Tagged: inequality

Girls, Boys, and Toys

The great American holiday, Black Friday, marks the beginning of the holiday shopping frenzy. At the top of most parents’ lists are children’s toys—be it the latest video games, coloring sets, dolls or action figures. Even as the toys and games become more elaborate (and expensive), one thing seems to remain the same: the gendered nature of children’s products. Having grown up in this gendered arena, I was the giddy recipient of many a Barbie doll, baby doll, and flowery...

Neoliberalism and Inequality: A Recipe for Interpersonal Violence?

(If you are interested in this post, please see my earlier post on neoliberalism) Based on recent research, there appears to be a link between the ideals of neoliberalism and increasing rates of inequality. Navarro (1998) argues, for instance, that neoliberal policies have contributed to growing inequalities around the globe and to worsening living conditions for the majority of the world’s people. For her part, George (1999) agrees and blames increasing inequality on the common neoliberal practices of placing public...

Debating Gendered Workplace Inequality

The presidential debates have raised some interesting and important questions about gender inequality in the U.S. Specifically, the second debate (transcript) brought up the issue of fair pay and equal wages for American women. While Governor Romney’s response—which involved “binders full of women”—rightfully took a lot of heat, both candidates could have benefitted from a brief lesson in the sociology of gender discrimination. Perhaps their aides will pass this on.Gov. Romney’s answer focused on increasing women’s participation in the workforce...

“Life Isn’t Always Fair”: Mayor Bloomberg on Alleged Racial Discrimination in NYC Elite Schools

New York City is a city characterized by its diversity and multiculturalism. Some of the U.S.’s largest populations of racial and ethnic minorities live within the city limits. And yet, in many ways, NYC continues to drop the ball when it comes to truly integrating its diverse population. A recent example illustrates this problem. The NAACP recently filed a federal civil rights complaint, stating that the city’s elite public schools, like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, have accepted far too few...

The roots of neoliberalism were planted by a classical political economy theory which advocated for markets (and thus people) to be completely liberated from any type of governmental interference

A Brief Examination of Neoliberalism and Its Consequences in sociology

Starting in the second half of the 20th century, neoliberalism became increasingly prominent as a form of governance in countries around the world (Peters 2001). Originally, the roots of neoliberalism were planted by a classical political economy theory which advocated for markets (and thus people) to be completely liberated from any type of governmental interference (Smith 2009). “Free” competition and “free” enterprise were promoted as manners in which economies should be allowed to grow. Martinez and García (2000) contend that...

Yes, You Are a Statistic

I can no longer stomach certain clichés.  Last night at the Democratic National Convention, I heard one of these.  A university student, who introduced Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the Vice-President, noted that she “shouldn’t be here” and was “almost a statistic.”  My immediate response, to my computer screen, was “You still are a statistic and you don’t understand what statistics are.”  I know that she was just rehashing a cliché, but it is a cliché that privileges “self-help culture”...

Sustainability, social progress, environmental protection, economic growth and energy

Sustainability, social progress, environmental protection, economic growth and energy are discussed using the sustainability framework in Figure 1, where sustainability is at the confluence of social progress, environmental protection and economic growth. Figure 1 Sustainability framework (Source: IUCN 2006) There are designs being made toward Ecological Civilization and welcome moves to address the shortcomings of GDP in Completing the picture – environmental accounting in practice by the Australian Bureau of Statistics .  Extending the national accounts to include degradation of natural resources makes a measurable target...

What's missing from the debate over higher education funding?

For many people, from the first-year students traipsing around campus in search of the correct lecture hall to the senior faculty preparing to teach courses for the nth time, the beginning of the academic year tends to be frantic and exciting time. This year, when back-to-school coincides with a heated Presidential race, education and politics are bound to mix. President Obama has made access to higher education – measured primarily by greater access to grants and student loans while trying...

Culture, Nationalism and "Inferior" Peoples

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s recent overseas tour didn’t go well according to most in the press.  The British press, in particular, blasted Romney for his comments regarding Britain’s preparedness for the Olympics.  Then, Romney went to Israel.  There he avoided offending his hosts but managed to offend Palestinians and some other nations while he was at it. Romney said that, “Culture makes all the difference,” as he compared the GDP per capita of Israel to “areas managed by the Palestinian...

"Deserving" and "Undeserving" Welfare

Over a decade since the 1996 welfare reform bill, welfare is in the news again.  The latest controversy is over laws that seek to limit what welfare recipients can spend money on.  This comes shortly after state legislatures passed laws to require drug testing of welfare recipients.  These new laws are not a direct attack on what remains of anti-poverty programs in America.  Instead, these initiatives allow for both a deserving and an undeserving poor.  A moral evaluation of the...

The Soda Ban and Sociology

In the past few weeks, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made national headlines with his proposal to ban large sized sodas at restaurants, theaters, stadiums, delicatessens and food carts.  The proposal aims to encourage people to drink less of the obesity-causing sugary drinks.  The immediate reaction in the media was not kind.  Those on the political right attacked the ban as an assault on personal freedom.  Even those associated with the left, like comedian Jon Stewart lambasted the...

Social Class: Income, Wealth, and Race

Lately there has been a lot of talk about class, and not just the vague election year pandering to the vague demographic of the “middle class.”  Instead, the very concept of class has become a subject of debate.  Last time, I focused on Mitt Romney’s comment’s about “people who have fallen out of the middle class.”  This time I focus on fellow candidate Rick Santorum’s criticism of Romney for using the word class.  Here’s what Santorum said: “There are no...

Middle-Class Poverty

“Somebody who’s fallen from the middle class to poverty, in my opinion is still middle class.”  Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate, made this statement on a talk show a few weeks ago.   Bloggers ridiculed the comment as nonsensical.  I admit I too was tempted to just call Romney an idiot (again) and move on.  But, as I’ve been watching politicians in a society of growing inequality and high unemployment struggle with the concept of class while desperately trying not to...

Words of the Year: Questions for "Assembled Experts" and Those Whose Expertise Those Assembled Experts Need…

“Oh, I hate that,” my colleague moaned, leaning on the hay- in “hate” with a weary sigh. The that in question was a grammatical construction I had not encountered in my previous TESOL experiences: from as a noun, linked to a country of origin on the other side of a being verb. My from is…Bolivia, El Salvador, Peru, Guatemala. “I don’t know where they get it from,” my colleague continued. “It’s not like they ever heard it from a native...