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A. Questions for weekly discussions and conversations (not

part of the required Discussion...
A. Questions for weekly discussions and conversations (not part of the required Discussion Board assignment)

These questions can serve as the starting point for your discussions during the week. They are “thought starters,” so that you can explore some ideas associated with the discussion board and unit topics. Answers are not required, and should not be submitted with your required assignment. Answers are not graded.

1.In our society who decides what the “good things” are in our culture? How do you know or come to know what the “good things” are? How do we as members of our culture learn what these "good things" are?
2.What examples can you provide of how the concept of "life chances" operates in a (a) caste system, (b) a social class system, and (c) a one-party Communist system such as China?
B. Required Discussion Board assignment.

•Explain how an individual's ascribed social class position at birth may affect what Max Weber called life chances, or the ability of an individual to attain the following "good things" that a society values:
◦good health care
◦longevity
◦a good job
◦security
◦status
◦wealth
◦power
◦prestige
•Describe how life chances may affect an individual's life goals (positive or negative).
•In what ways may life chances be irrelevant?
•Give examples of how the concept of life chances operates in the following systems:
•a caste system
•a class system
•a one-party, Communist system (such as China)
In your own words, please post a response to the Discussion Board and comment on other postings. You will be graded on the quality of your postings.


The following rubric will be used for grading:

Grading Rubric
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Evidenced additional research supporting the student's response to the DB question
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Comments on other students' postings that serve to further the discussion, apply real-world examples, or lend to enhancing the clarity of the concepts
20%

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10%
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11/16/2011
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Carol Graves Unit 2 disscussion Board
In our society who determines what the good things are in our culture? How one comes to know what the good things are? And how do we as members of our culture learn what these good things? are?

In the American culture, often set laws, rules and regulations determine what the good things are in our culture. Similarly in this information laden era, what the majority like from the internet often determines whether it is good or not, what various celebrities with influence do and say decide whether it is good or not and what peers do also determines this. Though religious beliefs and rules also play an important role in determining what the good things are in life, these have been grossly eroded over the past century, with issues factored in to the original religious views to fit the contemporary society's view of what is good. Another factor that determines what is good in society are the human inborn and innate feelings which make them differentiate between what is good and what is bad. Others view a good thing as that which makes a person feels good (Ferrante, 2008).


One comes to know of the good things through being taught by parents, in the education system, by the law, through religious teachings, or through friends and peers. A person is also able to know these good things through various information Medias such as the internet, television where programs and movies promote these goods, and through various songs.


Member of our society learn what these good things are from peers, songs, television, internet, formal learning in schools, from parents, law enforcements and scholars and religious teachers. These are often learnt through experimenting, observing, listening, and emulating those that have influential positions in the society (Ferrante, 2008).




Explaining how an individual's ascribed social class position at birth may affect what Max Weber called life chances, or the ability of an individual to attain the following good things that a society values:

Good health care: the social class position at birth affects the kind of healthcare that an individual gets. Those born in low income earners or low class citizens might not be able to afford health insurance and therefore seek health care in various questionable healthcare facilities which may not provide the best health. Most often such people do not frequently seek medical attention even when they are not feeling well. Those born in high social classes often receive the best medical care that money provides and have the luxury of going for medical checks and treating small passing ailments (Long, 2010).


Longevity: the social class position that a person is born into often also determines their life span. Those born in low income classes may have a shorter life span than those born in high income social classes. This is mainly attributable to the medical health that they can afford, the nutrition they eat, and the kind of safe environment that they live in. Often those in low social class live in overcrowded areas with little security and insufficient resources such as water, power, or sewerage system and therefore their life span become shortened.


A good job: in most cases the social class position that a person is born into determines what they aspire to be in future. Those born in a family of acting celebrities would aspire to award winning actors and to them that would be a good job, while those born to fishing or herding family may probably aspire to own their fishing boats of herds of cattle and perceive that as a good job. Generally though born in a low class family have fewer chances of getting a good job than those born in high class families where the have access to invaluable resources such as information and connections with the top people (Long, 2010).


Security: A person born in a low social class position would most likely live in poor neighborhoods consumerate with their social class, and in most instances these neighborhoods often have high rates of crime and low security due to poverty and hurdles of every day life to make ends meet. A person born in high social class though would probably be living in high end suburbs sparsely populated with enough security to protect against intruders.


Status: the social class that a person is born into in the American society determines their status in society and how people view them. A person born in a high social class would most likely be looked at with awe and accorded celebrity status even though they have not done anything to be celebrated about except be born into wealth. They are treated and viewed highly given whatever they desired and wanted. Those born to the lower social class are often barely noticeable. In most cases they seek favor from the higher social class individual in order to get some form of status into the society. They may also gain status being doing a unique deed that improves their not only their economic well being but also their celebrity status in society (Long, 2010).


