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As a distinction from social inequality, “social differentiation is described as socially anchored differences that are not (necessarily) associated with advantages and disadvantages, and thus not with asymmetries in the conditions of action” (Sloga, Berger, and Powell, 2009, p.15). However, in “some societies and certain historical contexts, social differentiations can become the basis for social disadvantages by then becoming asymmetrical after all” under these conditions (unequal resources for action associated with social relations). Then also “social differentiation, becomes social inequality” (cf. Sloga, Berger, and Powell 2009, p. 15). Social differentiation will always exist and with it different social positions and categories. Not all differences between people become social differentiation or social inequalities. For example, there are shorter and taller people, those with blue or brown eyes, or people with long, short, much, little or no hair, etc. These “diversities” only become socially relevant as social differentiation when they become “socially relevant in the sense of systematic structuring” (cf. Sloga, Berger, and Powell, 2009, p. 16). As an example of a phenomenon of “diversity” which becomes social inequality, Sloga, Berger and Powell cite “body weight” “it no longer seems to matter how much you weigh”. Thus, severe obesity leads to disadvantage in terms of access to employment, through “justifications such as lack of attractiveness,” being sick more often, or “lack of self-control” (2009, p.16).”
“Determinants of social inequality are social characteristics of persons (e.g. gender, educational level or social origin), which define the affiliations of social groups and in turn form the basis for advantages and disadvantages in certain “conditions of action and life”. These characteristics (social categories) are distinguished between “attributed (ascribed) and acquired (achieved)”. “Ascribed characteristics/determinants” of social inequality cannot be influenced by individuals. “Acquired characteristics”, on the other hand, arise through the individual’s own actions and can therefore also be changed. Both determinants are, despite their “biological appearance”, characteristics made by individuals and therefore socially constructed (cf. Sloga, Berger, Powell, 2009, p.17).”
Open text question:
Please take a closer look on the Power Flower Handout and write down 3 attributed and 3 aquired charasteristics“ determinants.
This response will be reviewed and graded after submission.
Please fill in the gap with the correct terms.
“By “ , we mean unequal opportunities of social groups in accessing social positions or resources for action (e.g., educational, labor market, or income positions) due to ascribed characteristics (such as social origin, gender, or ethnicity)”. “In this context, inequalities based on acquired characteristics are not referred to as inequalities of opportunity” (Sloga, Berger, and Powell, 2009, p. 21).
In contrast, “ , refers to advantages and disadvantages that result from the possession of valuable goods or access to desirable positions” (e.g., unequal incomes, working conditions, standards of living, etc.). So it is about the “unequal distribution of living conditions and resources for action” (cf. Sloga, Berger and Powell 2009, pp. 21- 22).”