Social Inequality OCR G674

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  • Created on: 22-05-15 16:29

Social Class Inequality

  • Wealth - stock of economic income
  • Income - flow of money a person recieves
  • Polarisation - Richest moving away from poorest. Top 1% own 25% up from 19%


  • Islington Crime Survey - Inner cities more likely to be victims. 42% of burglaries in poor homes
  • Hall - Working class scapegoated
  • Cicourel - Stop and search young people, Self fulfilling prophacy
  • Snider - State reluctant to pass laws on corperations
  • Hood - Judges love people who are similar to them 


  • 1% of working class people go uni compared with 80% middle
  • Gillies - Middle Class mothers have more time and cultural capital to help kids
  • Cohen - Status Frustration of WC boys
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Social Class Inequality 2


  • Unemployment rates are 4 times higher in unskilled work
  • Sutton Trust - ruling class use elite schools to create social networks to gain employment
  • Goldthorpe and Lockwood - Working class satisfaction from traditional jobs gone


  • Hey - Working class girls more likely to be controlled by peers. Middle class have liberation
  • Young and Willmott - Middle Class women more likely to be in symetric families
  • Jackson - Working class youths fall into rebellious lad peer groups
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Theorectical explanations for social class inequal

Neo -Marxism

  • Bourdieu - Cultural capital
  • Gramsci - Hegemony
  • Marcuse - Media deprive us of crtical thought
  • Kincaid - Reserve army of labour and Divide and Rule


  • Class (market postion), Status, Party (power)
  • Barron and Norris - Duel Labour market - Primary and secondary


  • Davis and Moore - Role allocation: Functional importance, scarcity of personnel.


  • Lyotard - Grand narratives pointless as we live in an indivdual world
  • Bauman - Inequalities based on consumption rather than class
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Explanations of changing class structure


  • Sutton Trust - elite theory (25% oxbridge MP)
  • Savage - Loss of working class collective confidence
  • Westergaard - Class in itself (share a class position) Class for itself (class concious)


  • Young and Wilmott - Traditional working class
  • Goldthorpe and Lockwood - New working class (eg. motivated by pay not pride)
  • Hutton - 40/30/30 (Privileged/marginalised/disadvantaged)


  • Pakulski and Waters - Consumption rather than class that identifies someone
  • Beck and Beck-Gernshiem - People see themselves as individuals rather than as a class
  • Furlong and Cartmel - Young people have so many more life choices nowadays
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Gender Inequality


  • Women earn half of what men earn over a lifetime
  • Men earn 10% more for same work
  • 47% women with children under 5 don't work
  • 18% of MPs are women
  • Mac an Ghail - Male Crisis, men marginalised due to reduce tradtions. Feminisation of workplace
  • Beynon - Deindustrilisation was harmful for working class men
  • Thiel - builders seen as 'bodies' by their manager


  • Oakley - Double shift
  • Dunscombe and Marsden - triple shift
  • McRobbie - Bedroom culture
  • Young and Wilmott - Symettrical family life
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Feminist Methodology

  • Smart - Transgression theory - Criminology should transgress from malestream

Oakley's feminist methodology (studies into housework)

  • Unstructured interviews
  • Reciprical (giving something back)
  • Ethical (not exploiting)
  • Reflexivity
  • Respondant validation

Skeggs - Working class women trying to gain respectibility and diverging from poverty.

  • 80 white women
  • interviews and participant obvservation

Pawson - Feminists are going to be subjective about their reasearch

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Theoretical explanations for gender inequality


  • Parsons - Instrumental and expressive natural roles beneficial
  • EVAL Connell - Hegemonic masculinity is socialised
  • EVAL Oakley - Manipulation and canalisation


  • Barron and Norris - Duel labour market
  • Women in secondary labour market - Cultural myths (not working for female manager), Disrupted career development, Weak legal framework
  • EVAL - Duel labour market is tautological
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Feminist explanations for gender inequality

  • Sommerville (LIBERAL) - The working life doesn't suit family life
  • Wolf (LIBERAL)- Women are now focused on apperance so feel bad about themselves
  • Skeggs (MARXIST)- Class can affect womans lives, not all women have the same lifestyles
  • Freedman (MARXIST)- Married women more likely to leave employeement as reserve army
  • Dworkin (RADICAL) - *********** promotes abuse of women. All sex is therefore ****
  • Delphy and Leonard (RADICAL) - Family is cornerstone of oppression and should be abolished
  • Walby (TRIPLE SYSTEM) - Patriarchy, racism and capitalism
  • Walter (POSTMODERN) - Women are judged on their looks and therefore greater inequality
  • Coward (POSTMODERN) - Wrong to say patriarchy is as bad as it was. Women made progress

Post Feminist (Hakim)

  • Women choose their position in society (preference theory)
  • Women should use sexual capital to get ahead in society
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Ethnic inequality


  • Bowling - Minorities are no more criminal than majority, crime rates are social construction
  • Phillips and Bowling - Black stop and search rate 7x higher
  • Macphearson report - police are institutionally racist


  • Sewell - Black boys are influenced by rap stars to fill hole left by father
  • Poole - Islamaphobia, asian minorities often stereotyped
  • Murry - Black familes often single parent and therefore forming an underclass
  • Alexander - Asian Gang, boys were labelled as gang despite just hanging around together


