Organising social relations

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Inequality

  • Socities today and throughout history are based on some form of inquality
  • Acess to and the availablitiy of resources (e.g. water, food, metals and rare materials) - ecological reasons
  • Raise of cash economy - uneven distributions of wealth
  • Marx's theory of property - upper class owns property, machinery and technology
  • Division of labour the upper class manage, leads and dictates whilst the lower class provieds and has low pay for their labour
  • Gender inequality - men onw property like cattle such as the Maasai and they lead the society (partiarchal) so rule over women too
  • Technological advancements - replacing labour intensive processes with automated manufacture
  • Employment - various jobs are filled by and created for certain types of people (male only)
  • Trend shifs - as our tastes change various industries, jobs become obsolete
  • Globalisation - production moves to cheaper places creating job shortages and price cut
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Caste

  • Means you live according to your lineage and this govern your future rights and autonomy (self-government)
  • It dictates your job, who you marry, your earnings and childhood
  • You can never move out of this position and can never improve or progress in life
  • If you are born outside the caste system you are a "untouchable" lowest of the low
  • Today, you will only find these systems in Hindu countries such as India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan 
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Hierarchy and power

  • It is a system in which system societies organise themselves based on ranking 
  • Groups and individuals are seen as "above" or "below" other groups and individuals
  • Social organisations with vertical social differentiation 
  • The Maasai hunt in different groups according to how high they are in their own society: the highest ones hunt with other high ones
  • Power is and always has been the force behind social order 
  • Durkheim says that power is necessary for societies to function properly. Therefore, power has an important function/role to play
  • Foucault says that those who posess knowledge also posses power (like preists, scientists or witchdoctors)
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Altruism and co-operation

  • Altruism is the selfless concern for the well-being of others
  • Mauss referred to altruism in his book on reciprocity (The Gift) and how the Melanesians will selflessly help each other out of obligation due to gift (which contains apart of a soul)
  • During hard times or disasters altrustic behaviour is often increased - we just can't help oursleves to want to help 
  • Buddhism and Sikhism are religious that are altruism
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