Shared Flashcard Set


Intro to Sociology: Exam 2
stratification, gender, race, class
Undergraduate 1

Additional Sociology Flashcards







  • a system of social inequality
  • the unequal distribution of power and resources in and through social structure
  • resources = medium thru which power is exercised
  • power = transformative capacity
  • how much power & resources you have based on who you know and what they have
  • not individualized & not cultural



  • system of beliefs that guide action
  • ex: American Dream
  • beliefs = linked and flexible
  • action = personal & cultural/societal (the way we organize our society)



  • Antonio Gramsci --> if society is so unequal, why don't people revolt?
  • domination persists thru a combination of coercion/force and consent of the oppressed
  • "we participate in our own oppression"
  • b/c socialization processes that have taught us stratification is natural and just


Fuctionalist Theories

  • if and when inequalities exist, it serves a purpose/function
  • ex: why doctors paid so much - b/c they went thru so much schooling - most talented


Conflict Theories

  • when there are scarce resources, conflicts will ensue
  • existing dominant groups will organize society to reproduce their interests/positions

Economic Stratification and the Production of Social Class:



  • author of Communist Manifesto
  • all social relations are governed by ownership of means of production
  • m.o.p.:
  1. raw goods
  2. machinery & other technologies that turn raw goods into finished goods (products)
  • capital = combo of 1 & 2
  • under a capitalist society:
    • primary incentive of economic activity is to make a profit
    • m.o.p. mostly owned by private interests who compete w/ each other (for access to labor)
  • two classes created:
    • bourgeoisie = owning class, own m.o.p.
    • proletariat = working class, don't own m.o.p., have to sell their labor to survive
  • thus inherent conflict btwn two classes (conflict theorist)

Economic Stratification and the Production of Social Class:



  • wanted a new theory b/c not everyone fits into Marx's 2 classes
  1. "class"
    • socio-economic status (S.E.S)
    • measure of person's income, wealth, education level & occupation
    • quantifiable
  2. status group
    • group an individual belongs to baed on shared honor and prestige
  3. power
    • ability to transform what exists into something else
  • intersectionality = diff. vectors of stratification intersect to create distinct opportunites & disadvantages


  • Paris Hilton - not a lot of personal wealth but lots of fame
  • plumber, electrician, mortician - high salaries but low social status
  • president - high power but low income

Economic Stratification and the Production of Social Class:



  • expand understanding of "capital" - put into new contexts
    • capital - resource can be used to create profit & advantage & power
  • 4 types of capital - crucial in producing S.E.S.
  1. economic capital
  2. social capital
    • the value of who you know/networks
  3. cultural capital
    • embodied knowledge (habitus) of the values, norms, & behaviors of a particular group of people (esp. class)
    • allows you to be accepted into that class
    • notion of *taste* (good,bad)
  4. symbolic capital
    • value of symbols that we ahve access to
    • ex: military uniform, PhD, designer clothes
    • cannot exist on its own (exists in relation to other 3)

Sex vs. Gender



  • division in the human population according to reproductive role
    • sexual organs
    • chromosomes - hormones
  • male/female binary  - continuum (where to draw that line - social definition of biology)
  • "biological"
  • social?
    • intersexed (hermaphrodites) - up to 1% every year
    • doctors/parents decide sex at birth

Sex vs. Gender



  • socially constructed characteristics, roles associated with a person's sex
  • social
  • result of socialization (anticipatory socialization)
    • ongoing and constant
    • thru impression management and symbolic interactions
  • *gender as a performance*
    • an ascribed status - perform in symbolic interactions - sanctions (positive/negative) - becomes achieved status


Gender/Sexual Stratification

  • processes thru which power & resources are unqually distributed on the basis of sex & gender
  • based upon an ideology of inherent, "natural" difference btwn the sexes
    • justifies the organization of society in ways that allow women less power & fewer resources


Gendered Wage Gap

  • women earn 80% in 2009 to every $1.00 earned by men
  • "breadwinner wage"
    • assumed men are primary earner & women are supplementary earner
  • confidentiality about wages
  • "wildcard"
    • pregnancy
    • emotional stability
    • employment history interupted by family forming & caring
      • less likely to get promotions/extra earning
      • fewer opportunities
  • women over-represented in "caring" professions
    • nurses, teachers, flight attendants, secretary
    • paid less b/c seems natural, easy, no training needed


Gendered/Sexual Division of Labor

  • men & women perform different kinds of work, and their work is unequally valued

Gendered/Sexual Division of Labor


Productive Labor vs. Reproductive Labor



Productive Labor:

  • work to make and distribute goods & services
  • usually outside the home & usually paid a wage
  • dominated by men

Reproductive Labor:

  • work that reproduces the labor
    • ex. cleaning, cooking/food prep, education, socialization
  • usually done in the home, not paid, less valued
  • dominated by women


