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SOCI 261 Second Midterm Review (Concordia University)
Terms in this set (104)
puts forth arguments regarding the differences between men and women based on Michael Gurian's neurology research.
discrimination and derogatory attitudes and beliefs that promote stereotyping of people because of gender. Sexism and gender stereotyping are two problems for both men and women, and are most often experienced in institutions and social relationships.
the differential success of men and women in gaining access to valued rewards. this tends to stem from structural arrangements, interpersonal discrimination, and cultural beliefs.
Sex is a _______ concept - the _ _______ must be present for the embryonic sex glands to develop _______. Further, a preponderance of particular ______ must be present in both sexes to reach sexual maturity. Most people are (_____) male or ("") female from the moment of conception, with biological differences between the sexes that are _______, ______, and ________.
However, research has not revealed any simple _____ between the sexes or any direct link between ______ and the _______ of each sex. Also, current thinking is that 'male' and 'female' are not discrete biological ________. It would be more accurate to view them as opposite _____ along a continuum of sexual ______. The value of such subtle thinking is obvious when we consider unusual cases. For example, consider the rare condition known as ________ ______, in which an XX individual is exposed in the womb to abnormally high levels of ______, a family of hormones that usually predominates in the development of masculine features. The result is an ________ appearance, with normal internal _______ and external _____ that is intermediate in size between a ______ and a ____. Male or female? For practical purposes, the answer is ______ determined, through socialization and social interaction.
Moreover, whatever biological differences that exist between men and women have few (if any) ________ effects on modern-day social life. Men and women have different ________ functions, but there is no scientific proof that there are biologically based ________ differences (such as a 'maternal instinct') between human males and females. And as women spend less and less of their lives bearing children, the reproductive difference becomes less socially _______ to a definition of people's _____.
Gender refers to _______ learned notions of masculinity and femininity. From a social standpoint, gender is the social ________ of ________ difference. Males are treated as men because they ____ masculine ____, and females are treated as women because they ____ feminine _____. All known societies have distinguished between male and female ____ in some way. However, the precise distinctions made between men and women, and the resulting divisions of _____, have varied through ____ and across _______. Gender distinctions are by definition ______ constructed. They work within social ________ to decide the roles that men and women can enter and the kinds of experiences they will have within these roles. So what begins as a _______ difference between sexes assumes a vast importance through the _______ construction of _____ _____. Sociologists use the term '_____' when referring to these sex-based social constructions, a practice that suggests that biology is largely irrelevant to understanding the _____ distinctions people make between males and females.
biological, Y chromosome, maleness, hormone, mainly, anatomic, genetic, hormonal, split, genetics, behavior, categories. poles, variation, adrenogenital syndrome, androgens, intersexed, genitalia, phallus, clitoris, penis, socially, unavoidable, reproductive, psychological, relevant, roles, socially, enactment, biological, play, roles, play, roles, roles, labor, time, cultures, socially, institutions, biological, social, gender roles, gender, social
Views of the inherent differences between males and females are captured in a neat _______ found in our culture - and most others - that distinguished masculinity and femininity. Not only is this dichotomy an _________ of the real differences between people, but it is also the source of many _______ for both men and women.
dichotomy, oversimplification, problems
_________ and child-_____ continue to be mainly female activities in Canadian society. Women's ____ and _______ make child-bearing possible. However, child-bearing is no longer ______. Effective _____ _______, by reducing the risk of ______ ________, has made the outcome of sexual intercourse more _______ and _______ than at any other time in history. As a result, men and women can lead more ______ lives than ever before. Today, women spend ___ time bearing and raising children than they did in the past. Other parts of their lives -especially education, work, career, and marital companionship- are more _______ than they once were. Even sexual practices and sexual ideas, like the traditional double standard, have changed because of this ________ ________.
However, the family household remains a _______ for women more than for men. Before ______ ________ it was men's workplace, too, but the separation of ____ and ____ ____ largely brought this to an end.
Under this system, though each family has its own particular division of labour, what is remarkable is how ______ this division is across families and even across nations. Domestic labour, in short, is _______ labor. We still expect adult women to carry out ____ of the work than men., daughters do more of the work than sons. This pattern also persists in _______. The primary caregiver is usually the wife, mother, or daughter. Women do more of the domestic work even if they _____ in _____ ________ outside the home and are parenting infants, and even when they are taking care of ____ or ______ family members.
Of course, families do vary. In some studies, for example, remarried couples report a ___ complete or weaker version of ______ _______ than first-time married couples. Couples who become parents in their twenties are more _______ in their gendering of domestic ____ than couples who make this transition in their thirties. Women who ______ do much ____ household work than women who are legally married. And dual-career couples often ________ their domestic division of labour as outside work ______ change.
Reproduction, rearing, genes, hormones, unavoidable, birth control, unwanted pregnancy, predictable, controllable, similar, less, important, contraceptive revolution, workplace, industrial capitalism, home, paid work, similar, gendered, more, caregiving, engage, paid employment, sick, disabled, less, gendered inequality, conservative, work, cohabit, less, renegotiate, duties
With most women in the paid _______, who looks after their children? Some families rely on ______ provided by ________ caregivers. More, however, rely on ________ who come to the parents' houses, on small-scale child-care operations, or on family members' voluntary care. Most babysitters are _____ and most non-household family members who 'help' with child care are _____. When researchers ask parents how they divide the responsibility of the household, they find women taking much more ________ for the events or tasks of child care. While men might ____ children to doctor's appointments, most often women will have ____ the appointments.
Women's lives become much more complicated with the _______ of children. Helena Willen and Henry Montgomery refer to this fact as the '____ __' of marriage; wishing and planning for a child _______ marital happiness, but achieving this wish ______ that happiness. The birth of a child and the resulting intense mother-child relationship ______ marital relations. New parents are ___ happy with each other and experience more ______, sometimes _____, conflicts with each other after the baby ______. For some, the conflict may begin even ______ the baby arrives.
The radical shift from ______ activities to _______ activities creates an ________ distance the partners find hard to ______. ________ and _____ decline. ________ nights increase. Mothers, the main providers of child care, change their time use much ____ than fathers. Especially after the birth of a first child, _____ quality and quantity of ____ together decline immediately. Mothers report feeling angrier and more ________ than before the child arrived.
The transition to parenthood _______ gender inequality between partners. The ______ relationship between husband and wife changes. Wives, as mothers, devote ____ time to their infants and ____ time to their husbands. Husbands often _____ this change, and wives may adopt a new, _______ way of dealing with husbands to reduce the resentment and conflict. This role change produces resentment on the ____'s side.
Typically, marital satisfaction, which decreases with the arrival of children, reaches an all-time low when the children are _______. The presence of children in the household, though pleasing in many respects, also increases the domestic _______ for parents and increases ______. Once the children leave home, creating what some sociologists have called an '_____ ____', many marriages improve to near-_______ levels of satisfaction.
In part, this return to marital satisfaction is due to the decline in parental and other work ________. Many couples rediscover each other because they have more _______ time in which to become reacquainted. Thus, older couples show much less _______, less desire for _____ in their marriage, and a more accurate understanding of the _____ of their partners.
workforce, daycare, professional, babysitters, female, female, responsibility, take, made, arrival, catch 22, increases, reduces, strain, less, frequent, violent, arrives, before, spousal, parental, emotional, bridge, romance, privacy, Sleepless, more, marital, time, depressed, increases, social, more, less, resent, subservient, wife, teenagers, workload, conflict, empty nest, newlywed, responsibilities, leisure, distress, change, needs
Problems of structural sexism - that is, the ways _____ institutions outside the home treat men and women differently - and the problems that this different, unequal treatment poses for men and women reinforce one another. it would be hard to get rid of one without getting rid of them all.
Throughout most of the twentieth century, women still were expected to be _______. Therefore, they were discouraged from taking on ___ that would prevent them from fulfilling their household duties. However, many women needed or _____ to work, and many companies wanted to ____ women who wanted to work. One attractive feature, for employers, was that women could be paid ___ than men for the ___ work.
