Inequality and Sociological Theory
The article addresses social class stereotyping embodied by wealthy populations and directed to low-income households and individuals in society. The author has discussed Aspects such as the perception of the competence and warmth of out-groups by in-class members. According to information from the reading, the wealth-endowed persons in society are often perceived as cold and competent by the low-income class members (Vázquez & Lois, 2020). Wealthy people are viewed as well-read, overpaid, and occupying important positions that require a high level of talent and education. The author also notes that the rich have their exclusive ideals about persons from low-income social classes who belong to out-groups, such as migrants, the unemployed, and the homeless. The wealthy view these social groups as being poorly-mannered, aggressive, unkempt, filthy, and under-educated. Additionally, society perceives people belonging to the “under-class” category as being mentally unstable, unable to afford decent dressing, aligned towards engaging in illegal behavior and having low self-confidence levels. Overall, the author analyzes the injustice perpetrated by social classes in society using the inequality approach.
The article does not give a positive perspective on how social groups and individuals address discrimination, inequality, stereotyping, and prejudice. According to the information provided, people belonging to the wealthy social class feel they are justified to discriminate and stereotype their counterparts from low-income social groups. Evidence from the article shows that this feeling is advanced by the notion that the rich have; “poor” people are in their condition because they are lazy, uneducated, filthy, and excessively warm and honest (Vázquez & Lois, 2020). Persons from low-income backgrounds also form a prejudice towards those who are endowed with wealth by ascertaining that they are cold, dishonest individuals who undermine those from lower classes in society. These two classes have internalized their stereotyped characteristics. They refuse to reach a truce, where one class, such as the low-income individuals, is unwilling to perceive the wealthy as capable of engaging in honest dealings.
The functionalism theory can be used to explain how inequality is practiced in society. This model perceives society as a whole system comprising elements that enhance the institution’s overall health. However, some society functions are more valuable than others, necessitating inequality (Veliz, 2017). The functionalism theory further asserts that the most capable individuals should fill these more essential aspects. However, the people available to execute the above duty are limited in quantity, necessitating an additional number be handpicked and trained extensively. This activity requires resources, such as effort, time, and finances, which enable the fashioning of qualified persons to fill the most lucrative opportunities in society.
Therefore, it is only reasonable that the people who fill the above positions be rewarded generously, as a significant investment was made to prepare them to occupy the most functional aspects of society. Inequality, which is necessary according to the functionalism theory, arises when people occupying positions in society are overpaid while their counterparts in low-income occupations are underpaid (Peterson, 2017). This perspective explains why doctors and lawyers are paid huge salaries while people in low positions, such as garbage collectors, are paid way less. These professionals are necessary for a society to function as a whole, but discriminating against one class over another is essential as they add more value to the community.
Peterson, E. (2017). Is economic inequality a problem? A review of the arguments. Social Sciences, 6(4). https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci6040147
Veliz, P. (2017). Functional theory of stratification. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, 1-3. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118430873.est0654
Vázquez, A., & Lois, D. (2020). Prejudice against members of a ridiculed working‐class group. British Journal of Social Psychology, 59(4), 992-1017. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12373
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Describe the type of inequality being addressed in the research article.
How do social institutions, society, or individual(s) in the article address inequality, prejudice, stereotype, or discrimination?
Analyze the evidence provided in the article. While describing your findings, demonstrate at least three sociological concepts: inequality, prejudice, stereotype, or discrimination.
Applying at least one appropriate sociological theory, explain the inequality and the process of how the inequality occurs in society.
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