Lecture 9 - SOCIOLOGY 3AC Professor Brian Powers 9/14/07...

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SOCIOLOGY 3AC Professor Brian Powers 9/14/07 Lecture 9 Sharing or distribution of lecture notes, or sharing of your subscription, is ILLEGAL and will be prosecuted. Our non-profit, student-run program depends on your individual subscription for its continued existence. These notes are copyrighted by the University of California and are for your personal use only. Sharing or copying these notes is illegal and could end note taking for this course LECTURE Social Class. Right now I will address the question of selecting an informant for your study. What does it mean to think about social class? That is a little bit about what the Berger content for today is about. What is important is how we really know what class differences are. I have posted for you some income intervals that are commonly used by the census to divide the U.S. population into groups of five on the basis of their family income. If you lined up the heads of families in order of income, added up all their incomes, and then divided that sum by fifths, that would divide the U.S. income into five quintiles. The first quintile is up to $25,616. The second quintile is up to $45,021. The third quintile is up to $68,304. The fourth quintile is up to $103,000. If you make more than that, you are in the top 20% of the income earners in the United States. The top five percent of all wage-earners in the United States make over $184,000. This is simply lining everyone up and taking fifths of them, an arithmetic measure of inequality. This is a portrait: these numbers are telling you a story about our society. But as I said, people get very sensitive about income. So you could ask them about their occupations. However, it is no guesswork on your part: you have to say how you know what quintile or what social class you and your interviewee are in. We live in a society where we like to keep everything blurry, but the census tells us the truth. Social structure and class tables. Over in resources I have put up social structure and class tables. There are a lot of them from the census. What shares of income do people get from America? Let us take the people in the bottom 20% and then add their income and see that in relation to all the family income available. The bottom 20% makes 4% of all the family income available. On the other hand, the top 20% makes 48% of all the available family income. In 1947, the bottom 20% had 5% of the income. In other hands, we got more unequal. The top 20% had only 42% of the income. Remember how Inequality by Design stated inequality fluctuates? In America, we tried to do something about our inequality. If you look in some of the middle years, the bottom 20% had over 5% whereas the top 20% had around 40%. If you look around 1980, Ronald Reagan got elected to office. Look at what happened to the income at the top: it grew and grew. In the past two decades, somebody has been pumping that income upstairs.
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course SOC 3 taught by Professor Don'tremember during the Fall '04 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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Lecture 9 - SOCIOLOGY 3AC Professor Brian Powers 9/14/07...

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