Soc 1000 Final Exam

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Positivist

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A. Engman; Intro to Sociology @ U of M

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91 Terms
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Positivist

Assumes that social experiences exist independent of observers and are out there waiting to be discovered

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Interpretivists

Emphasise the importance of subjectivity and insiders understanding; do not believe in a universal social reality

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Abstract Experience

Experience that happens in your mind

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Overgeneralization

When you focus on exceptions and accept them as universal truths or rules

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Sociological Imagination

Connects the most private parts of our lives with the totality of societies where we live

To use the sociological imagination is to study the relationship between personal troubles and public issues

Emphasises the co-constitution of individual people and the societies in which they are embedded

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Ideology

Systems of thought that influence us to perceive the world in particular ways, and to make particular judgements and eventually choices about behaviour

Can be used to justify one's personal opinions and discount the opposition’s arguments

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Structure

How the social world is organised to elicit particular patterns of behaviour as people navigate the world practically (you can't change the location of a class by thinking about it, therefore your behaviour would be to go to where the class is)

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Societal Reproduction

When individuals behave in a way that is consistent with ideologies/structure of the society where they live, their behaviour reproduces the same structure and ideology

Without individuals, ideology and social structure would cease to exist

No matter which decisions individuals take (go with the flow, demand social change), they are responsible for the results of their decisions and actions

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Agency

The capacity for individuals to make their own decisions and take their own actions of their own free will

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Operationalization

When researchers translate concepts into measurable variables

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Sample

A subset of a population that is investigated (if we are using survey methods, then the sample is the subset of the population that actually took the survey)

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Generalizability

The extent to which observations about a sample can be reasonably assumed to represent a population as a whole

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Sampling Procedures

Random: each individual has an equal and random chance of being chosen

Representative: the sample is a reproduction of the population along particular demographic characteristics

Convenient: participants based on their availability

Snowball Sampling: past participants introduce future participants to the researcher, often the best way to research hard to access groups

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Types of Variables

Nominal: numbers are used to represent different conditions but the phenomenon is not quantitative. (EX: race, neighbourhood, marital status)

Ordinal: different values of the value can be ranked, but there is no way to measure the precise difference between ranked values (EX: likert scale)

Interval: difference between values are measurable but there is no true zero (EX: credit score)

Ratio: difference between values are measurable, and there exists a true zero (EX: number of siblings, income)

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Central Tendency:

Measures of central tendency attempt to give a quick picture of the content of one variable (mean, median, mode, proportion, range)

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Coding

The first step in the analysis process is having the interviews transcribed into a document

Researchers then search the text for salient (noticeable) themes, or “codes”

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Ethnography

The researcher embeds them self in the social milieu they wish to study; participant observation

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Informed Consent

The gold standard for ethics in social research is informed consent

This means that the research participants are informed of the aims of the study and of what they can expect as a research participant

Usually, informed consent involves participants signing a written contract stating that they agree to be part of a research project

Sometimes, written consent is not reasonable or practical to obtain. In such cases, verbal consent is sufficient

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Theorizing Observation

We may often come up against the argument that we should “let the facts speak for themselves”

If we are able to make systematic observations using sociological research methods, why do we need theory?

We need to think about how our assumptions influence the kinds of observations we are able to make using particular research methods

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Theory Laden Observation

Theory allows us to be explicit about the set of assumptions we are making when we analyse observations

ALL OBSERVATION INVOLVES ASSUMPTIONS

Being explicit about the assumptions we make (and why we are making them) in the research process improves research in multiple ways

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Ontology

Concerned with the nature of existence (or what exists)

Ontological assumptions: assumptions concerning what exists (what does and does not exist, and the nature of existence)

Ontological commitment: social forces exert real influence in the social world

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Epistemology

Concerns the nature of reliable knowledge; how do we know what we know? What counts as evidence?

Epistemological Commitments: The act of making up one's mind, or the state of having made it up, about a fact

Epistemological assumptions: Concern the validity of observation / evidence / data

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Methodological Pluralism

Originating epistemological commitment in sociology

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Karl Marx

Wrote before the institutionalisation of sociology

An early example of an “interdisciplinary thinker”

Formally an economist, but also considered philosophy, history, etc.

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Marxism

The core of the human experience is the collective production of our means of subsistence from nature

What are the material conditions of life? (economic structure)

How do our material conditions determine our behaviour and our life trajectories?

