believes that you should be open to move up in class
degree of openess in the US
-its open
-we nominatively believe people are free and that their own efforts and accomplishments allow them to move up in a class
Actual method of placement into ranks-way people end up in one rank versus another
ascription or achievement
Placement in US vs India
In US, much is based on ahievement while in India it is much more on ascription
Method of legitimation
method used to justify the existance of inequality in a society
-more ineq in a society the more important is the method of legitimation and the more elaborate and comprehensive
-justification for why one is where they are in social stratification-why those at bottom dont revolt
3 primary methods of legitimation
1. custom or tradition
2. idealogical (belief system)
3. legal justification
custom or tradition
-how things have always been done
-diverts focus away from alternative methods for distributing valued resources
systematic belief system
-superior qualification and contributions to society of those at the top
-religious belief that a deity wills or deems the system of inequality-primised reward in the afterlife for those who obey the earthly rules and position-common
Legal Justification
-laws that enfore the rights and privileges of those in upper ranks-apartheid or jim crow
-laws and procedures that claim to ensure a fair set of rules in assigning ranks and rewards
3 dominant forms if inequality
1. economic wealth
2. power (military, political, bureaucratic)
3. status or prestige
types of stratification systems
forms of inequality are typically iner related
-one is typically most predominant and leads to the others
Primitive communal societies and stratification-hunter or gatherer
earliest form of social organization
nomadic-semi nomadic
NO-open, AP-achievement-because strongest or smartest, FL-tradition, PF-status, RI-low
Slave-stratification system
historically persitant form of inequality
emerged only after humans established agricultural communities
peaked in early agrarian civilizations-started when groups lost wars
NO-closed, AP-ascription, FL-legal, ideology PF-economic, RI-high
Caste stratification system
-rigid system which divides members of a society into different castes
-castes are separated socially, economically and physicially
-intermarriage is limited and occupations assigned to castes-found mostly in india
NO-closed, AP-ascription RI-relgious and ideological PF-status, RI-high
Feudal or estate
-land owning nobility, first estate-priests, second estate-nobility, third estate-commoners
-highest level of relative inequality between 1 and 3 estate
NO-closed, AP-ascription, FL-legal and ideological, PF-inequality, RI-high
Class system of stratification
-emerged from industrial age
-opposed to the feudal system it replaced
-stratified system used in the industrialized world
NO-open, AP-mixed, FL-ideological mixed with opportunity, PF-economic, bureaucratic, authority RI-medium
History of stratification
-for most of human history, little inequality has existed
-over past 10000 years increased-the history of civilization is the history of stratification therefore as civilization increases so did inequality
period of highest level of inequality
development of industrial societies
first signs of large scale hierarchical civilization
ancient egyptian empire 4000 BC
Why did relative equality exist for most of human history
simple societies
no surplus to accumulate
no real basis for inequality
what changed in history to cause inequality to develop
neolithic revolution-new stone age
-period in dev of human technology that marks end of stone age
-does not refer to a specific chronological period but behavioral and cultural characteristics
-tools, crops, domestic animals
dev of food production methods that allowed one person to produce more food than he or she needed to survive
-can be accumulated-people are freed from survival activities
industrial revolution history
-major technological, socioeconomic, and cultural change in 18th century
-resulted from replacement of economy based on manual labor to one dominated by industry and machine manufacturing
-began in england with introduction of steam power and powered machinery
industrial revolution reducing inequalities
-complexity of elites to concede power to those with tech skills
-massive increases in material wealth reach marginal utility, elites gain more by allowing masses access to surplus-million to billionaire is little wealth
-IR was also a political rev in may parts, ousting the feudal system and replacing with egalitarian society
-international confluct necessitated allegiance from the masses to fight
post industrial society
information age
-economy based not on heavy industral prod but services and highly technical industries
-knownledge and education have become important, similar to ownership of property
recent trends in stratification
-inequality is increasing since 1980. With exception of last 300 years the history of humanity is increasing inequality
-which real trend-last 300 or last 10,000 and most recent 25