Marxist explanations for ethnic inequality

  • Created by: MelMel
  • Created on: 18-10-19 11:38
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  • Marxist explanations for ethnic inequality
    • Reserve army of labour (Castles and Kosack)
      • Racism and racial inequality are deliberately encouraged by the capitalist ideas
      • Immigrant workers are used as reserve army of labour
        • This prevents white workers from demanding higher wages
      • The bourgeoisie encourage competition between ethnic groups and use their media control to stimulate racism
        • This divides the proletariat so they are less likely to rebel (divide and rule)
      • Criticisms
        • Postmodernists- position of ethnic minorities and their incomes differs enormously; over 5000 Muslim millionaires in Britain
    • Racism underpins Capitalism (Cox)
      • Capitalism went hand in hand with colonialism
        • Colonial systems assumed that European culture was superior and was imposed onto colony
        • People living in colonies were exploited (English was imposed, people not paid or given power
      • Racism was encouraged so it was claimed that white Europeans were superior to other races
      • Criticisms
        • Racial divisions are found in even the most primitive societies
        • CCCS- found evidence of racism before colonialism; early Christianity used white to denote purity and black as satanic
    • Scapegoating (Castles and Kosack/ Hall et al)
      • Castles and Kosack- when society is troubled by severe social and economic problems,frustration and anger arise
        • Whites direct this anger at vulnerable groups instead of the capitalist class
          • They use black people as scapegoats and blame them for housing shortages and unemployment
        • Scapegoating protects more powerful groups from criticism
        • Racism helps justify low pay and poor working conditions because black workers are seen as second class citizens
      • Hall et al- bourgeoisie control police and media; young black men scapegoated in the mugging crisis to divert attention
      • Criticims
        • Young (Functionalist)- inequality exists because our society is meritocratic and ethnic minorities have less rewards
    • Cultural capital (Bourdieu)
      • The dominant ethnic group may posses cultural capital which ethnic minorities are less likely to have or it may not be of the best fit
      • E.g. job employers will look for people like current employees; if most are white, ethnic minorities are less likely to be offered the job
        • Wearing clothes such as headscarves or turbans may disadvantage them further
      • This might explain the high levels of self-employment and low wages for some ethnic minority groups
      • Criticisms
        • Postmodernists- we cannot distinguish distinct values and norms of specific groups because each and every person is different


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