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Why Inequality Anth111 SPR16

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Julie Jenkins

on 23 April 2018

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Transcript of Why Inequality Anth111 SPR16

Malay Factory Workers
Why Does Inequality Persist?
"Functionalist" perspective:
inequality provides motivation for people to worker harder and take on more challenging (& socially valuable) roles
& it ensures the most able individuals are recruited into these roles
Is wealth the only motivating force?
Are the most socially valuable roles adequately compensated and rewarded in terms of wealth & prestige?
Does value & prestige correspond to wage level?
Does this explanation account for inequality structured around race, ethnicity, and gender?
"Conflict" perspective:
inequality maintains a power relationship between:
those who own the "means of production", technology, land, corporations, capital
and workers
"elite"/bourgeoisie can use power & assets to maintain control over workers & profits
reflects the degree to which workers are exploited
Are the 'elite' only exploitative? Do they not have socially valuable occupations?
How is inequality maintained? How is it reproduced?
--ideologies (ideas that maintain the status quo)
--patterns of behavior
--devaluation of labor
--debt & the redistribution of wealth
-How people respond to inequality and negotiate power relations-- "weapons of the weak"
Lions (& other undocumented Workers)
Garment Workers (& other migrant workers)
Dancehall youth

-- Japanese & American owned electronic factories
--workers young, unmarried women
"they want us to raise production. This is what we sometimes challenge. The workers want fair treatment, as for instance in relation to wages and other matters. We feel that in this situation there are many issues to dispute over with the management...with our wages so low we feel as though we have been tricked or forced".
factory (& male) discipline & surveillance
deterioration of eyesight
headaches, nausea, dizziness, skin irritation
lead poisoning, kidney failure, breast cancer
spirit possessions occur when taboos and moral conduct are intentionally or inadvertently broken
factory spaces as "dirty", esp. toilet
unmarried women in close contact with male managers
spirit possessions one way to rebel without punishment against transgressing norms that women should be silent, obedient, deferential
“Structural violence is one way of describing social arrangements that put individuals and populations in harm’s way… The arrangements are structural because they are embedded in the political and economic organization of our social world; they are violent because they cause injury to people …" Paul Falmer
structural violence is "exerted systematically, indirectly, by everyone who belongs to a certain social order - hence the discomfort these ideas provoke in a moral economy still geared to pinning praise or blame on individual actors" _Paul Falmer
Need "an honest of account of who wins, who loses and what weapons are used"
may be physical violence
may be in the form of ideologies
may be in the form of institutions & structures that restrict access to resources & power
Full transcript