However, the range of available jobs in the paid workforce was ______. During the first half of the twentieth century, women could find work as teachers, nurses, retail salespersons or as ______ _____ in higher class homes. This was significantly interrupted by World War II, which allowed record numbers of women to enter _____ jobs to replace men who were ____ __ ___. These jobs - hard, dirty, often unsafe and unhealthy - required women to work __ or more hours per week, nearly double the working week today. Then, with war's end, the returning servicemen expected their jobs to be waiting for ____, and women, therefore, were expected to ____ these jobs at which they had worked so hard and so well. Many did just that, and were happy to return to the male _______/ female _______ family model, especially since for a span of about 25 years a growing economy and increased workplace ______ made this possible. But a _______ had been set, and many women sought to ______ working as well.
Much has changed since then. We now understand that by excluding women from the most important jobs we significantly limit the country's supply of _____ ______. Today, in many parts of the industrialized world, discrimination against women is ______. Both women and men are encouraged to follow their _______ and _______ talents to the maximum, in whatever ____ they have chosen. Statistics Canada shows that women accounted for nearly ____ of the total national labor force for the year 2009.
Unfortunately, however, women continue to suffer ________ in the workplace. If we look at the distribution of occupations, we still find fewer women than men in ___-_____ positions, and, on average, full-time working women will earn about __ cents for every dollar earned by men in similar employment. Some men might say this is because women are perceived to be more ______ - more likely to quit their job for family reasons, especially during the child-bearing years. The data below show there is ____ support for this assertion.
In many workplaces, women do have an equal _______. However, in many others, they still hit a ____ ______ when they strive to ______. This term points to the fact that women face nearly ______ obstacles when it comes to advancing into the highest-status jobs. Women are less often hired into these jobs, in part because of an '__ ____' club' mentality and a belief (sometimes) that women are ______. The gendering of work opportunities is far narrower and stricter in _______ countries, like Bangladesh.
homemakers, jobs, wanted, hire, less, same, narrow, domestic servants, factory, away at war, 60, them, leave, breadwinner, homemaker, benefits, precedent, continue, human capital, illegal, educational, occupational, field, half, inequalities, high-paying, 70, transient, some, opportunity, glass ceiling, advance, hidden, old boys, inferior, developing
Women are over-represented among the ____ people of the world. Researchers have labelled this development the ________ __ ______. High rates of female poverty are usually the result of (1) women's ________ _________ in society, (2) women's overall ________ _______ to men, and (3) women's economic difficulties following _______, _____, or ________.
Fully up-to-date statistics on the feminization of poverty are hard to find. Over a decade ago the National Anti-Poverty Organization calculated that __ per cent of non-elderly unattached women are poor. Not only are the women who head poor families affected by their impoverished state, but their _______ feel the results of poverty as well. Roughly one-_____ of Canada's children, or 1.2 million people under 18, live in poverty, which, of course, means their parents do, too. Gender differences also ______ with age. Older women are _____ and _____, have less satisfactory ______ and access to ______ ________, and are more likely to experience _________, ______, and _________ than are older men.
Women overall, and single mothers in particular, are more likely to be impoverished than __ other demographic group. Various health consequences trouble women who are economically deprived, including increased vulnerability to i_____s and other disease, a______s, s_______h u_____s, m______s, c_______l d_______n, s____s, vulnerability to m_____l i_____s, self-destructive c_____g behaviours, and increased risk of h____t d______e.
poor, feminization of poverty, occupational disadvantage, subordinate position, abandonment, divorce, widowhood, 41, children, sixth, increase, poorer, sicker, housing, private transport, widowhood, disability, institutionalization, any, infections, arthritis, stomach ulcers, migraines, clinical depression, stress, mental illness, coping, heart disease
The suffrage movement, or the '____ ____' of feminism, made important gains for women's rights in Canada through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. early feminists, represented nationally by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, the Young Women's Christian Association, the National Council of Women of Canada, and the Federated Women's Institutes, focused mainly on three sets of issues- ______ rights, ____ rights, and _____ reform. These early feminists sought to place the 'woman's role on a more secure ______ footing' rather than attempt to shatter the traditional gender myths that considered the man to be the provider and the woman to be the nurturer.
True to these goals, the tactics Canadian feminists employed were _____ and _______, and were _______ in bringing women the right to vote. Only in the last 35 years of the _______ century did the '______ wave' of feminism begin its attacks on the ______ and _____ bases of inequality. Without this questioning of gender ____, as the women's movement has done over several decades, it is unlikely that women would have made strides towards social and economic _______.
Granting women's demands in one area led to granting demands in ____ areas. After the right to vote in federal elections was granted in ___, five determined suffragists - the so called Famous Five - pushed for changes to the British North America Act that would deem women to be legal '_____' who qualified for appointment to the ______. In 1929, the declaration of ________ for women by the _______ Committee of the _____ Council increased the likelihood that further rights would be forthcoming.
A turning point in gender equalization was the _____ Commission on the _____ of Women, which began in ____ and heard the concerns of individuals and organizations across the country. As well as considering the specifics of women's lives, the Commission also looked at some of the underlying causes of women's ______. one outcome of the Royal Commission's work was the establishment of Status of Women Canada as a government _____, now subsumed within the Department of Canadian ______. Since the Commission, women have continued to push for changes that would bring equality closer to reality.
Feminist ideology, or feminism, is a form of political activism that tries to change the _______ under which men and women lead their lives. Feminism, then, has an ________ goal - it aims to free people from ________. If gender relations always reflect the largest pattern of social relations in a society, then changing gender relations requires _______ those social relations as well. Feminism is one of the social movements that - alongside the antiwar, civil rights, gay rights, anti-racism and environmental movements - have reshaped modern ______ in the last 40 years.
first wave, political, legal, social, material, cautious, moderate, successful, twentieth, cultural, social, roles, equality, other, 1918, persons, Senate, personhood, Judicial, Privy, Royal, Status, 1967, inequality, agency, Heritage, conditions, emancipatory, oppression, changing, politics
Despite major advances in women's ________ and _____ during the twentieth century, ______ of girls and women in the mass _____, especially in television, keep harmful gender ________ alive. In this way, they continue to keep women from achieving full _______ with men or at work.
In the mass media, we still see _______ images of women and men, boys and girls. These gendered images are paralleled in media _________ for consumer items - toys, clothes, cars, beers, and deodorant. This level of culture - _______ - assumes what male people and female people will typically want to do, producing a self-fulfilling _______ - our children turn out to be how these others _____ them to.
Consider Saturday morning children's television : cartoon shows interspersed with commercials aimed directly at girls or boys, typically matched to the show - Barbie dolls (or the equivalent) for girls, droids or Transformers (or the equuivalent) for boys. These programs entertain children, but they also teach them which toys are for them, how we expect them as girls or boys to behave and what we expect them, as gendered beings, to ___ in our society.
Some socially ______ agencies are trying to use commercial media (for example, television advertisements) to promote _____. We will occasionally see, for example, male sports stars talking about problems of violence against women and trying to promote models of _______ that are concerned, caring, and nurturing through strong. However, the idea of a rapid direct _______ influence of media images on viewers, and therefore on society, may be too _______. The media may ______ and _______ culture more than they are able to easily change culture and society.
The mass media may not be the ____ cause of gender inequality in Canada, but they do play a major role in
______ and _______ gender stereotypes. In this way, they help to perpetuate existing _______ between men and women.
opportunities, rights, portrayals, media, stereotypes, equality, gendered, advertisements, commerce, prophecy, expect, want, conscious, change, masculinity, imitative, simplistic, reflect, reinforce, main, creating, upholding, inequalities
Remember what structural functionalists ask of every social arrangement : What ______ does it perform for society as a whole? In this case, how does gender inequality contribute to the ____-____ of a society as a whole? Functionalist theorists starting with _____ ______ would say that a gendered division of labor is the most ______ and ______ way to carry out society's tasks. It may even have ________ survival value for the human race. Mothers, by their early ________ to the child (via pregnancy and breast-feeding), are well-suited to ______ the family's children. Since they are at home with the children anyway, mother are also well-suited to caring for the ________ while the husband is at ____ or ______ the home.
role, well-being, Talcott Parsons, effective, efficient, evolutionary, attachment, raising, household, work, outside
Conflict theorists and feminist theorists, by contrast, always ask the question : Who ______ from a particular social arrangement? In this case, who is best ______ by gender inequality? Marxists would tend to answer this question by ____ ______: capitalism requires the ___ cost social reproduction of a _______ from one ________ to the next. Families are the best and _______ way to raise new _______. Mothers have the job of keeping all the family earners and earners-to-be healthy and well fed, housed, and cared for emotionally. They do this at no ____ to capitalists who will benefit from the _______ value workers produce.
