Transformations in EU Gender Equality: From Emergence to Dismantling

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Moreover, the share of the total income claimed by those in the middle-income ranges has been shrinking since the early s, while the share taken by the wealthiest has been growing Osberg, Low income measure: The LIM is defined as half the median family income.

A person whose income is below that level is said to be in low income. The LIM is adjusted for family size. People are said to be in the low-income group if their income falls below this threshold. The threshold varies by family size and community size, as well as if income is calculated before or after taxes. Market basket measure: The MBM is a measure of the disposable income a family would need to be able to purchase a basket of goods that includes food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and other basic needs. The dollar value of the MBM varies by family size and composition, as well as community size and location.

MBM data are available since only. The three measures produce different results. In , according to each measure, the following numbers of Canadians were living in low income:. Using the LICO measure results in a decreasing share of people in low income from to , followed by a slight upturn in and The LIM measure results in a share of people in low income that has increased since The news from sociological research into inequality is that the gap in income and wealth between the rich and the poor has been increasing in Canada Osberg, Note: Median income is not the same as average income.

This discrepancy does not simply mean that the very rich are increasing their share of the wealth at the expense of the very poor — the middle classes are also losing their share of the wealth. One way to analyze this trend is to examine the changing distribution of income in Canada over time.

In Table 9. Instead, Table 9. Why is this news? For several decades, Lars Osberg notes that the joke was that the study of income inequality was like watching grass grow because nothing ever happened Between and , changes in income inequality were small despite the fact the Canadian economy went through a massive transformation: It transformed from an agricultural base to an industrial base; the population urbanized and doubled in size; the overall production of wealth measured by gross domestic product GDP increased by 4.

As Osberg puts it, the key question was why did economic inequality not change during this period of massive transformation? From until the present, during another period of rapid and extensive economic change in which the overall production of wealth continued to expand, economic inequality has increased dramatically. What happened? Neoliberal policies of reduced state expenditures and tax cuts have been major factors in defining the difference between these two eras. The biggest losers with regard to neoliberal policy, of course, are the very poor.

As Osberg notes, it was not until the s and s that the homeless — those forced to beg in the streets and those dependent on food banks — began to appear in Canada in significant numbers Others have argued that because capitalism is built on the basis of structural inequality, equality of condition is impossible. The idea that equality of opportunity — a meritocracy — actually exists and that it leads to a meaningful access to social mobility — the movement of people from one social position to another — is debatable, as we will see below.

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In fact degrees of social inequality vary significantly between jurisdictions. The Gini Index is a measure of income inequality in which zero is absolute equality and one is absolute inequality. This comparison indicates that a much greater equality of condition can exist even under the same pressures of globalization if different social and economic policy models are chosen. If addressing poverty and inequality rather than promoting greater transfers of wealth to the rich is a reasonable goal, a variety of viable policy alternatives are available from which Canadians can choose.

In some countries, like the United Kingdom, class differences can still be gauged by differences in schooling, lifestyle, and even accent. In Canada, however, it is harder to determine class from outward appearances. For sociologists, too, categorizing class is a fluid science. In Marxist class analysis there are, therefore, two dominant classes in capitalism — the working class and the owning class — and any divisions within the classes based on occupation, status, education, etc.

However, class is defined with respect to markets rather than the process of production. This leads to a hierarchical class schema with many gradations. Nevertheless the skill the surgeon sells is valued much more highly in the labour market than that of cable TV technicians because of the relative rarity of the skill, the number of years of education required to learn the skill, and the responsibilities involved in practising the skill.

Analyses of class inspired by Weber tend to emphasize gradations of status with regard to a number of variables like wealth, income, education, and occupation. Based on the Weberian approach, some sociologists talk about upper, middle, and lower classes with many subcategories within them in a way that mixes status categories with class categories. There is an arbitrariness to the division of classes into upper, middle, and lower. Nevertheless it is difficult to see what the life chances of the hockey player have in common with a landscaper or truck driver, despite the fact they might share a common working-class background.

