Conflict Perspective Macrosociological perspective: different groups in society have conflicting self-interests, and the nature of the society is determined by the outcome of the conflict amongst their groups. Predominant approach today among sociologists specializing in race and ethnic relations. One group gains advantages by holding another group down.
Inter colonialism theory: the native people of the colony are assigned a status lower than that of the colonizers. The colonized groups are placed under the colonizing country’s control involuntarily. Different from other conflict theories of race and ethnic relations in one important regard – it focuses almost exclusively upon inequalities and conflicts that occur between (rather than in) racial groups. Split labor-market theory: lists three economic interest groups – employers, [owners of capital], higher-paid labor, and lower-paid labor. According to this theory, the majority-group members who hold the higher-paying jobs attempt to protect their position by demanding hiring discrimination against minorities. Majority-group workers demand and benefit from discrimination because it protects their favored position in the labor force. Marxist theory: racism exists mainly because it benefits the ruling economic class. Racial antagonisms are primarily a mechanism that is used by the owners of capital to divide the working class. Functionalist Perspective (order perspective/systems theory) Macrosociological perspective: any society takes its particular form because that form works well for the society, or helps to preserve the society, given its particular situation. Attributes racial and ethnic conflict and inequality largely to cultural differences among groups. Ethnocentrism [attitude in which each group considers its own values and ways of doing things to be the natural, right, and superior way] contributes to racial and ethnic inequalities, because each group thinks it is better than the others. Many functionalists prefer assimilation [a process whereby differences between groups are reduced so that the different groups share a common set of values and a common social structure. Assimilationists believe that as societies modernize, assimilation occurs and racial inequality tends to decrease because interdependency in society increases as society becomes more complex. Interactionist Perspective Microsociological perspective: the interpretation of reality can often be an important factor in determining the ultimate reality. The individual’s understanding of social reality depends in part on the content of the messages and situations he or she encounters and in part on how he or she interprets those messages and situations. Racial Group a category of people who (1) share some socially recognized physical characteristic [skin color or facial features] that distinguishes them from other such categories, and (2) are recognized by themselves and others as a distinct status group. Ethnic Group a category of people who are recognized as a distinct status group entirely on the basis of social or cultural criteria such as nationality or religion. There is no reliable way to identify a person’s ethnic group by his or her physical appearance. A crucial part of the definition of both racial and ethnic groups is that they must be socially recognized as distinct groups. Social Group a set of two or more people who interact regularly, share some common purpose, and have some structure of roles and statuses. Ascribed Status any status that a person receives through birth [race, sex, and family of origin]. Majority Group those in the advantaged or dominant positions. Minority Group those in disadvantaged or subordinate positions. Racism any attitude, belief, behavior, or social arrangement that has the intent or the ultimate effect of favoring one racial or ethnic group over another. Ideological Racism belief that one race or ethnic group is...
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