  • Brown and Gray - White candidate got 2x more interviews than minority names
  • Unemployement for bangledeshi is 21% compared with 4% for white
  • Labour Market Trends - 70% of bangladeshi men work in service sector, 17% white
  • Labour Force survey - 50% of Bangladeshis earn less than £7 per hour
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Theoretical explanations for ethnic inequality


  • Patternson - Host-immigrant model. White natives weren't racist just unsure on how to deal with immigrants. Waiting for immigrants to move towards cultural assimillation and take on norms and values of host society. (Modood found that 60% of bangladeshi women don't speak full english)
  • Cashmoore - Successful black entrepreneurs are often seen as suspicious especially by black community
  • EVAL Gilroy - Cultures constantly borrow from one another so 'ethnic absolutism' is untrue
  • EVAL - Issues surrounding 'blaming the victim' for lack of assimilation


  • Barron and Norris - Ethnic minorities often found in secondary labour market due to racism
  • Rex and Tomlinson - Black underclass formed due to poverty through class and status position
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Theoretical explanations for ethnic inequality 2


  • Castles and Kosack - Employers devide and rule through racism
  • Hall - Scapegoating black muggers to distract from societies issues
  • Miles - Racialised class fractions, black people are low in class due to ethnicity
  • Work force may have 'institutional racism'


  • Modood - People have pick and mixed cultural identities
  • Modood - Half of caribbean children have a white parent
  • Owen and Green - Minorities have made huge progress in labour market. Indians and Chineese have similar earnings to white
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Age Inequality


  • 33% of pensioners live below poverty line
  • Arber and Ginn - Single female pensioners are most likely to be below poverty line
  • Arber and Ginn - Older people make contributions to economy through unpaid work
  • MORI - 20% of people discriminated due to age in the workplace. e.g young people being overlooked due to skills or experience
  • Featherstone and Hepworth (postmodern) life courses are deconstructed so reduces restrictions


  • Hockey and James - Infantilisation, and the way old people are presented as week and dependant
  • Hockey - Old people seen as children in old peoples homes
  • CCCS - Young people use subcultures to make a political point
  • Carrigan and Szmigin - Older people are stereotyped in advertisment

Pilcher (Eval) - roles associated to age are breaking down, people can identify how they want to.

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Theoretical explanations for age inequality


  • Parsons - youth deserve role through lack of experience in a meritocracy
  • Parsons - Youth need independence from parents so rebel and conflict is necessary


  • Kincaid - Reserve army of labour, minimum wage for youth is different


  • Gannon - The way older women are given less status after menopause as it is seen as an issue


  • Hockey and James - possible to resist status: alternative source of power (money or patriarchy), deny membership to a group, mock the way you are treated
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Theoretical explanations for age inequality 2


  • Parkin - Social closure: exclusion strategy (age restricted) usurpation strategy (grab privileges)


  • Pilcher - Life stages are breaking down and there is individual choice
  • Featherstone and Hepworth - Middle classes most likely to have postmodern approach to age, due to wealth and consumer culture, also children socialised into more adult roles
  • Blakie - Elderly are now a important market in consumer culture
  • Blakie - Elderly are have role models in the media and are portrayed as looking glamourous and positivley
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Realist Methodology

  • Social science operates in open systems where causual mechanisms underlie regularities
  • Causual Mechanism - A simple idea or possible cause of something
  • Use whatever works best, both quantitative and qualitative
  • Research cannot be value free but should be as objective as possible
  • Methodological Pluralism - using a mixture of methods to research an area best

Bryman - Methodological pluralism (mixed methods) useful because:

  • The idea of triangulation - Differs to mixed methods but can be used for greater confidence
  • Qualitative research facilitates quantitative research - BHPS used interviews to clarify questions
  • Quantitative research facilitates qualitative research - used to find a sutible sample
  • Filling in gaps
  • The problem of generality - Using quant to make the study more generalisable
  • Solving puzzle - Working out unexpected results e.g Brymans study on shop smiles

JRF - Used pilot studies, 9 focus group, surveys, 200 questionaire, respondant validation.

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Sampling methods

Random - Everyone has equal chance, e.g selecting numbers

  • CSEW - Post office files
  • Labour Force Survey- Private household list

Stratified random sampling - Division into groups to ensure it is representative

  • BHPS - Used 40000 sample size which was representative of UK
  • Phillipson - 62% female to represent the 62% over 70 population

Snowball - Getting a sample through contacts

  • Venkatesh - JT
  • Taylor - Criminal underworld

Purposeful - Find a sample that best fit purpose (not representative)

  • Venkatesh
  • Skeggs
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Value-free debate

Objectivity - the conclusions of the investigation are independant of social identity of the researcher

  • Weber - Value relevence ; sociologists choose what to study based on what they see as important
  • Interpretivist - Direct observation may be the only way of seeing a valid world
  • Phillips - Researcher values influence method and data
  • Gouldner - Researchers should be open about their values so others can take it into account
  • Lyotard (postmodern)- no way of being objective
  • Postman - (postmodern) stop seeing it as scientific and instead just comment on and criticise the behaviour of people
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