Social class is, therefore, a complex category to analyze.

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It also has an important subjective component that relates to recognitions of status, distinctions of lifestyle, and ultimately how people perceive their place in the class hierarchy. One way of distinguishing the classes that takes this complexity into account is by focusing on the authority structure. Classes can be divided according to how much relative power and control members of a class have over their lives.

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On this basis, we might distinguish between the owning class or bourgeoisie , the middle class, and the traditional working class. In contrast, the traditional working class has little control over their work or lives. Below, we will explore the major divisions of Canadian social class and their key subcategories. Often, Marx and Weber are perceived to be at odds in their approaches to class and social inequality, but it is perhaps better to see them as articulating different styles of analysis.

Thus, Weber provides a multi-dimensional model of social hierarchy. It is important to note that although individuals might be from the same objective class, their position in the social hierarchy might differ according to their status and political influence.

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For example, women and men might be equal in terms of their class position, but because of the inequality in the status of the genders within each class, women as a group remain lower in the social hierarchy. With respect to class, Weber also relies on a different definition than Marx. Class is defined with respect to markets rather than the process of production. However, as the value of different types of property e. A skilled tradesman like a pipe welder might enjoy a higher class position and greater life chances in Northern Alberta where such skills are in demand, than a high school teacher in Vancouver or Victoria where the number of qualified teachers exceeds the number of positions available.

If we add the element of status into the picture, the situation becomes even more complex as the educational requirements and social responsibilities of the high school teacher usually confer more social prestige than the requirements and responsibilities of the pipe welder. It has one variable: the relationship to the means of production. If one is a professional hockey player or a clerk in a supermarket, one works for a wage and is therefore a member of the working class.

It would seem that hockey players, doctors, lawyers, professors, and business executives have very little in common with grocery clerks, factory or agricultural workers, tradespersons, or low level administrative staff despite the fact that they all depend on being paid by someone. You will recall the four components of dialectical analysis from Chapter 1: Everything is related; everything changes; change proceeds from the quantitative to the qualitative; and change is the product of the unity and struggle of opposites.

The main point of the dialectical analysis of class is that the working class and the owning class have to be understood in relationship to one another. They emerged together out of the old class structure of feudalism, and each exists only because the other exists. In addition, change proceeds from the quantitative to the qualitative in the sense that changes in purely quantitative variables like salary, working conditions, unemployment levels, rates of profitability, etc. The dialectical approach reveals the underlying logic of class structure as a dynamic system and the potential commonality of interests and subjective experiences that define class-consciousness.

As a result, in an era in which the precariousness of many high status jobs has become clearer, the divisions of economic interests between the different segments of the working class becomes less so.

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In Canada, the richest 86 people or families account for 0. In terms of income, in the average income of the richest 0. Money provides not just access to material goods, but also access to power. As corporate leaders, their decisions affect the job status of millions of people. As media owners, they shape the collective identity of the nation. They run the major network television stations, radio broadcasts, newspapers, magazines, publishing houses, and sports franchises.

As philanthropists, they establish foundations to support social causes they believe in. They also fund think tanks like the C. Howe Institute and the Fraser Institute that promote the values and interests of business elites. As campaign contributors, they influence politicians and fund campaigns, usually to protect their own economic interests. While both types may have equal net worth, they have traditionally held different social standing. People of old money, firmly situated in the upper class for generations, have held high prestige.

Their families have socialized them to know the customs, norms, and expectations that come with wealth. Often, the very wealthy do not work for wages. Some study business or become lawyers in order to manage the family fortune. New money members of the owning class are not oriented to the customs and mores of the elite.