The Marxist approach assumes that working-class ___ and _____ are on the same side both equally ______ of the capitalist class. By contrast, the feminist approach assumes that women have a ______ experience from men and may be _______ by men of their own class, as well as by ________. Therefore, they see gender inequality as mainly serving the interests of men who, by lording it over to their girlfriends, wives, and daughters, at least have someone ________ to them just as they are to their own ______. The theory of _________ - that men are the main and universal cause of women's ________ - is compatible with Marxist analyses that view working-class women as being the victims of ____ _____ and ______ oppression.
benefits, served, class relations, low, workforce, generation, cheapest, workers, cost, surplus, men, women, victims, different, exploited, capitalists, subservient, bosses, patriarchy, oppression, both, class, gender
Symbolic interactionists, for their part, ask : How is an ________ symbolized? For example, how is gender inequality ________, symbolized, and _________ in our society?The presumption is that inequalities arise where social differences have been symbolized, communicated, and negotiated - that is, made into something that is '_____ ___ ______ ' by the population at large. From this standpoint, people are always trying to understand and normalize social interaction through shared _______. Thus, symbolic interactionists are concerned with the ways that gender differences become gender inequalities - for example, the ways that young women become '_______' and turned into sex objects. They would also want to understand how the double sexual standard, which has allowed men more sexual ______ than women, has been 'negotiated' so that many women go along with an agenda that, it would seem to many people, ______ males more than females.
arrangement, negotiated, communicated, taken for granted, meanings, objectified, freedom, benefits
Structural Functionalism (*)
- Elements in society are ________
- Inequality rewards _________ and _______
- Inequality is based on value _______
- Gender inequality stems from what was at one time an effective household ________, which has failed to _______ with the times
interrelated, effectiveness, efficiency, consensus, arrangement, develop
Conflict Theory (*)
- Gender inequality results from ______ for economic and social power.
- Capitalists ______ from gender inequality.
- Gender inequality forces women to maintain the workforce without ___.
struggle, benefit, pay
Symbolic Interactionism (*)
- ________ and ______ shape gender identities
- Most variations between men and women are _______ and ______
- A gendered self develops out of a process of gradual ________, at all levels of social life : women learn to do women's ____ and see themselves as _____ for these tasks.
- M___a, r_____n, and l______e help maintain gender differences
- Double standards are considered _____.
Socialization, labelling, cultural, learned, socialization, jobs, suited, media, religion, language, normal
Feminist Theory (*)
- Gendered inequality is almost ________.
- This inequality is a result of ________ values and institutions.
- Gender inequality ______ men over women.
universal, patriarchal, favors
Social Constructionism (*)
- The creation of gender equality is a social ______
- It usually requires ________ and ________.
- Some social periods are more _______ to equalization than others.
process, organization, leadership, conducive
Related to this approach, social constructionists always ask the question: _____ and ____ did the arrangement emerge? When, for example, did gender inequality begin to _____ in a particular society, what events _______ this emergence, and what individuals or groups were especially instrumental in this process of '_____ __________'? This approach is much more _________ oriented than the symbolic interactionist approach to which it is related. So, for example, a social constructionist would note that gender equality began to ______ (a second time) in the 1960s and 1970s, largely because of the actions of the women's movement.
The women's movement was especially successful because social protest against many things- the rich, imperialists, and racists, for example - was ______ throughout the Western World. The baby boom had _____ and there was ___ desire for child-bearing. However, there was now a desire for ___ family incomes, and therefore a need for more ______ for women. This new agenda - getting women out of the homes and into the ____-world - was aided significantly by the development of reliable _____ ______ that made it possible for people to have sex without having babies. Cutting the _____ between gender, sexuality, and child-bearing was central to the emergence of women as _______ in the working world of men. It also helped ___ and ______ people stake a claim to full social inclusion, for similar reasons.
Notably, all these explanations are _______ with one another. Each focuses on a different aspect of the rise of gender equality. However, by far the most influential approach to studying gender issues has been the ______ approach, and that approach has shaped this chapter.
When, how, emerge, preceded, moral entrepreneurship, historically, increase, prevalent, ended, less, two, education, work, birth control, links, contenders, gay, lesbian, compatible, feminist
As one would expect, issues of gender are involved in most if not all aspects of Canadian _____ life. We have already discussed issues associated with education, work, and income that pose particular problems for women. In this section, we consider _____, _______, and ___-_____.
s0cial, crime, violence, self-esteem
Using data from the General Social Survey, Statistics Canada reported in 2005 that "While overall rates of violent victimization did not differ between men and women, men were at _____ risk of physical assault. Women were at ______ risk of sexual assault.
Although men are sometimes the victims of rape and sexual assault, these vicious crimes are ______ directed towards women. Rape is devastating for the victim not only because of the ______ and ________ violations, but also because the victim must come to terms with the fact that she was attacked solely because of her ______. Rape offenders, who are usually male, typically harbour _________, _______ attitudes towards their victims.
greater, higher, mainly, physical, psychological, gender, misogynistic, sadistic
According to the Ontario Women's Directorate (2009), 83 per cent of all sexual assault victims in Canada are females while 17 per cent are males. A report on family violence in 2005 showed that women are more than twice as likely to be injured in episodes of spousal violence, three times more likely to fear for their life, and twice as likely to be the targets of repetitive abuse. The report also showed that rates of spousal violence were highest among those aged 15-24 (in many instances these individuals were victims of date rape), those in a relationship of three years or less, those who had been recently separated, and those living in common-law unions.
Statistics Canada reported in 2005 that, " As in previous years, most homicides in 2004 were committed by someone known to the victim. Among solved homicides, half were committed by an acquaintance, one-third by a family member, and 15 percent by a stranger " Though Canada's spousal homicide rate has generally been declining since the mid-1970s, women remain much more likely to be killed by their spouse than are men.
In our society, violence against women runs the gamut from verbal and psychological harassment to physical assault, sexual assault, and homicide. Research on criminal victimization in Canada (Sacco and Johnson) shows that "rates of personal victimization are highest among males, the young, urban dwellers, those who are single or unemployed... Risk of personal victimization is also greater among Canadians who often engage in evening activities outside the home and among heavier consumers of alcohol."
Women as well as men commit violent acts. However, data indicate the chances of injury for males and females differ significantly. Since men usually are stronger than women, wives are more often injured than are husbands, even when both partners are acting violently.
WHile women are slightly more likely to start a violent episode - usually by slapping, kicking, or throwing an object - men are more likely to respond with more devastating force - beating, choking, or threatening to use (or actually using) a knife or gun. As a result, nearly half of women (49 per cent) who report being abused by a previous spouse in the past five years in Canada suffered physical injury, compared with less than a quarter (21 per cent) of men. Of these women, 19 pe cent received injuries severe enough to need medical attention; only 5 per cent of men required medical attention. In retrospect, 48 per cent of female victims and 13 per cent of male victims feared for their lives during the ordeal. In 2007, nearly 40,200 cases of spousal violence were reported to police. The prevalence of violence, however, has decreased in Canada by 15 per cent since 1998. Still, women are disproportionately the victims of spousal violence.
One survey of self-reported domestic violence in Canada shows that (1) younger people are more violent to their spouses than are older people; (2) unemployed people are more violent than employed people; but (3) people with less education and lower income are no more violent than those who are highly educated and who have higher incomes. There is also a relationship between a belief in patriarchy and wife-battering. Husbands who believe men ought to rule women are more likely than other husbands to beat their wives. IN turn, a belief in patriarchy depends on educational and occupational level.