All societies, according to Marx, have a mode of production, an economic system that serves to organize the collective production of our means of subsistence

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Mode of Production

The system by which people collectively produce their means of subsistence

Capitalist Mode Of Production:

Means of production (MoP) Relations of production (RoP) (a) Owning class / bourgeois (b) Working class / proletariat

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Social Change

Dialectical tension is responsible both for: historical change within some consistent MoP historical change from one MoP to another (revolution)

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Max Weber

Influenced by the work of Marx

Thought Marx did not pay enough attention to how the material conditions of life were understood by members of society, and how this understanding influenced the character of society

Distinguishes between CLASS and STATUS Class describes a person’s relationship to the economy Status describes a person’s relationship to the “cultural order”

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Verstehen Sociology

The social world cannot simply be described, it must be interpreted

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Durkheim

Aimed toward a scientific understanding of society The functionalist perspective abstracts away from individual experience

Provided one of the first functionalist analyses of society

Solidarity: the glue that keeps society together

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Functionalism

Whereas Weber leaned in to people’s understanding of the social institutions in which they were embedded, Durkheim argued that the true purpose of social institutions is often opaque to the people who inhabit them

According to functionalism, social institutions may have features that are not part of their explicit design, that nevertheless serve to keep society together (or to facilitate its reproduction

Functionalism is concerned with relationships between different social institutions

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Function of Crime

Lay theory of crime (conservative): crime is an undesirable or pathological phenomenon caused by individual moral failure

Lay theory of crime (liberal / progressive): crime is an undesirable or pathological phenomenon caused by social problems (poverty, lack of education, unemployment, etc.)

Crime (and criminal punishment) serve to produce an event that strengthens the sentiment of pro-sociality that governs social life

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Racial Wage

White working class and freed slaves could work together, however they do not because the white working class values their status in society

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Pierre Bordieu

Most influential theorist in contemporary academic sociology

Incorporates elements of all of the classical thinkers we have learned about (especially Marx and Durkheim)

Provides a theory of how structure, culture and individual agency interact to reproduce social institutions

Symbolic violence; exclusive spaces

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Habitus

Habitus is a social agent’s way of being in the world, is produced via socialization in early childhood

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Field

For Bourdieu, a field is an arena of social activity

Some fields that Bourdieu discusses are; The economy The field of cultural production (art) The education system

Every field has its own unspoken logic

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Capital

Bourdieu borrows the term “capital” from Marx, who uses it to describe the value that capitalists invest in ownership of the means of production

According to Bourdieu, this “economic capital” is only one form of capital in society that people use to position themselves within various fields

Another form of capital is “cultural capital”: Ability to play an instrument, knowledge about literature or fine art, etc.

Basically, the ability to be evaluated as someone who “knows what they are talking about” when it comes to culture

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Mobility

Sometimes, talent and/or hard work really does produce upward social mobility

In order to succeed, people who do not possess the habitus that is native to a field will have to work twice as hard, as they must not only achieve the milestones associated with success, but also correct for their own natural attitude

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Culture

A shared system of symbols and their corresponding meaning(s)

Behavioural practices that are common to a community and that are invested with particular meanings

Culture = shared symbolic representation

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Symbolic Representation

We often orient towards objects or situations as if their meaning is an objective feature (EX. The value of money, the law)

People must understand and be part of the same culture to understand the difference between the two

EX: “one more book” with middle finger = 3 year old does not understand the meaning of the middle finger

We orientate towards the meanings of gestures/phrases rather than the gesture/phrase itself without the meaning behind it

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Social Construction

Social construction occurs when shared culture creates a social object towards which people orient as if its reality were objective

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Theory of Culture in Action (Ann Swidler)

Settled Culture Structure and culture are mutually reinforcing In “settled times,” culture takes the form of traditions and “common sense” In such times, culture has only a weak direct effect on individual behaviour (behaviour is determined primarily by structure)

Unsettled Culture Structure becomes out-of-sync with existing traditions In “unsettled times,” culture increasingly takes the form of novel ideology (a new story about the existing structure) In such times, culture creates new strategies for action, and propels people to act in ways that might upend their existing habits and traditions

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Ann Swidler

In settled times, when structure and its existing culture (i.e. its existing narrative account of itself) allow for relatively easy social reproduction, new ideologies are unlikely to take hold and motivate novel courses of behaviour for individuals

In unsettled times, however, people find that they can no longer rely on existing culture to explain their experience (or, in other words, their immediate experience begins to negate the existing cultural story)

In such times, culture (rather than structure) becomes the thing that motivates action and thereby moves history

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Culture & Agency

Episodes of being unsettled → making decisions to return oneself to settled times/states Culture = the way society acts/is Agency = people’s/society’s reaction to the culture

The idea of culture as “shared meaning” suggests that culture is monolithic

Swider argues that different cultural interpretations are simultaneously maintained

People have access to a “cultural toolkit” that they reference in unsettled moments to make sense of their experience

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Subculture

In a society where culture is primarily transmitted via mass media, one’s interaction with culture becomes about conformity vs. deviance

A subculture is a cultural group within a larger culture

Subcultures generally take a negative position relative to the dominant culture

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Modern vs. Post-Modern Culture

Modern Culture: Dominant culture vs. subculture

Post-Modern Culture: Culture becomes increasingly fragmented

More difficult to discern what is “dominant culture” and what is “subculture”

Greater diversity of meanings that people can attach themselves to in unsettled moments

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Nature vs. Nurture

Biological determinism ( “nature” limit position) Genetics and the biological systems they produce imbue individuals with particular qualities: temperament, intelligence, behaviour, etc.

