This is characterized through the existence of uneven opportunities and rewards for distinct social positions or statuses in a group or society. It has structured and recurrent patterns of uneven distributions of wealth, goods, rewards, opportunities and punishments.
There are two major ways to measure social inequality: inequality of opportunities and inequality of conditions. Inequality of conditions refers to the uneven distribution of wealth income and material goods. Housing, for instance, is an inequality of conditions along with the homeless and those living in housing projects sitting at bottom of the hierarchy whereas those living within multi-million dollar mansions sitting at the top.
Inequality of chance refers to the uneven distribution of "life chances" across individuals. It is reflected in measures like health status, level of education and treatment by the criminal justice system. For instance, why do upper-class white males typically have more chances for success and wealth compared to lower-class black males, who have a higher opportunity of landing in the criminal justice system?
Two Main Theories of Social Inequality:
There are two major views of social inequality in sociology. One view aligns along with the functionalist theory and the other aligns along with conflict theory.
Functionalist theorists believe that inequality is desirable and inevitable and plays vital function in society. In society important positions need more training and therefore should receive more rewards. Social stratification and Social inequality, according to this view, lead to a meritocracy depends on ability.
Conflict theorists, conversely, view inequality as resulting from groups along with power dominating less powerful groups. They believe that social variation prevents and hinders societal progress as those in power repress the powerless people to maintain the status quo. Positions are significant so long as those in power suppose them to be significant.
How Sociologists Study Social Inequality:
Sociologically, we can learn social inequality as a social difficulty that encompasses three dimensions: ideological supports, objective structural conditions, and social reforms.
Objective structural conditions involve things which can be objectively measured and which contribute to social inequality. Sociologists study how things such as educational attainment, wealth, poverty, occupations & power lead to social inequality among individuals & groups of people.
Ideological supports involve things which support the social inequality present in a society. Sociologists study how things like public policies, formals laws, dominant values, etc. both lead to social inequality & help sustain social inequality.
Social reforms are thing like protest groups, organized resistance & social movements. Sociologists study how these social reforms help change or shape social inequality which exists in a society. What effect do they have, how long does alter last (is it a temporary modification or does it lead to permanent change), and how are these social reforms begun and organized?
Forms of social inequality:
One of the main forms of social inequality is in the form of gender. The emphasis on gender variation is borne out of the deepening division in the role assigned to female and male in all spheres of human endeavor, specifically in the political, economic and educational spheres. Women are under-represented in political activities and decision making procedure.
It has been observed that world issues such as illiteracy, HIV/AIDS, and poverty are experienced more by women than men. Girls face troubles to access good education, which restricts their opportunities to succeed. It is vital to increase enrollment rates in school for girls and make sure they have stable, safe and good quality education. Women are faced with wage discrepancies and differences compared to what men earn.
This is the result of hierarchical social distinctions among races of people in a society, usually which are designated depend on characteristics like skin color & other physical characteristics or an individual's place of culture or origin. Unequal treatment and opportunities among racial groups is usually the outcome of some races being considered superior to others. Stereotyping is while people form assumptions regarding the tendencies and social characteristics of certain social groups, frequently including ethnic groups. Content on newspapers, television and the internet has a great role in promoting preconceived notions of race. It along with xenophobia and other forms of discrimination continue to take place in societies along with the rise of globalization.
The caste system is a kind of social inequality that primarily exists in India, as well as Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Korea, and many cultures of Africa. Caste may be based on one’s occupation (functional) or depend on origin or by birth (hereditary).
Age discrimination is described as the unfair treatment in recruitment, promotions or privileges due to the age of a person. Age discrimination is primarily discussed as concerning the work environment; though that is not always the case. Ageism is discriminating and stereotyping against individuals or groups due to their age. It is a set of attitudes, beliefs norms, and values utilized to justify age based discrimination, prejudice and subordination.
Class can be described as a large category of similarly ranked people located in a hierarchy and distinguished from other great categories in the hierarchy by such traits as education, occupation, income, and wealth. Members of distinct classes have varied access to capital resources, influencing their placement in the social-stratification system. Take schooling for instance, middle-class families have more money to spend on schooling, by using it for such costs as private tutoring, schooling or college payments.
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