Ethnicity is also a factor here. Some cultures in multicultural Canada and elsewhere are more patriarchal than others. Specifically, other things being equal, patriarchal beliefs appeal to lower-status, less educated men, perhaps because they have so little control over other aspects of their lives.
The most prevailing finding is that high rates of domestic violence are associated with high levels of domestic stress. That is, the more stressful events a person reports experiencing the previous year, the more violence will have taken place within the household. Still, even if stress and frustrations result in violence, they do not excuse it. The real problem underlying violence is not stress or frustration but the fact that some men find it acceptable to channel their frustrations into violence towards family members.
Most instances of forced sex occur between people who are friends, acquaintances or even relatives. The result, too often, is that women blame themselves for the experience. Because they know the assailant, they may react passively to the sexual assault. Because they react passively, they blame themselves for not reacting more forcefully. A few even continue in an abusive dating relationship.
Historically, women who faced violence from intimates could not rely on police protection. Because the larger community saw domestic violence as a private matter, police were trained to respond accordingly. In doing so, they reflected the expectation of the community and the criminal justice system that officers should be involved in only the most extreme cases. Police were taught to either defuse the situation quickly and leave, or try to mediate the "dispute". This reinforced a view of the victim and assailant as equal parties with equal power over each other's behavior. Victims were left feeling confused and at fault. Having turned to the police for help, they were left blaming themselves for bothering to call.
Only recently have we come to understand that domestic violence is usually uneven. Even if men do not introduce the physical violence during an argument, once it is launched they tend to use more physical force than women do. Further, men and women often have different goals in using force. Women are more likely to leave an unsatisfactory relationship, while men are more likely to use force to prevent the partner from leaving. Women will use violence mainly to protect themselves. Men will also use violence to compel partners to give them sex. Only recently have law enforcement agencies and the public come to accept spousal rape as a criminal offence. In the past, many considered such behavior, like spousal abuse, to be a private matter between husband and wife.
Another problem that women sometimes must deal with is sexual harassment in the workplace. In fact, according to Status of Women Canada, in 2000 women represented 78 percent of all reported cases of criminal harassment.
Harassment may involve a single incident or several incidents over the course of time. This creates a negative work environment that may interfere with job performance ; it may also result in women being refused a desirable job, promotion, or training opportunity.
The harasser may be a supervisor, a co-worker, or someone who provides service, such as a clerk in a government department.
It is impossible to know the full extent of gender-based harassment in Canada today, since much of it likely goes unreported. Harassment comes in at least two forms. First, sexual harassment may be the open demand by employers for sexual favours in exchange for promotion opportunities, salary increases, and preferential treatment, in other words, quid pro quo sexual harassment. The second type of harassment is subtler, fostering a hostile and unpleasant work environment through sexist remarks, jokes, and insults. This second type of harassment is least likely to be reported.
A rarer but more menacing form of harassment is stalking. Recently, stalking has emerged as a new form of criminal deviance in our society. This crime has gained much attention because it is common and is associated with gendered abuse and violence.
Stalking is a form of relationship abuse that may evolve into violent physical, psychological, and sexual forms. In the year 2003, nine in 10 female victims of stalking in Canada. IN all US stalking cases for the year of 1997, stalkers made overt threats to about 45 per cent of victims ; spied on or followed about 75 per cent of victims ; vandalized the property of about 30 per cent of victims; and threatened to kill or killed the pets of about 10 per cent of victims.
Stalking often follows a relationship breakup or a rejection in a proposed relationship, lost stalkers are former or imagined, rather than current, intimates. Many stalking victims must resort to help from the authorities and seek restraining orders to protect themselves from the emotional abuse and prevent the stalking from intensifying into violence.
Gender discrimination also carries social-psychological costs. For women, decreased self-esteem, increased depression, and other psychological problems often result from derogation by men, awareness of their subordinate status in society, or a failure to achieve the stereotypical ideal female body.
As we have already noted, one are in which this limitation occurs is in the choice of careers. Women are often reluctant to enter professions that involve dangerous, physically demanding work, such as firefighting or the military. By contrast, men are informally, and sometimes directly, cautioned against entering professions that 'undermine their masculinity', such as early childhood education or nursing.
To protect their self-esteem, women sometimes attribute negative criticisms to them about their work or their abilities to prejudice by male evaluators, whether the men actually believe in gender stereotypes or not. This defensive strategy, although understandable, may lead some people to see prejudice where none exists. THis becomes a problem when it leads a person to imagine that every member of the opposite sex (or of a different "race", ethnic group, age cohort, etc) is the "enemy". Sometimes, workplace criticism is just criticism.
Like it or not, people do judge books by their covers and strangers by their appearance. In judging appearance, people often look for points of likeness and familiarity that make them feel secure. Beyond that, they look for evidence of the cultural ideal. People admire others who look prosperous, healthy, and attractive, according to society's standards. Appearance features that approximate the ideal - not merely the familiar - are important because individuals want to fit in and be accepted. Such ideal features make up what we consider "appearance norms".
Society's dependence on and need for social norms - even appearance norms - teach us about deeper cultural ideals of beauty, propriety, and worth. Scarcity alone lends value to some physical qualities - for example, perfect facial features or flawless white teeth - but far from all. Our cultural ideals are manifested by the plentiful photos and media images that glorify so-called ideal men and women. To judge from these image of beautiful people, our culture idealizes youth, a slender toned body, and symmetrical, delicate facial features. Departures from these norms suggest poor genes, poor grooming, or a lack of self-discipline and self-worth. The media spotlight on body image is far more intense for women than for men. As a result, women tend to experience more insecurities about their bodies than men, and are much more likely to starve their bodies into attempted perfection through anorexia or bulimia.
In 1983, eating disorders finally received media attention with the death of singer Karen Carpenter from cardiac complications caused by anorexia nervosa. This was the first time the media focused attention on the life-threatening results of eating disorders and stopped viewing them as simply a group of benign psychiatric illnesses. Anorexia and bulimia came to be seen as a result of women over-conforming to norms of slenderness and sacrificing their health for unattainable cultural goals of 'perfect' thinness.
Adolescent fertility is another big problem for women in North America. Factors predicting non-marital include two proximate determinants of pregnancy - contraceptive use and frequency of intercourse - as well as history of school problems, drug use, fighting, living with parents, length of relationship with boyfriends, and best friends experiencing pregnancies. In short, young women without long-term goals and stable, cordial relationships are more likely to produce children in adolescence. The results are regrettable, for the children as well as for the mother : an end to the mother's education; a limit to the child's economic future; or, all too often, abortion, which effectively has become contraception of last resort. In 2005, for example, 30,534 pregnancies were recorded for young women ages 15-19, and of these, 15,217, or almost 50 percent, were terminated by abortion.
Patriarchy is, by its nature, pro-natal; it views women's primary responsibility as bearing and raising children. Many societies press women to bear as many children as they can, stigmatizing them if they are childless. Yet, high rates of pregnancy often result in high rates of illness and morality. Each year around the world, half a million women die needlessly from pregnancy-related complications, worsened by poverty and remoteness. Many women, especially in developing countries, die during pregnancy and childbirth.
The figure is high in developing nations (450 deaths/ 100,000 live births, compared with 9/100,000 in developed countries), and is unsurprisingly highest in the least developed countries (1,000 death / 100,000 live births). Overall, a woman's lifetime risk of maternal death in developing countries is 1 in 75, while it is 1 in 7,300 in developed countries. These figures are even more striking if they are examined country by country. For example, in 2005 Niger had the highest estimated lifetime risk for women dying from pregnancy and childbirth-related problems with 1 woman out of 7 dying, while Ireland had the lowest risk of 1 in 48,000. World Health Organization reported that in 2000, 529,000 women died from pregnancy-related causes, and for each of these women, 20 more - a total of 10 million women - were left seriously injured or disabled. These deaths, injuries, and disabilities are preventable, and they are symptomatic of women's vulnerability and the violation of their human rights. This fact turns women's health issues into a matter of social justice.