They have not gone to the most exclusive schools. They have not established old-money social ties. People with new money might flaunt their wealth, buying sports cars and mansions, but they might still exhibit behaviours attributed to the middle and lower classes. Many people call themselves middle class, but there are differing ideas about what that means. That helps explain why some sociologists divide the middle class into upper and lower subcategories. These divisions are based on gradations of status defined by levels of education, types of work, cultural capital, and the lifestyles afforded by income.

Professions are occupations that claim high levels of specialized technical and intellectual expertise and are governed and regulated by autonomous professional organizations like the Canadian Medical Association or legal bar associations. Comfort is a key concept to the middle class. Middle-class people work hard and live fairly comfortable lives. Upper-middle-class people tend to pursue careers that earn comfortable incomes.

They provide their families with large homes and nice cars. They may go skiing or boating on vacation. Their children receive quality educations Gilbert, In the lower middle class, people hold jobs supervised by members of the upper middle class. They fill technical, lower-level management or administrative support positions. Compared to traditional working-class work, lower-middle-class jobs carry more prestige and come with slightly higher paycheques.

With these incomes, people can afford a decent, mainstream lifestyle, but they struggle to maintain it. They generally do not have enough income to build significant savings. In addition, their grip on class status is more precarious than in the upper tiers of the class system. When budgets are tight, lower-middle-class people are often the ones to lose their jobs.

The traditional working class is sometimes also referred to as being part of the lower class. Just like the middle and upper classes, the lower class can be divided into subsets: the working class, the working poor, and the underclass. Compared to the middle class, traditional working-class people have less of an educational background and usually earn smaller incomes.

While there are many working-class trades that require skill and pay middle-class wages, the majority often work jobs that require little prior skill or experience, doing routine tasks under close supervision. The work is considered blue collar because it is hands-on and often physically demanding.

Beneath those in the working class are the working poor. Like some sections of the working class, they have unskilled, low-paying employment. However, their jobs rarely offer benefits such as retirement planning, and their positions are often seasonal or temporary. They work as migrant farm workers, house cleaners, and day labourers.

Some are high school dropouts. Some are illiterate, unable to read job ads. Many do not vote because they do not believe that any politician will help change their situation Beeghley, How can people work full time and still be poor? Even working full time, more than a million of the working poor earn incomes too meagre to support a family. In , 1. Even for a single person, minimum wage is low. A married couple with children will have a hard time covering expenses. Members of the underclass live mainly in inner cities. Many are unemployed or underemployed. Those who do hold jobs typically perform menial tasks for little pay.

Some of the underclass are homeless. For many, welfare systems provide a much-needed support through food assistance, medical care, housing, and the like. Social mobility refers to the ability to change positions within a social stratification system. When people improve or diminish their economic status in a way that affects social class, they experience social mobility. A high degree of social mobility, upwards or downwards, would suggest that the stratification system of a society is in fact open i. Upward mobility refers to an increase — or upward shift — in social class.

Actor and comedian Jim Carey lived with his family in camper van at one point growing up in Scarborough, Ontario. Ron Joyce was a beat policemen in Hamilton before he co-founded Tim Hortons.

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There are many stories of people from modest beginnings rising to fame and fortune. But the truth is that relative to the overall population, the number of people who launch from poverty to wealth is very small. Still, upward mobility is not only about becoming rich and famous. In Canada, people who earn a university degree, get a job promotion, or marry someone with a good income may move up socially. Some people move downward because of business setbacks, unemployment, or illness.

Dropping out of school, losing a job, or becoming divorced may result in a loss of income or status and, therefore, downward social mobility. Intergenerational mobility explains a difference in social class between different generations of a family. For example, an upper-class executive may have parents who belonged to the middle class.

In turn, those parents may have been raised in the lower class. Patterns of intergenerational mobility can reflect long-term societal changes. Intragenerational mobility describes a difference in social class between different members of the same generation. For example, the wealth and prestige experienced by one person may be quite different from that of his or her siblings. Structural mobility happens when societal changes enable a whole group of people to move up or down the social class ladder.