Wealth: Being born into a higher social class in America is synonymous with higher being born into wealth. It is wealth that determines the social status that individuals occupy in society. Often those born in low social class have little wealth and have few chances of making more wealth than what they already have. It is often luck, opportunity or efforts that often help a person in low social class to be able to use the little they have to make more wealth.


Power: Higher social class is not only synonymous with wealth; it is also synonymous with power. A person born into a low social class family would have very little chance of being powerful in various aspects of society. This is because in order to be powerful one needs wealth backing or the backing of wealthy individuals from the higher social class. In most instances people from low social positions would not seek to hold powerful positions but would in most instances be contended with earning their daily living. Persons from high social class positions would most likely pursue powerful positions in society in most cases either to secure their wealth or to add more to it.


Prestige: the social class position that one is born into determines what they hold as prestigious. Though unanimously holding certain positions or possessions such as Rolex or BMW are viewed as prestigious, those born into low social class often take pride in other simpler things than do those from high social class who take pride in possessions that are widely viewed to be prestigious by the society. Those from high social class position have higher chances and ability to attain the highest prestige known to societies than do those from lower social classes who are often limited by their position in society and the limited accessibility of resources to them (Long, 2010).




Describe how life chances may affect an individual's life goals:

Life chances may impact individual's life goals in a number of ways both positive and negative.

Positive: on the positive side, the ability to attain various good things in life may impact the goals that a person sets in life. A person born into a low social class family may be motivated to pursue a better life and get out of poverty in whatever means. They may study hard, become extremely competitive in competitions for scholarships or applications for positions. They may also become very competitive in various positions that present themselves and allow them to exploit their skills and talents for their betterment. Those born in high social class families may on the other hand be able to use the resources within their reach to make their life's goals and dreams come true, and may aspire to add even more value to the family name than did his or her predecessors (Ferrante, 2008).


Negative: On the other hand, life chances may impact negatively a person's goals in life. For a person born into poverty, they may not be able to see far from their present situations and only aspire to continue living as their previous predecessors. Others may loose morale in school life thinking that studying would not necessarily remove them from poverty. They may be discouraged to go to school and instead seek some casual employment while other may be discouraged from making any goals in life since they have no means of attaining high end life goals. Those from high social class families may also feel not need to work hard in their life or to set goals in life since they already have all they need. They may instead choose to live life and enjoy it without any responsibilities or cares and without any ambitions or goals (Ferrante, 2008).




In what ways life changes may be irrelevant?

Life chances may be irrelevant in a case where there is no class or caste systems since all the people in the society have equal chances of accessing resources and making something great out of their lives. Often in these kinds of systems, those who make something great out of their lives share this within the society equalizing any gross indifference (Long, 2010).




What examples can you provide of how the concept of "life chances" operates in a (a) caste system, (b) a social class system, and (c) a one-party Communist system such as China?

Life chances refer to a person's access to various resources and social institutions in their life. In a caste system such as one in India, life changes are very minimal since a caste is often a rigid system of inequality since people are stratified based on their social and genetic backgrounds. A person's position in the caste is strictly defined with not allowed social mobility from one to the other. A person's caste determines their education, power, social interaction and occupations and therefore has little chance of changing their life changes. For example a person born into a Viashia caste would most likely end up being a merchant or crafts man that they would being a warrior. Similarly those born in a caste such as Shudra which comprises of laborers and farmers would most likely not marry under whatever circumstances into a number caste (Long, 2010).


In social class system such as one in the US where people are stratified based on economic criteria, life chances are high in this system since boundaries between classes are more fluid and people can move around in the classes if they have the economic means. A person's status can improve or decline based on their efforts and other factors (Ferrante, 2008; Long, 2010). People tend to be born in their social classes though and change though possible between classes is often difficult. For example in a social system as the one in the US, a person can change their social status for instance by studying going to college and getting a better paying job, or a person in a lower social class system may make a big technological discovery or become a very talented singer and make a lot of money from their talent or they may even win a lottery. This would automatically change their social class pushing them to a higher social class.


In a one party communist system such as China, there are no classes based on any criteria and often there is a big chance of life chances and a great chance to improve ones economic position than in any of the three caste systems (Long, 2010; Ferrante, 2008). For instance, in this system all children are provided for similarly by the government both in education and needs and none is segregated by systems.


References

Ferrante, J. (2008). Sociology: A global Perspective. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co Inc. retrieved from http://books.google.com/books?id=AwnIIXI6y38C&pg=PA204&lpg=PA204&dq=life+chances +operates+in+caste+system&source=bl&ots=3v2QU_BpGv&sig=UFy8hb-cA9mKcgam9x0bYNh2teE&hl=en&ei=VyC5TsXFMI-GrAeGnfm5Bg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10&sqi=2&ved=0CGUQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

Long, R. (2010, September 6). Social Class (Stratification). Retrieved from http://www.delmar.edu/socsci/rlong/intro/class.htm
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