Limitations on women's child-bearing and enforced abortion, as in China, for example, also create serious problems. An experiment in one province in China found that permitting couples two children - rather than the usual one - led to a drastic drop in the abortion rate, equal acceptance of female children, happier parents, and a better-integrated society.
Social constructionism has had considerable success in the sociological study of gender, which, by its very focus on socialization and institutions, undermines notions of biological determinism. Indeed, constructionism has probably become the dominant view of gender in sociology, with some arguing that attempts on the part of 'value-free' science to discover biological gender differences constitute unwitting (or sometimes intentional) efforts to legitimate sexism and gender inequality.
Of import to discussions of gender is the backlash against women's rights movements found in conservative counter-movements. These groups have an interest in framing societal trends in certain ways, for example, describing divorce as a 'problem' associated with moral decline, even as divorce rates have dropped or stabilized.
In thinking about claims-making with regard to gender relations, we should also briefly discuss men's rights movements (or men's rights activists, known as MRAs). These groups vary in values and tactics, but men who are anti-feminist in orientation clearly have an interest in making particular claims about gender roles and the state of relations between men and women in society. For instance, the Promise Keepers are a Christian men's movement that has been characterized as anti-gay and anti-feminist. Such groups may hold...
People with alternative sexual orientations have long suffered from ridicule, discrimination, exclusion, and even violence. Recently, however, public discussions of this topic have been strongly influenced by the current thinking about human rights. Change is also visible in the ways that gays, lesbians, and others present the issue today - as constructionists would say, in terms of 'victim claiming' and 'injustice framing'.
Generally, Canadians expect people to be either homosexual or heterosexual and to act accordingly. In the past, many Canadians considered homosexual behaviour to be problematic. Over the last generation, Canadian public opinion about sexual topics has changed dramatically, however. Attitudes about same-sex intimacy and marriage have become more liberal. Today, few Canadians view homosexuality as immoral or worthy of criminalization, as many did in the past. In particular, people with homosexuals as kin, friends, acquaintances, or workmates are more accepting and knowledgeable.
As a result, in Canada today, most people consider anti-homosexual behaviour - not homosexuality itself - a social problem and a potential violation of hate laws and the human rights codes. To understand how and why Canadian attitudes to sexual orientation have changed, we need first to define our key terms : sexual orientation, gender binary, homosexuality, and homophobia, among others.
Homosexuality is an attraction, physical and emotional, to people of the same sex. It is hard to say whether 'homosexuality' is an act (or set of acts), a preference, or an identity, and it is something occasional, regular, or permanent. Views vary on this topic.
Sexual orientation is defined here as sexual attraction to people of a particular sex (or sexes). The word queer, though once thought offensive by the gay community, has now been embraced by that community as an umbrella term to describe people who identify as anythin gother than heterosexual. However, the term is still not widely accepted in the heterosexual community. So, in this chapter, we will refer to the non-heterosexual community by the inclusive term 'lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered', or LGBT. In much of the literature, however, the preferred acronym is LGBTQ, where the 'Q' stands for queer.
In the early twentieth-century North America, most people held the view that sexuality is fixed and binary. 'Normal' people were supposed to be entirely heterosexual or entirely homosexual. However, the American sexologist Dr Alfred Kinsey - writing in the 1940s and 1950s at the end of a long period of what some called ' Victorian prudery ' - showed tha thuman sexual orientation lies on a continuum, with heterosexuality at one end and homosexuality at the other. Most people are not entirely heterosexual or homosexual; sexual desires reside somewhere between the ends of the continuum. Kinsey also noted that people often do not act on their sexual desires, for fear of attracting censure or stigma. For these reasons, some people who think of themselves as heterosexual yet feel attracted to people of the same sex may not respond to this attraction. Likewise, people who identify themselves as homosexual yet feel an attraction to one or more people of the opposite sex will not act on that.
Like our society, most societies of the world code for only two sexes : male and female. Moreover, most societies consider gender a master status - one of the two most important bases of social differentiation ( the other is age ). Whether a person is male or female is central to that person's social identity. Since distinguishing between maleness and femaleness is so important in most societies, the idea of changing or blurring genders, or crossing genders lines, troubles many people. When someone does not fit clearly into one of the two required categories, many members of society feel uncomfortable.
However, some people fall outside the rigid gender binary: they do not ft easily into either of the socially or biologically defined roles of male and female. As a result, they also do not fit easily into the socially accepted role dichotomies.
The prime examples are transgendered people, who feel that their social identity does not match their biological sex. They do not- cannot - identify with their birth sex and socially assigned gender. For example, they may have male genitalia but identify themselves as women. 'Transgender' is a broad term that denotes anyone whose gender identity falls outside the conventional gender binaries.
The term covers such a broad range of experience, many transsexual people - and many lesbian, gay, and bisexual people as well - have taken on the label of 'transgender'.
The term can include transsexual people who are pre-operative or post-operative, if they have chosen surgical means to change their sex so that it conforms to their own sense of gender. It can also include cross-dressers ( who are sometimes called transvestites ), intersexed people, and people who, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, are viewed by others as atypical of their gender.
As mentioned, some people who identify as transgendered go through various medical procedures so they can transition into the sex they feel they ought to be. The necessary treatments range from simple hormone therapy to more complicated sexual reassignment surgery. For various reasons, not all transgendered people undergo surgery. For example, some women may live with male genitalia because they lack access to surgical procedures, or simply because they do not wish to change physically.
Many view transgendered people as part of the LGBT community; yet some transgendered people feel they do not belong to that community. For example, they must deal with medical and discrimination issues that may be different from those experienced by lesbian and gay members of the community. As well, transgendered people must also deal with different identity issues. For example, imagine Jo- a biological male - who self-identifies as heterosexual and a woman. After surgery to become female, Jo will want to live as a woman. And if Jo still identifies as heterosexual, she may feel little attachment to the lesbian community, choosing instead to live like any other heterosexual woman.
Like other LGBT communities, transgendered communities are typically located in large urban centres. Many transgendered people move to big cities specifically to find their niche. People in big cities tend to discriminate less than people in smaller cities and towns, who are generally less familiar with people outside the sexual mainstream. However, as the account in Box 5.1 indicates, we can find new experiments in living even in small communities.
From a sociological perspective ,the most important step in the sexual 'career' of an LGBT person is 'coming out' - disclosing his or her (until then secret) sexual identity to family, friends, co-workers, and others.
This transition is sociologically important for several reasons. First, until a person comes out, he or she has difficulty fully entering into the LGBT community - a major social transition from the heterosexual world to the homosexual world and, often from old friends and activities to new ones. Second, and equally important, people's identities are linked to the social roles they play. They cannot fully enter into, or endorse a new identity for themselves until they fully embrace the new role that it entails. So, coming out is as much a statement a person makes to oneself as it is a statement to one's partner, friends, family members, and the general community.
Finally, disclosure is important in the organizations where individual lesbians or gay men work. People spend so much of their time and energy at work, it is important they be known for who they really are. However, many fear this may jeopardize their relations with other workers and perhaps even harm their job security. So, coming out at work is a big decision - a big declaration to oneself and others. Sometimes disclosure may not be the best policy. Workplaces and families vary in this respect. In some situations, secrecy is not dysfunctional - it is preferable. In a family, for example, secrecy about sexual orientation may minimize family disruption and stigma by association; and it controls the spread of information to other members of the community.
Some LGBT people delay coming out for years. Others, as camouflage, even marry and raise children with someone of the opposite sex, while recognizing their own deception. They may come out in middle age, after leading a life of secret wishes, desires, and activities all that time. However, coming out ina mid-adulthood, after decades of secrecy and lies, dirupts relationships and leads people to fear the loss of everything they have constructed. Many grieve the loss of a 'normal' life. In short, coming out in mid-adulthood requires great courage and strength, but so does the lengthy delay of coming out.
Coming out affects other people, too. After their child comes out, parents have to deal with a reality that is new, incomprehensible, and perhaps even morally unacceptable to them. On top of that, they must put a good face on it for their friends and relatives. Not all parents are able to do this - at least not very readily - and so not immediately accept and support their children's sexual identities. Some take years to make the adjustment; others adjust quickly and some parents never do.