Structural mobility is attributable to changes in society as a whole, not individual changes. Many people have experienced economic setbacks, creating a wave of downward structural mobility. Many Canadians believe that people move up in class because of individual efforts and move down by their own doing.

Others believe that equality of opportunity is a myth designed to keep people motivated to work hard, while getting them to accept social inequality as the legitimate outcome of personal achievement. The ideology of equality of opportunity is just a mirage that masks real and permanent structural inequality in society. The rich stay rich, and the poor stay poor. Data that measures social mobility suggest that the truth is a bit of both. Typically social mobility is measured by comparing either the occupational status or the earnings between parents and children.

Some data are available on daughters as well, but it is less common and therefore difficult to use to make cross-national comparisons. The data show that there is a much lower degree of social mobility in the United States than in Canada. While earnings elasticity from data in the United States was 0. This suggests that Canada has a relatively high rate of social mobility and equality of opportunity compared to the United States, where almost 50 percent of sons remain at the same income level as their fathers.

The higher degree of social inequality is linked to lower degrees of social mobility. The main factor that contributes to the difference in the intergenerational earnings elasticity figures is that there is a great degree of intergenerational social immobility at the lower and higher ranges of the income scale in the United States. For example, over 25 percent of sons born to fathers in the top 10 percent of income earners remain in the top 10 percent, compared to about 18 percent in Canada. On the other hand, in the United States, 22 percent of sons born to fathers in the bottom 10 percent of income earners remain in the bottom 10 percent, while another 18 percent only move up to the bottom 10 to 20 percent of income earners.

The figures for Canada are 16 percent and 14 percent respectively Corak et al.

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For example, the chance that a son born to a father in the 30 to 40 percent or 40 to 50 percent ranges of income earners i. In contrast, a son from the bottom 20 percent of income earners had only a 38 percent chance of moving into the top 50 percent of income earners. Class traits , also called class markers, are the typical behaviours, customs, and norms that define each class.

They define a crucial subjective component of class identities. Class traits indicate the level of exposure a person has to a wide range of cultural resources. Class traits also indicate the amount of resources a person has to spend on items like hobbies, vacations, and leisure activities. People may associate the upper class with enjoyment of costly, refined, or highly cultivated tastes — expensive clothing, luxury cars, high-end fundraisers, and opulent vacations.

People may also believe that the middle and lower classes are more likely to enjoy camping, fishing, or hunting, shopping at large retailers, and participating in community activities. It is important to note that while these descriptions may be class traits, they may also simply be stereotypes. Moreover, just as class distinctions have blurred in recent decades, so too have class traits. A very wealthy person may enjoy bowling as much as opera. A factory worker could be a skilled French cook. Pop star Justin Bieber might dress in hoodies, ball caps, and ill fitting clothes, and a low-income hipster might own designer shoes. These days, individual taste does not necessarily follow class lines. Still, you are not likely to see someone driving a Mercedes living in an inner-city neighbourhood.

And most likely, a resident of a wealthy gated community will not be riding a bicycle to work. Class traits often develop based on cultural behaviours that stem from the resources available within each class. Class distinctions were sharper in the 19th century and earlier, in part because people easily accepted them. The ideology of social order made class structure seem natural, right, and just. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, American and British novelists played a role in changing public perception. They published novels in which characters struggled to survive against a merciless class system.

These dissenting authors used gender and morality to question the class system and expose its inequalities. They protested the suffering of urbanization and industrialization, drawing attention to these issues. For speaking out so strongly about the social issues of class, authors were both praised and criticized. Most authors did not want to dissolve the class system. They wanted to bring about an awareness that would improve conditions for the lower classes, while maintaining their own higher-class positions DeVine, Soon, middle-class readers were not their only audience.

The act increased literacy levels among the urban poor, causing a rise in sales of cheap newspapers and magazines. These reading materials are credited with the move toward democratization in England. Many of the novels of that era are seen as sociological goldmines. They are studied as existing sources because they detail the customs and mores of the upper, middle, and lower classes of that period in history.