Empiricism (“nurture” limit position) People’s experience is what accounts for the way that they develop

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Socialization

We can think about exposure to all socially meaningful knowledge as being analogous to exposure to language

Socialization is the process by which people learn to function in social life and become aware of themselves as they interact with others

“learning to function in social life” means different things for different social groups

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Primary Socialization

The process of acquiring the basic skills needed to function in society during childhood, usually in the context of the family

EX: Language, Rules of social interaction, Sense of self

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Secondary Socialization

Explicit and implicit socialization that occurs outside the context of a child’s primary socialization environment (which is usually the family)

In Canadian society, the most important vehicle is the school system

Secondary socialization at school occurs via two distinct sources of social knowledge; Authority figures & Peer groups

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Peer Group Socialization

In later childhood and throughout adulthood, people also experience socialization within peer groups

Peer groups are groups of people who are similar in age and social status

Within peer groups, teenagers and young adults collectively process and engage with the social knowledge they receive from primarily socialization (and from the secondary socialization they are exposed to via authority figures)

Within the context of an affirming peer group, teenagers and young adults often feel comfortable challenging or rejecting aspects of their accumulated social knowledge

This can result in “deviance” from social norms, including dress and other aspects of presentation, behaviour, and beliefs

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Social Interaction

The micro-level encounters between individuals, Responsible for early socialization

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Stages of Social Developments

Imitation (infancy and toddlerhood) (EX:Parent sticks out their tongue → baby sticks out their tongue)

Role-playing (pre-school) (EX: “playing house”, “playing doctor”)

Games that necessitate understanding multiple roles / perspectives simultaneously (school age children)

Internalization of the “generalized other” (maturity) Internalization of an archetypal social role that one seeks to embody through behaviour At this stage, individuals become socially mature

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Role

A “role” is analogous to the roles that actors take on in plays or films: they are prescribed ways of interacting that are conditioned by a particular social time and space

Every role has particular expectations and acceptable behaviours built into it

Social interaction, for Goffman, occurs as much between “roles” as it does between the individuals who inhabit those roles

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Setting

Human interaction is conditioned by the character of the space in which it takes place

Goffman notes that roles often have both a “frontstage” and a “backstage”

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Frontstage

Front stage activities involve the coordination of roles to present a certain kind of interactive experience to an “audience” (individuals who are not part of the construction and reproduction of the setting)

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Backstage

The backstage is also a “setting,” people also inhabit roles while backstage

In the backstage, actors coordinate to produce the situation of the frontstage

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Networks

One way to assess the objective character of some feature of society is by observing how actors, organizations, and institutions are networked

A network is a set of social individuals that are linked by communicative acts; Economic exchange Friendship Employment relationships Family relationships

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Node

An individual point of contact in a network

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Dyad

A social relationship between two nodes

A dyad is the most basic unit of network structure

Takes two to make, but only one to die

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Network Analysis

Number of nodes Number of connections Centrality Path distance

Network analysis reveals the objective structure of a social group, without necessitating any analysis of the content of interaction

Black Swan event: EX: stock market crash can have an influence on political views

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Organizations

Collectivities characterized by structure that encourage patterns in individual action

In the context of an organization, the structure of the network is often concrete, such that the network structure becomes independent of the individuals who occupy the network

Organizational culture: The structure of an organization can be described with reference to its objective features

It is important to remember, however, that organizations are always also cultural entities

Culture influences the kinds of communicative acts that nodes in a network engage in

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Institutions

Institutions are made up of multiple organizations that are formally networked

For example, the criminal justice system involves multiple organizations, all of which have their own organized networks

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Institutionalization

Institutionalization is the process by which networks which are at first informal become formally organized, and formally recognized

Institutionalization is both structural and cultural

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Social Capital

Social capital: the networks or connections that people have

Increased network centrality = increased social capital

BUT social capital is not only about connections, but about the quality of connections

People draw on their own social capital when they deploy their networks for some benefit (for example, asking for a favour)

Quantity of weak ties = ability to find a job

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Institutional Change

Unlike informal networks, institutions are resistant to change

Weber: “the iron cage of bureaucracy”