Throughout history, sexuality has been one of the most debated and problematized of human activities. Most of us conduct our sexual activities in private and grant the same privacy to others. And, most of the time, people ignore the sexual inclinations of others unless these are brought forcefully to their attention. So, once again, we really don't know how many people identify themselves as homosexual, nor are we aware of how many people are having sex with someone of the same sex.
On the other hand, most people are aware of homosexuality and of prominent homosexuals; and this has always been so. For example, a great many people knew and accepted Oscar Wilde - the celebrated Irish playwright - as being homosexual long before anyone thought to charge and imprison him for this then-criminal offence. It was only through the forceful efforts of John Sholto Douglas, the Ninth Marquess of Queensberry and disapproving father of Wilde's aristocratic lover, to discredit the playwright in court that Wilde's homosexuality became a public issue no one could ignore.
Contrast this sexual hypocrisy with ancient Greece, where people considered sexual relations between two men a regular and 'normal' part of life. As a citizen, a Greek man who was old enough to vote was free to have sex with whomever he wished; this included having sex with young boys. The rule, however was that a free man must adopt the position of the 'top' or insertive partner. To 'bottom', or receive, was socially acceptable only for a non-citizen, a woman, or a young boy. For a citizen to assume this bottom position was considered dishonourable and improper. In short, homosexual activity was not only socially accepted; it had its own etiquette.
Moreover, behaviour that we would consider homosexual today, such as anal sex between two males , was not assumed in ancient Greece to reveal a person's sexual identity. The Greeks felt one could not readily infer sexual identity from sexual actions. This meant that the line between homosexuality and heterosexuality was even more blurred in ancient Greece than it is today; but then, no one seemed to care.
Many cultural attitudes about homosexuality changed - indeed, homogenized - with the spread of Christianity and the Catholic Church. In Christian Europe during the early Middle Ages, the Church largely ignored or tolerate homosexual behaviour. Hostility and resentment towards homosexuals surfaced in the thirteenth century, however. The religious writings of Thomas Aquinas spread the idea that homosexuality is unnatural and undesirable, obliging people who considered themselves Christians to condemn homosexual behaviour. As stigma and shame were attached to homosexuality in Christian countries, homosexual behaviour was forced underground. It didn't stop; it merely became hidden.
Even today, homosexual behaviour remains illegal, or, at best, highly regulated in many countries. For example, in several states of the United States, sodomy remained illegal until 2003, when the US Supreme Court struck down laws prohibiting the practice. ( Sodomy is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as anal or oral sexual intercourse with a member of the same or opposite sex, and also copulation with an animal; but enforcement of the law has normally been limited to homosexuals.) it is interesting to note that the same US states that were last to give up sodomy laws were all slave states in the nineteenth century and, for the most part, still practice capital punishment. In short, they are not progressive places.
This connection between anti-homosexual legislation and other forms of punitiveness is found in other countries of the world as well. Generally, countries with restrictive morality laws (for example, Singapore and Saudi Arabia) believe that homosexual behaviour is morally wrong and threatening to society. In these jurisdictions, punishments for homosexual relations may include imprisonment, lashes, or even death. In some countries, these laws only apply to homosexual relations between two men, however. Sri Lanka's law, for example, does not even mention lesbian relations.
Despite the generally oppositional role of Christianity and Islam, not all religions have opposed homosexuality. COnfucian philosophy, which regulated CHina and societies affected by Chinese culture, did not oppose homosexuality unless the family forbade it. So long as sexual activity did not interfere with procreation - a familial duty - confucianism did not forbid sexual relations between men. Still, this did not prevent the development of restrictions on homosexual in Chinese communities like Singapore. The state of Israel, by contrast, has explicitly demonstrated its support for homosexual citizens, despite the opposition of orthodox Jews in the country.
There has also been an observable shift in the attitudes of social scientists towards homosexuality. The period 1975-2001 saw a significant increase in the quantity of psychological research on homosexuals, for example. Sociologists, too, have changed their approach to homosexuality. In the past, they commonly viewed it as a learned social behaviour. Today, a majority of sociologists subscribe to the essentialist school, which grants primacy to biological causes. That is, sociologists - like many others today - view homosexuality as the result of nature, not nurture. With this in mind, one would no more criticize, suppress, or try to change a person' sexual orientation than his age or skin colour.
The dramatic changes of the last few decades owe a lot to the efforts of gay rights activists. In fact, scholars usually trace the beginning of the modern gay rights movement to an 'enforcement' event in New York City's Greenwich Village in 1969.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, underground gay bars and clubs had begun to shape the social experience of gays and lesbians. Mainstream culture, however, still viewed homosexuality as a deviant and dangerous lifestyle. Police regularly raided known homosexual establishments (e.g. clubs and bathhouses) and arrested patrons merely for being present. In June 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn. Unlike earlier incidents, this time the gay patrons fought back. For the first time, homosexuals resisted as a group, marking the start of a long battle for the equal rights of LGBTs - a battle that continues today.
Like the gay and lesbian communities of New York City and San Francisco, Toronto's gay community had been routinely victimized by police raids and harassment. On 5 February 1981, during what came to be known as the Toronto bathhouse riots when Toronto police raided four bathhouses in that city and arrested nearly 300 men as found-ins in bawdy houses, the gay community again fought back. Although the LGBT rights movement has been building for a decade, this event marked a turning point in the movement's history in Canada. Protests ensued, including one in which nearly 2,000 people gathered at Queen's Park (Ontario's provincial legislature) to express their outrage. This was the largest gay demonstration in Canada up to that time. After that, many new gay organizations sprang up in Toronto and existing ones grew rapidly, with ever more access to support and resources. Eventually, the City of Toronto commissioned a report to examine and improve the relationship between police and LGBT community. Everyone recognized it was necessary to normalize relations between the gay and straight communities.
Today, sizable gay and lesbian communities exist in various North American cities. Not only are these communities and their members increasingly visible, but they are increasingly outspoken. Pride celebrations and parades, occasions for the gay community to celebrate their sexuality and demand their rights, take place in almost all the major cities in Canada.
It is no accident this protest happened when and how it did. Sexual protest in North America owed a great deal to the women's movement and to black power protest in the US. Women and urban minorities taught gays and lesbians something important about social mobilization: namely, the importance of institutional completeness - the creation of communities that are fully self-supporting and self-aware. They showed that through group mobilization and institutional completeness minority communities survive; and through community survival, minority identities survive. Activists applied the same principle in building large, diverse homosexual communities in Toronto, Vancouver, and elsewhere.
The Canadian Aboriginal approach to homosexuality gives us a different way of thinking about sexuality in our own culture, for it appears to have solved some problems and avoided others. In recent decades, researchers have replaced the earlier anthropological term 'berdache' with the term 'two-spirit' or 'two-spirited' to refer to North American Aboriginal thinking about Aboriginals who are gay, lesbian, transsexual, transvestite and drag queens or butches, or other who bend traditional and more usual gender categories.
Often, two-spirited or the related concept of the 'third gender' in Native communities is invoked as a sort of myth to accommodate Western notions of transsexuality. However, some have argued that this attempted correspondence risks oversimplifying the 'third gender' concept. It also risks appropriating a non-Western concept for particular (Western) purposes. In this way, the popularization of the third gender concept, Towle and Morgan argue, contributes to ethnocentric idea about other cultures.
The term 'two-spirited', devised by Native activists in 1990, has been used to reconnect with Aboriginal cultural traditions. It signals a fluid sexual identity, and in this respect it moves beyond the binary distinction between gay and straight, male and female, that is common in Western Traditions. However, Aboriginal people who identify as two-spirited not only encounter heterosexism and sexism, but often also suffer racism from society at large and queer identity movements.
Still, the two-spirit concept has been a great resource for Aboriginal activists and organizers. Because it involves both sexual and gender identities, it helps to unify the Aboriginal queer movement. Eliminating the need for seperate gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual organizations, the two-spirit concept has successfully provided culturally sensitive and empowering support for diverse sexual issues.