Global stratification compares the wealth, economic stability, status, and power of countries across the world. Global stratification highlights worldwide patterns of social inequality. In the early years of civilization, hunter-gatherer and agrarian societies lived off the Earth, rarely interacting with other societies. When explorers began travelling, societies began trading goods as well as ideas and customs. Due to mechanical inventions and new means of production, people began working in factories — not only men, but women and children as well.

By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, industrial technology had gradually raised the standard of living for many people in the United States and Europe. The Industrial Revolution also saw the rise of vast inequalities between countries that were industrialized and those that were not. As some nations embraced technology and saw increased wealth and goods, others maintained their ways; as the gap widened, the nonindustrialized nations fell further behind. Some social researchers, such as Walt Rostow , suggest that the disparity also resulted from power differences.

Applying a critical sociological perspective, he asserts that industrializing nations took advantage of the resources of traditional nations. As industrialized nations became rich, other nations became poor Rostow, Sociologists studying global stratification analyze economic comparisons between nations.

Income, purchasing power, and wealth are used to calculate global stratification. Poverty levels have been shown to vary greatly. In the United Nations implemented the Millennium Project, an attempt to cut poverty worldwide by the year Undernourishment in developing regions fell from As we have seen earlier in this chapter, the growing inequality in Canada can be seen as a product in a shift in government policy from a welfare state model of redistribution of resources to a neoliberal model of free market distribution of resources.

This transition does not take place in a vacuum, however. Just as global capitalism is an economic system characterized by constant change, so too is the relationship between global capitalism and national state policy. Throughout the 19th and first half of the 20th century, the role of the state in the wealthy Northern countries was typically limited to providing the legal mechanisms and enforcement to protect private property.

Capitalism itself was for the most part regulated by competition until stock market crash of and the Great Depression of the s. From then on, an awareness grew that the capacity for producing commodities had far exceeded the ability of people to buy them Harvey, The economic model of Fordism, adopted in the wealthy Northern countries, offered a solution to the crisis by creating a system of intensive mass production maximum use of machinery and minute divisions of labour , cheap products, high wages, and mass consumption.

This system required a disciplined work force and labour peace, however, which is one reason why states began to take a different role in the economy. This set of policies collectively became known as the welfare state. The accord also reaffirmed the rights of private property or capital to introduce new technology, to reorganize production as they saw fit, and to invest wherever they pleased. Therefore, it was not a system of economic democracy or socialism.

When Fordism and the welfare state system began to break down in the late s and early s, the relationship between the state and the economy began to change again. In step with the development of the post-Fordist economy of lean production, precarious employment, and niche market consumption, the state began to withdraw from its guarantee of providing universal social services and social security.

The market is said to promote more efficiency, lower costs, pragmatic decision making, non-favouritism, and a disciplined work ethic, etc. Of course the facts often tell a different story. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video. You can view this on the NLA website. Login Register. Advanced search Search history. Browse titles authors subjects uniform titles series callnumbers dewey numbers starting from optional. See what's been added to the collection in the current 1 2 3 4 5 6 weeks months years. Your reader barcode: Your last name:.

Cite this Email this Add to favourites Print this page. You must be logged in to Tag Records. List of illustrations List of tables List of abbreviations Introduction: analysing change in European gender equality policy From Rome to Maastricht : the golden age of an exceptional policy? The era of gender mainstreaming From Maastricht to Lisbon : the normalisation of a policy Lisbon and beyond : a policy in crisis Conclusion: the end of a policy?

Gender and right-wing populism in the Low countries: ideological variations across parties and time. Pattern of Prejudice, 49 , Jacquot, Sophie Transformations in EU Gender Equality. From Emergence to Dismantling. London: Palgrave. Zakaria, Fareed. The Rise of Illiberal Democracy. Foreign Policy, 76 6 ,