8-31-06 nots - `Natural Inequality vs The Cultural...

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8-31-06 --- ‘Natural’ Inequality vs. The Cultural Construction of Difference. Main Points 1) Our classification systems are cultural constructions; they are not ‘natural’.  We create labels and select characteristics that we use to classify people  as ‘the same’ or ‘different’.  2) Classification systems organize the way we perceive  ‘differences’ among  ourselves; they also rank  these differences to produce inequality.  3) So classification systems often become objects of struggle; in such  struggles, ‘naturalization’ is an ideology of the powerful, a way of making  boundaries appear rigid and just.  1) Cultural Construction of Difference - This course will challenge assumptions about things we se as ‘natural’   question what we have taken for granted. - What social categories/identities do we perceive as ‘natural’ or  ‘biological’?  e.g. race, gender, age o Most things we categorize as natural, are not o Variation exists in nature; but humans create classification   systems  that are cultural We create categories that lump some things together as  ‘the same’ and separate others as ‘different’ When we create systems of classification (sets of 
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