Category Archives: week12-socy327

Fall Urban327 Week 12 (Nov 4th)

Chapter seven focuses on examining the effect of class standing on lifestyles, gender differences, and everyday life. Max Weber said that an individual’s class position is important because it helps determine the life chances that can be expected in the future. What he means by this statement is that their are certain opportunities that exist within classes. For instance, someone who grows up in a lower class family may have significantly different chances of becoming successful later in life than for those who are from higher class families. One’s social standing in the society’s hierarchy can depend on attributes such as race, gender, ethnicity, and religion. While these factors all contribute to life chances, both Weber and Marx agreed that material wealth was the most important of these social variables.

The United States is stratified through a social hierarchy that determines their access to resources. This stratification is often symbolized through a triangle, with those at the very top having the most control over society’s resources as well as the most symbolic prestige and political influence. While this top of the period enjoys the most resources, this part of the triangle is the least populated. Those below this stratified society are the most numerous and have the least power. Research on the American class structure divides our society into a number of different groups based on what social scientists call socioeconomic status, or SES. The five main factors of the SES are a combination of wealth, occupation, education, gender, and race.

The upper class known as the wealth often have the advantage of having homes because they can afford them. Multiple home ownership is an indicator of wealth and power that carries meaning and prestige in our society. There are fashionable districts in various cities where the wealthy are associated with. For instance, Beverly Hills in Los Angeles is a certain space allocated to high end restaurants, resorts, and social clubs which are reserved for the upper class and celebrities. Some characteristics of the wealthy are by manifesting there power and status by isolating themselves as much as possible from the rest of the population. This type of isolation is mainly voluntary by living in gated housing and utilizing private transportation such as door-to-door limousine services, and private jets and planes. The textbook mentions one of the best studies on the upper-class by a sociologist named E. Digby Baltzell. His study was titled “Philadelphia Gentlemen” and it indicated that while the wealthy require their own segregated space, the areas they choose for their voluntary isolation vary over the years, because, in an effort to remain invisible, the wealthy had to move as the metropolitan region expanded over time. The upper class was therefore subject to the same forces of deconcentration and regional drift that other individuals in the metropolis were subject to. The next class was the creative class and suburban middle class. This class includes those who work hard for the money they earn but aren’t necessarily a part of the upper class. One term the book uses is yuppie, which is a young urban professional that is relatively young and a middle-class professional who lives in the city. The yuppies are therefore a subpopulation of the middle class who are characterized by their income, occupation, and lifestyle but not identified by ethnicity or race. Below this class is the working class and the working poor. The term “working poor” refers to the standard of living which is declining as cities become expensive places to reside in. The quality of life of the working class depends on the public services provided by the local government. Their standard of living depends on city services, the working poor are often at odds with administrators. While the lives of women are a critical component of urban and suburban activities, the built environment reflects men’s activities, men’s values, and men’s attitude toward settlement space. Feminist observers have increasingly prodded urban sociology to gain greater insight into the role of women as a differential group, and their needs, in everyday metropolitan life.

The “Girl Hunt,” is an aspect of city life that involves college and young adult males making their way to the so-called meat market city nightclubs in search of pickups and one-night stands. The research hits really close to home as a college female and the research gives a very depressing and cynical view of what amounts to the major means of socializing among young adults in our society. The “festival marketplace” is a US concept which explains the waterfront sites emphasizing consumption and entertainment much like the cities of Baltimore and Boston. I live about 30 minutes from Baltimore and about 5 miles from Annapolis and the waterfront views are prime global tourist oriented attractions. There are three different waves of immigration, the first wave beginning with Columbus’s voyage in 1492 when Western European settlers confronted the Native Americans. The second wave occurred in the 1800s when industrialization was in full bloom and the cities in the US were expanding. Most second-wave immigrants made their homes in the city. Public health crises and crime waves were common as cities at that time were mainly overcrowded. The third wave of immigrants arrived in the 1970s and about 75 percent are from Latin America and Asia, which differ from previous waves who came from Europe.