People who identify as both Aboriginal and LGBT may face particular problems that result from the intersection of these two minority statuses. One study of men who have sex with men found that the Aboriginal subpopulation of this group was less likely to be employed, more likely to live in unstable housing, and more likely to have incomes of less than $10,000. The Aboriginal men were also found to be subject to particular risk factors for HIV infection, including sexual abuse, poverty, mental health problems, and involvement in sex work.
The apparent decline of traditional marriage in North America - formerly comprising a dominant male household head and submissive wife - has made some people worry about the demise of the family. Alongside the LGBT movement, gender politics, sexual politics, and the multiplication of sexual identities have added to a general confusion about intimate relations. From the functionalist perspective, anything that upsets clear role expectations and situational norms is socially disruptice.
So, from the functionalist perspective, the decline of heternormativity and the blurring of gender lines pose problems for social order. On the other hand, functionalists would likely look with approval at the success homosexuals have had in organizing LGBT communities to satisfy their social needs. They have demonstrated that social pluralism works for sexual minorities, as it does for ethnic minorities.
In the past, the pressure of heteronormativity was overt, through social preaching and restrictive laws against homosexuality. Today, the main sources of information - the media, schools, and churches, for example - still hold up a heterosexual lifestyle as the norm. Government, politics, even the arts still display the power of the heterosexual majority. Arguably, it was not until 2005 that a major film, Brokeback Mountain, examined the subject of homosexuality as one possible relationship between men, rather than as a subcultural aberration (Cabaret), source of anguish (The Dresser), or 'camp' entertainment (The Rocky Horror Picture Show; Priscilla, Queen of the Desert).
In the late 1990s, a record number of Fortune 500 corporation began to extend equal benefits to all of their employees regardless of sexual orientation. Today, at least one-third of these huge organizations give their gay and lesbian employees domestic partner benefits, and likely their actions will influence the actions of smaller organizations. Because of their size and wealth, the largest and most powerful corporations act as leaders for the corporate community.
Many large corporations view domestic-partner benefit policies as 'the right thing to do' - a good business policy that helps them compete for the best employees. And a commitment to 'diversity' also attracts customers. IT shows the corporate world trying to upgrade its reputation by including gay issues as part of its diversity programs and policies.
Lesbianism has been connected with various forms of feminism especially in the latter half of the twentieth century to the present. Some theorists have been identified gender inequality and homophobia as springing from the same 'heteronormative sexual ethics'. We can see this in the ways that gay men are popularly feminized and lesbian are ascribed masculine qualities. Moreover, practices of discrimination around sexual orientation often have an underlying gender basis. In short, women are more tolerant of homosexuality than men.
Feminists are particularly inclined to support same sex marriage, since doing otherwise reinforces patriarchal ideals and entrenches traditional gender roles in the family. However, feminism, too, has sometimes employed rigid, heteronormative thinking in defining certain issues like domestic violence. The feminist inclination to explain intimate partner violence solely in terms of patriarchy has weakened its credibility, since IPV afflicts both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and women, in some opposite-sex relationships, are physically abusive as well.
It's true that empirical studies have found a connection between 'masculinity' (as measured by 'masculine behaviors') and IPV perpetration. However, this focus on one factor - masculine assertiveness - among many has encourage heterosexism and limited the delivery of support services to lesbian IPV victims, for example. It has left counselors, police, and other crisis workers insensitive to the particular dynamics of abusive lesbian relationships. In turn, the lack of support and protection for women in same-sex unions have made these relationships more risky.
Symbolic interactionist theories pay attention to the construction and enactment of sexual orientations. They also look at the outcomes of labelling individuals as gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, and so on, and at how these roles are internalized.
Of course, sexual identities, like gender and other social identities, vary from one society to another, and they vary over time. Societies differ in the degree to which sexual identities are conceived to be essential or fundamental and the degree to which they are viewed as immutable and uncontrollable (versus chosen). At the same time, rapid social change in people's attitudes and identities challenges our creativity as a society, as we scurry to invent, learn about, and enact new approaches to sexuality. Some might view this lack of absolutes, or immutable Truths, as a problem, by encouraging us to embrace what is fashionable or acceptable at any given time while undermining the greater social project. However, others might suggest, as we do, that humans are almost infinitely able to change their social relationships and, for better or worse, there have been few if any immutable Truths revealed to the secular human mind so far.
The questions of symbolic interactionists, then, is how do people negotiate different sexualities in different social milieux - some friendlier than others? Further, how do people perceive one another as sexual partners, given different cultural traditions affecting how we view sex, seduction, intimacy, masculinity and femininity? No sociologist has come closer to answering these questions than Stephen O. Murray...
One basic feature of homophobia is 'essentialism' - the belief that all homosexuals have fundamentally the same 'basic' characteristics. Psychologist Gordon Allport proposed that any belief in group 'essences' points to a prejudiced personality.
Essentialist beliefs about sexual orientation vary along two dimensions : the 'immutability' of sexual orientation and the 'fundamentality' of a classification of people as heterosexuals and homosexuals. Immutability refers to the belief that under no circumstances can one change a personal feature - inthis case, homosexuality. Fundamentality refers to the belief that a certain feature - in this case, homosexuality - is central to a person's entire character. Research finds that hostile attitudes towards lesbians and gay men are correlated positively with fundamentalitybut negatively with immutability.
Said another way, people are more likely to hold anti-gay attitudes if they think homosexuals have a choice in their sexual orientation. They are also likely to hold anti-gay attitudes if they think of homosexuality as an essential feature or 'master' status of a person.
Most gay rights activists today agree with the idea that one is born gay, and therefore it is not a choice: homosexuality is immutable and outside a person's choosing. The idea that a person is born gay is widely accepted within the gay community, and it is an idea that is gaining acceptance and support from the heterosexual public. At the same time, people are coming to realize that homosexuality is not a master status : that homosexuals vary as widely - socially and psychologically - as heterosexuals. However, they may vary in different ways, largely related to the fact that heterosexual relationships are (still) largely organized around procreation and child-rearing. This difference is important, but it need not lead to prejudice and discrimination. How does the perception of such a difference lead to prejudice and discrimination.
One approach, an attribution-value theory of prejudice, hypothesizes that people develop prejudice against groups that they feel have a negative attribute for which they are held responsible. According to this theory, prejudice towards a group stems from two interrelated variables : attributions of controllability and cultural value. Thus, according to this theory, prejudice is more likely among people who hold gay men and lesbians responsible for their preferences and see a negative (cultural) value in homosexuality.
George Weinberg's introduction of the term 'homophobia' helped focus society's attention on the problem of anti-gay prejudice and stigma. Weinberg called attention to the irrationality and harmfulness of this prejudice, which is no more acceptable than racism or sexism. However, the term 'homophobia' itself has some limitations. Its main shortcoming is the implication that anti-gay prejudice is a 'phobia' - a feeling based mainly on fear and, consequently, an irrational defence mechanism. This approach, rooted in psycho-analysis, is unable to account for historical changes in the way societies view homosexuality and heterosexuality. If we are to gain a sociological (versus psychiatric) understanding of anti-homosexual prejudice, we need a new vocabulary for discussing such behavior.
To this end, Herek has defined three concepts that together capture the most important aspects of the notion of homophobia : (1) sexual stigma (the shared knowledge of society's negative regard for any non-heterosexual behavior, identity, or community); (2) heterosexism (the cultural ideology that perpetuates sexual stigma); and (3) sexual prejudice (individuals' negative attitudes based on sexual orientation). At present, it is not clear if a shift in any of these is most responsible for the decline in anti-homosexual attitudes in the last 25 years.
People learn a great deal about their normative sexual roles and responsibilities through the mass media. In this sense, then, the media are responsible for teaching us ways to understand sexuality.
