Social Inequality

Spatial Inequality (SOC)

  • Residential segregation: poor neightborhoods (bad schools, high crime rate, poor healthcare, cheap housing) vs rich neighborhoods (good schools, low crime rate, good healthcare, expensive housing). Relocation is difficult both ways (poor people can't afford to relocate, rich people don't want to relocate), so segregation occurs.
  • Neighborhood safety and violence: poor neighborhoods have high crime rates.
  • Environmental justice (location and exposure to health risks): poor neighborhoods are cheap due to factors such as pollution, crime rate, lower access to quality healthcare, crowded conditions. Poor people can't afford expensive housing, so they reside here and are exposed to more health risks. Infectious disease rates are higher in people of lower socioeconomic status.

Social Class (SOC)

  • Aspects of social stratification
    • Social class and socioeconomic status: social class = your background, status = your current situation. Eg: a homeless person who just won the lottery comes from a low social class, but is now of high socioeconomic status. A millionaire who just went bankrupt comes frome a high social class, but is now of a low socioeconomic status.
    • Class consciousness and false consciousness: class consciousness = awareness of your class and the interests of your class as a whole. False consciousness = awareness of yourself and your interests only. The communist revolution is based on promoting class consciousness of the lower class.
    • Cultural capital and social capital
      • Cultural capital: knowledge, skills, education.
      • Social capital: connections.
      • Economic capital: money and property.
    • Social reproduction: transmission of social inequalities from one generation to the next. Eg: poor families give birth to kids in poor neighborhoods, with less access to education and opportunities, and they grow up to be poor also.
    • Power, privilege, and prestige
      • Power = control over other people
      • Privilege = perks
      • Prestige = reputation, how much respect people have of you
    • Intersectionality (e.g., race, gender, age): intersectionality = the study of having more than one of racisim, ageism, sexism. Eg: the unique experience of being a black woman examined by black feminism rather than mainstream feminism.
    • Socioeconomic gradient in health: inequalities in healthcare exists. The lower socioeconomic class has worse health than the upper class.
    • Global inequalities: developed vs underdeveloped nations. These inequalities are reinforced by unfair trade practices in globalization.
  • Patterns of social mobility
    • social mobility = moving up/down in the socioeconomic ladder
    • Intergenerational and intragenerational mobility: intergenerational = changes from parent to kid. Intragenerational = changes within your life time.
    • Vertical and horizontal mobility: vertical mobility = moving up and down the socioeconomic ladder. Horizontal mobility = changing jobs within your own socioeconomic class
    • Meritocracy: advancing the socioeconomic ladder based on merit and achievement.
  • Poverty
    • Relative and absolute poverty
      • Relative poverty = being poor compared to most people around you.
      • Absolute poverty = being poor such that your basic needs are not met (food, shelter, clothing, water).
    • Social exclusion (segregation and isolation) = excluding/blocking off someone or a group of people from society's opportunities, rights and resources that other groups have access to.

Health Disparities (SOC) (e.g., class, gender, and race inequalities in health)

  • Top 5 mortalities in the US: heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory (COPD), stroke, accidents
  • Class: lower class have poorer health in general.
  • Gender: women live longer, but suffer more non-life-threatening illnesses (arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression). Men die younger, from accidents and serious illnesses (heart disease, cancer, COPD, diabetes). Men are also less likely to seek help and are less compliant.
  • Race
    • Whites: cystic fibrosis, skin cancer
    • Blacks: sickle cell disease, sarcoidosis. Also more likely to have diabetes, stroke. They also develop hypertension earlier.
    • Asians: stomach cancer (nitrates in food preservatives)

Healthcare Disparities (SOC) (e.g., class, gender, and race inequalities in health care)

  • class: lower class have poorer access to healthcare and are more likely to be uninsured
  • gender: women are more likely to seek help and see the doctor on a regular basis. LGBT are less likely to seek care due to fear of discrimination.
  • race: blacks and Hispanics are less access to healthcare and have poorer healthcare outcomes.