Sociological Study of Sexuality

  • Prior to mid-1950's
    • (deviant) sexuality thought of as a sin
    • studied by Psychologists
    • deviant sexuality as a psych. disturbance
  • 1960's
    • homosexuality - labeling theory
  • 1980's
    • look @ all kinds of sexuality
    • all sexuality (desires & identity) is produced thru social structure

Sociological View of Sexuality



  • social constructionist
  • not hormones, natural - society constructs desire (both normal & deviant)
  • wants to refute idea of SEXUAL ESSENTIALISM (sexuality is rooted in biology, "natural," exist outside of social forces)
  • sexuality has changed over time and across cultures (extreme thru out)
    • acts ≠identity, activo/pasivo
  • desire --> action --> behavior (each stage is determined by greater social structure)


Rubin's 5 Axioms

  1. Sex Negativity
    • sex = bad
    • impure, improper, sinful, dangerous
    • positive in circumstance of procreation
    • therefore must be controlled
    • Rubin's counter argument - sex is like eating, sex needed for species survival
  2. Fallacy of Misplaced Scale
    • too much significance assigned to sexuality
  3. Hierarchical System of Sexual Value
    • social structure sets up to privilege those int eh center
    • center of hierarchy = married, hetero, procreative, vanilla are more highly valued than other sexual activities/practices
  4. Domino Theory of Sexual Peril
    • "slippery slope"
    • must police the boundaries of sexuality
    • restrictive social policies
  5. Lack Concept of Benign Sexual Variation
    • society does not have concept of wide acceptable sexual practices
    • as long as no one is hurt what does it matter?


How Rubin's Axioms are Structured into Society

  1. Economic Sanctions
    • tax benefits for married couples
    • shared insurance/ other benefits
    • gifts/money @ wedding
  2. Sex Laws
    • formal norms
  3. Other Laws & Bureaucratic Processes
    • listing marital status
  4. Labeling
    • 'slut,' 'whore'
    • primarily thru interactions
  5. Cultural Representations
    • media, pop culture



  • person's legal/political status in relationship to a nation-state (usually citizenship)



  • a group status based on shared cultural background usually linked to a geographic territory from which that group is now removed
  • often overlaps w/ nationality
  • only an ethnic identity when no longer living in the nation-state where those cultural practices originated
  • formed thru migration/displacement
  • issue of identity (ascribed vs. achieved status)
  • socially constructed



  • a socially constructed system of categorization that links perceived physical differences w/ talents, characteristics, & abilities
  • no genetic proof
  • taught to ignore huge commonalities & instead pick out tiny differences & assign value to those differences


Race: The Power of Illusion (Film)

  • How to argue against false racial statements:
    1. humans are genetically more similar than other species
      • penguins & fruit flies (look same to us but are genetically more diverse than us)
    2. understanding race is culturally specific/ learned ability (across cultural contexts)
    3. race is a social construction that varies across time & place
      • structured interactions
    • ex. "black peopole are faster runners"

*Non-Concordance Principle*

  • genes for skin color (racial features) develop independent from genes for ability
  • no link btwn race & ability


Theory of Racial Formation

  • "the sociohistorical process by which racial categories  are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed"


  • U.S. Census Bureau
    • up until 1930, Latinos considered white-Spanish speaking
    • 1930 - "Mexican" new racial category
    • 1940-1970 - back to white
    • 1980 - "Hispanic," Latino (term from people to go against Hispanic b/c Spain denotation)


  • 1890's-1920's - "Prerequisite Cases"
    • 20 Supreme Court cases to decide who can be categorized as white
    • mostly asians claiming they were white
    • creation of boundaries
    • form of racial formation
    • @ time only white & black people living in US could be US citizens


  • change in label or experience of those people
  • ex. Asian Americans
    • 1880's-1950's - "Yellow Peril"
    • post WWII - immigration laws changed towards Chinese b/c China was an ally during war
      • Chinese = *MODEL MINORITY* (willing assimilation into US culture)
      • after internment experience, Japanese dispersed from concentrated groups, stopped speaking Japanese


  • Mulato, Celtic, etc.
  • most labels from the late 1880's


Racial Projects

  • connect what race means w/ structure & everyday experience
  • link representation w/ structure
  • how do we talk about/represent/interpret race & structure our life around that understanding
  • helps to reproduce racial inequalities/creates structure (often thru symbolic interactions)
  • ex: realty - "good neighborhood"
  • *creates ideological justification of inequality* (belief systems rationalize actions


Examples of Racial Projects

  • Census: collection of data used for drawing of districts, creating new schools/hospitals, distribution of resources (welfare, projects)
    • two sides:
      1. get rid of races on census b/c helps to build racist system
      2. keep races b/c then see trends/patterns and can work to change it
  • Slaughter House:
    • racial ideas of Hispanics sort jobs - kill floor
    • "hispanics don't deserve better jobs, didn't help to build nation"
  • Adoption:
    • healthy white baby
    • less traumatic if adopting baby of same race
    • Hispanic/African American babies often stay in foster care system
Supporting users have an ad free experience!