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Path Dependence

When networks are institutionalized, they often exhibit path dependence, which occurs when one action (or a series of actions), sets an individual or organization down a “path” form which it becomes increasingly costly to deviate

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Race

Social categorization based on some physical characteristic

Race is something that we see because it is socially meaningful

There are many non-racial physical differences between individuals that are not signified as fundamental social categories

To say that race is a social construction is not to say that race is “not real” – it is real because it is socially meaningful, and has measurable social consequences

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Ethnicity

Shared culture

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Racialization

The process through which physical differences become signified as important social categories

Contemporary racial categorization is rooted in two historical trajectories: slavery, and colonialism

This widely pervasive cultural system of categorization did not dematerialize with the abolition of slavery in North America

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White Supremacy

The socio-cultural nexus of social institutions, cultural ideologies, and individual actors that advantage white people (both individually and collectively) and disadvantage people who are not white

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W. E.B. DuBois

Wrote both about the subjective experience of racialization as well as the socio-political position of Black Americans in the aftermath of the civil war (both macro and micro-level analysis)

Work focuses on the experiences of Black Americans, but has been used by a wide variety of race scholars to theorize different cases

Theorised experience of post-civil war Black Americans

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The Souls of Black Folk (W.E.B. DuBois)

Character of racialized consciousness

Failure of emancipation to grant true freedom to freed slaves

Program of self actualization

(p. 127) Black Americans are “born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world – a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world.”

Du Bois’ concept of the veil describes the inability of escaping racial categorization for non-whites

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Double Consciousness

Black Americans experience double-consciousness

Consciousness of one’s self; one’s own self-understanding

Consciousness of how one is perceived, both by white individuals and by the dominant white culture more generally

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The Veil

Slavery → Suffrage → Education

At each impasse, political freedom is negated No attempt on the part of the wider culture to deal with the necessary consequences of the previous historical era

As a result, no ability in wider culture to recognize Black Americans as individuals separated from their racial category

EX: Barack Obama can’t escape being the “first black president” (can’t discuss him without mentioning that) = the veil which prevents him from being recognized as an individual

Whiteness acts as an open curtain = whiteness is recognized immediately as the default, lets the white individual be recognized as an individual

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Imperialism

Imperialism is a political program that advocates a state’s expansion into novel territory via military force, diplomacy, or a combination of these efforts

Goals of imperialism may vary, but economic exploitation of novel territory is universal

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Colonialism

Military / political control of a colonized nation by a colonizing nation Economic exploitation

Neo-imperialism / neo-colonialism: economic exploitation without direct political or military control

Settler colonialism: While all examples of colonialism involve some degree of settlement by the colonizing power, the colonization of some states involves the permanent settlement of colonizers and their decedents

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Decolonization

The process of removing colonists and colonial structures from formerly colonized nations

Self-determination for formerly colonized peoples

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Colonial Ideology

As with slavery, the cultural/ideological justification for colonialism is an ideology that systematically dehumanizes colonial subjects

Franz Fanon: colonial ideology always defines colonial subjects as simultaneously barbaric and pre-cultural à not fully human

Bifurcated orientation towards the colonial subject on the part of the dominant culture

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Critical Race Theory

Critical race theory is a body of scholarship that originated in legal studies

Describes how racial and ethic prejudice is embedded in the structure of social institutions; therefore, race-based discrimination persists even when social actors are “not racist” (i.e. when the ideologies that served to justify slavery and colonial ideology are no longer widely accepted)

Institutional racism: occurs when organizational policies and practices systematically discriminate against people of some racial group

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Patriarchy

Describes gender-based inequality, and the structures and ideologies that sustain that inequality

Political inequality and exclusion Economic inequality Compulsory domesticity Sexual violence

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Women's Movement

First Wave Feminism Canada: late eighteenth century – mind 1920s Goals: sufferage, basic property rights

Second Wave Feminism 1960s-1980s Goals: bodily autonomy, freedom from sexual oppression, political and economic equality with men “The problem that has no name”

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Feminisms

Liberal feminism: Liberal feminism: women should be free to make choices; all social arenas open to men should also be open to women

Socialist / Marxist feminism: women’s oppression is fundamentally related to their position in capitalist economies; women create economic value that is not part of the formal economy

Essentialist feminism: women and men are fundamentally different; women’s oppression stems from the systematic devaluing of traits that are specific to women

Post-structural feminism: gender is an ideological construct whose performance oppresses members of both genders

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The Double Shift

Even though their labour market participation has risen steadily since the 1970s, women continue to perform the majority of unpaid labour in the home

Childcare, cooking, cleaning: labour that is necessary to achieve daily social reproduction

Women are responsible for performing the majority of this labour, both when it is unpaid (i.e. in the context of a family) and as low- wage, low-prestige, often precarious employees

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