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Structures of Racial and Gender Inequality

By loestb Mar 07, 2012 865 Words
Structures of Racial and Gender Inequality
Different theorists have used different things to look at race and gender inequalities. Gilman looked at evolutionary theory; Du Bois looked at cultural oppression. Chafetz’s theory is kind of a response to Gilman’s theory. Chafetz looks at the idea structural, there are structures working and this organization also keeps women at a disadvantaged. The individuals are not as important as the structures. Wilson see’s race the same way Chafetz sees gender, through structural eyes. Two components to racism are; belief and practices. Both of these theorists use Mark’s theory of the economy.

Marx’s theories had mostly to do with capitalism. The dominated because they used their power to exploit workers and so on. Exploitation is the difference between what is produced and what is paid for. Exploitation is limitless. Race was exploited for a profit. Wilson thought that Marx’s theory explained the racial-caste system. Production, aristocracy dominated both economic and political life. Capitalist class benefit more.

In the 1930’s there was a shift from paternal racial-caste system to a more class-based labor market. Jim Crow law helped keep blacks out of the privileged few. In the North they had a bunch of race riots. Race relations are mainly about split labor market theory. This theory talks about how everyone needs to compete against one another regardless of race. Exploitation was high because of putting blacks against whites. Split labor theory has three classes: capital business class, high-paid labor, and cheaper labor. Split market happens when different groups are paid differently.

Structural arrangements determine social relations. The economy isn’t the only thing that structures social relationships. Wilson states that state is always changing. World War II had a ban on discrimination. No matter why changes happened, the state took successive steps to address black inequality.

Wilson shows two things after World War II, push-pull forces; one is more political and economic opportunities for blacks. The other one is, 1970’s on, the decreases in manufacturing and increases in government and corporate jobs, plus the push from urban to suburban settings. This created different opportunities for different groups of blacks. Race is a factor but class is a distinctions. Before the Civil war racial tensions revolved around economy. Wilson thought things should move from race to more about class.

Chafetz was more concerned with gender inequality. She thought about things in four different levels: macro, meso, micro, and individual. Macro is for analysis of institutions and structures. The meso level is for organization. The Micro part is about face to face interactions. Lastly, the individual level about the individual concept. Chafetz looks at Marx’s theory of feminist. Patriarchy and capitalism help the oppression of women. Marx’s emphasis the economy as the most important site for social stability and change that Chafetz uses. Patriarchy provides men with control of production and the profit while women who are cheap to fear labor. Women do not get paid for their tasks in society as much. Man’s ability to fully work is dependent upon the women’s exploitation. Chafetz thinks that gender inequality is driven by the structural need of capitalism. Men use their power to keep women down they use their structural power. Workforce, macro, plays a huge part in meso and micro areas.

The meso-level of gender. Kanter has three factors that influence work and gender; possibility of advancement, power to achieve goals, and relative number of a specific type of person within the position. Kanter thinks women have different career paths and most don’t lead as high. Women’s path constrict two ways: feminized occupations are limited and women on professional career paths high glass ceilings. Kanter states that social contexts influence individuals and their attitudes and behaviors. Our social environment influences who we are and how we act. Staying and feeling powerless and limited creates negative stereotypes of gender and work, these enforce gender inequalities. When exploitation goes up, women’s presence in the job market goes down.

Micro is the personal levels of coercive structures are next. Chafetz uses exchange theory to explain micro level. Exchange theory makes lines between economic and social exchange. Economics are governed by explicit agreements. Economic exchange is always known when and how something is done or will be done. Social exchange is implicit and not explicit.

Gender inequalities are latent, they are hidden. People want to keep the same actions to keep society going, even if there are inequalities. Voluntarism keeps gender inequality going. There are three types of gender definitions; gender ideology, norms, and stereotypes. Intrapsychic structures are parts of the inner person that are fixed and divided off from one another. Boys and girls are socialized differently. Everything is voluntary. Social learning theory is about modeling. It has four stages: attention, retention, motor reproduction, and motivation.

Things are more about structural then cultural changes, if gender inequality is to happen. Chafetz divides her theory into unintentional and intentional processes. Four different ways of unintentional changes: population growth or decline, changes in sex ratio, and technological innovations and changes in the economic structure. For intentional change if focused on macro-structural, industrialization, urbanization, and the size of the middle class.

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