Class, Race, and Gender

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Class, Race, and Gender Structured Inequalities Class, race, and gender organize society as a whole and create a variety of contexts for family living through their unequal distribution of social opportunities. They are forms of stratification that foster group-based inequalities. They distribute social resources and opportunities differently. Life chances They are relational systems of power and subordination. They are interconnected systems of inequality. Matrix of domination Families can be a place to resist inequality Social stratification: structured (socially patterned) inequality Groups are socially defined & treated unequally Class Persons occupying the same relative economic rank form a social class. Striking differences in income; growing gap between top 1/5 & bottom 1/5 Occupation is the most frequently used indicator of class. Determines income, opportunity, lifestyle Cultural explanations of class Each class is viewed as having a distinctive culture. Comparisons between the classes usually turn out to be “deficit” accounts of lower-status families. Culture of poverty, underclass Cultural explanations obscure or ignore the social and material realities of class. Rodman: “lower class family traits” are actually solutions to problems faced by lower class people Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID): families experience short-term spells of poverty as result of dramatic changes (divorce, sudden unemployment, serious illness) Structural Explanations of Class Examine the ways in which social class shapes the networks of relationships between families, individuals, and institutions. Focus on relationships of power between class groups The key to social
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