Homosexuals, once hidden from movies, television, and other media, are now being portrayed there. Currently, many popular television shows feature at least one gay character; indeed, the token gay character has become a predictable motif just as the token black in advertising and television casting was a generation or two ago. Other television shows have dedicated episodes to gay issues. Research suggests that positive portrayals of sexual minorities in the media lead to more favorable attitudes among heterosexuals. Likewise, the daily news often includes one or more stories dealing with gay issues.
As youth see these positive changes in the media, they feel safer about coming out to their family and friends. LGBT youth now can feel there is a place for them in society.
However, many people within the gay community believe the media fail to represent them accurately. They admit that any representation at all is a step forward, but also note that television shows such as Will and Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy promote an unrealistic, 'sanitized' image of gay men. The gay men portrayed on television are asexual, white, feminized, and well-off - qualities that make them acceptable to the heterosexual public. Moreover, few lesbian women are represented in the mainstream media at all.
The idea of the 'good gay' makes heterosexual viewers more comfortable with homosexuality, yet it may not be accurate in its representation of homosexual life. As noted earlier, there are as many kinds of gays and lesbians as there are heterosexuals; so one might ask why the media cannot show some of this variety.
In short, there is an imperfect but gradually improved public understanding of homosexuality, thanks to the media and other opportunities for greater familiarity. Traditional homophobia has declined significantly in the last two decades as a result. Yet, homophobia has far from disappeared; it continues to pose a problem for homosexuals as a form of prejudice that promotes discrimination and even violence.
The growth of online communities has enabled LGBT people to seek support in their day-to-day interactions. Online communities have also proven useful for some transgendered people who can't access information elsewhere. In addition, these virtual communities can provide support and discussion, as one study found for female-to-male transsexuals who face the difficult task of passing the social 'test' of manhood. They need teaching, not merely medical or biological intervention.
Reproductive technology has also had a large significance for gay, lesbian, and transgendered people who want to become parents. Techniques of surrogacy and artificial insemination have been contested politically, with access to these technologies sometimes being denied to anyone other than straight couples who are unable to conceive through intercourse. These technologies and the political contests associated with them have had important consequences in struggles over parenting and family issues.
Parents of homosexual or bisexual children may have a hard time accepting their children's sexual orientation. They may be disappointed because they have other expectations for their child or because their child's behavior embarrasses them. Their reactions can lead to harsh words, broken relationships, and depression. Parents often believe they want 'what is best' for their children and fear that, if gay, their child will miss valuable opportunities or suffer from discrimination. Often, parents react with 'why did you do this to me?' when in fact a child's coming out has little to do with his or her parents.
In their local and federal policy-making, governments should therefore focus on these similarities. However, governments have resisted becoming closely involved in the inner workings of marriage and parenthood, which they see as private family matters. This is one of the reasons many members of the Canadian government were unwilling to debate whether gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry legally.
The argument to allow same-sex marriage is based on the idea that marriage benefits society by sharing resources, reducing the nee dfor welfare and, in many ways, making them healthy and happy. In short, marriage stabilizes society. Good families support their members, no matter whether they are built around same-sex or opposite-sex couples. Marriage also takes the pressure off governments to provide care, since spouses - whether heterosexual or homosexual - are assumed to do the caring.
As more countries legalize gay and lesbian unions, the number of same-sex couples wishing to adopt and raise children will naturally increase. Some have feared that children growing up in homosexual households would also be homosexual. However, there has been no evidence to support this concern. Among lesbian couples, a mother's sexual orientation neither determines the child's gender development nor increases the likelihood of any psychological problems. Rather, the quality of family relationships - not the sex of the parents - is what influences the child's well-being. Research by Fitzgerald finds similar results for children raised by gay male-parent couples.
Some observers have wondered if children with same-sex parents would develop as well as children with opposite-sex parents. Many studies support the finding that gay and lesbian parents are just as capable in child-rearing as heterosexual parents. Children raised by homosexual parents do not have different behavioral and educational outcomes than children of heterosexual unions, nor do they feel any less loved or accepted by their parents. Further, there is no more chance of children growing up gay or lesbian n a same-sex family than in a heterosexual family.
Some critics of homosexual parenting argue that lesbian unions lack a proper father figure, which could affect the growth of the child. Many gay and lesbian parents wish to dispel the notion that parenting must be synonymous with gendered assumptions about mothering and fathering, and that mothers and father should share a household with their children. Many children of same-sex unions feel they gained important insights into gender relations and broader, more inclusive definitions of family by growing up with same-sex parents.
Until recently, most family research ignored same-sex couple families and their parenting practices. This lack of research resulted in an incomplete picture of what same-sex families are and do. Though more people are now coming to accept homosexuals, attitudes towards gay parents still remain conservative, especially among older and rural people. Only about 20 per cent of Canadians surveyed in Miall and March's study, for example, were in favour of homosexuals adopting children, compared with 92 per cent who supported adoption by traditional married couples.
Schools play an important part in the transmission of attitudes to homosexuality, and many studies have identified the classroom as a place where gender and sexuality are constructed. In the classroom and the schoolyard, most children first encounter the views of their peers about different sexual orientations.
Boys at school often use homophobic terms with one another. But what do they mean when they use these terms? Terms like 'fagg0t' tap a complex array of meanings that have precise meanings in peer cultures. Boys quickly learn to use these homophobic terms against others. Significantly, the evocative use of homophobic terms commonly occurs before puberty, before boys gain an adult sexual identity and before they know much, if anything, about homosexuality. As a result, early learning provides an entry into understanding adult sexual identities and, significantly, powerful homophobic codes are learned first.
No wonder, then, that hate and fear persist around issues of homosexuality. To combat this, Bill C-250, was passed in 2004, making it a crime in Canada to spread hateful views about other people's sexual orientation. Under this bill, homosexuals are now among the groups protected against hate crimes under the Criminal Code, a list that includes racial, religious, and ethnic minorities.
Unfortunately, such hate crimes continue to be a problem. A study of gay and lesbian victims found that strangers in public places were the most likely to perpetrate hate crimes. However, victimization occurs in other locales, too, and perpetrators can include neighbours, schoolmates, co-workers, and even relatives. As with date-rape, not all experiences of victimization are reported. Many people have concerns about police bias and fear that public disclosure of their sexual orientation will influence how officials respond, making them reluctant to report anti-gay crimes; they also fear that perpetrators, if reported, will go unpunished and take revenge. Such concerns are typical among all victims of assault, however.
Many companies today claim to seek diversity in their employees. They stress that they are equal opportunity employers and that all minorities, including gays and lesbians, have an equal chance of being hired, promoted, and treated fairly once employed. These claims sound reasonable, yet many companies do not always follow through on their promises. As a result, many gays and lesbians feel a need to hide their identity while at work for of discrimination.
Gay men and lesbians who experience discrimination in the workplace are sometimes unwilling to report it, however. Doing so would often mean revealing their sexual identity to even more people. most people want to keep their personal lives quiet, and reporting discrimination can mean publicizing one's private life to the entire office. Yet gay rights groups warn that if harassment goes unreported, nothing will ever chance. Homosexuals who experience discrimination clearly have an important decision to make. Moreover, the law is on their side. Provincial human rights codes and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms make it illegal to discriminate against a person based on his or her sexual orientation. It is also illegal, therefore to discriminate against someone who is in a same sex relationship.
But because employers are reluctant to invoke the law, bosses can make the workplace environment more (or less) friendly for gays and lesbians. Factors creating a more comfortable environment for homosexual workers include suppor tfrom top management, policies to prevent discrimination, the presence of LGBT employee netwrks, and a non-heterosexist organizational climate. Conversely, conditions that influence a person to 'stay in the closet' at work include a lack of racial balance and work teams that are composed mostly of men. Having a male supervisor also increases the likelihood of staying in the closet, as people report experiencing more discrimination and homophobia under male supervisors.
When the HIV/AIDS epidemic began in the early 1980s, the US government was reluctant to help communities in need. The virus seemed to affect only injecting drug users and 'men who have sex with men' - people who were held responsible for their illness, as they were popularly believed to have complete control over their own risky behaviors. Given the belief that HIV was not affecting heterosexuals and drug abstainers, little was done to stem the growing epidemic. Most doctors at the time were uninformed about how to deal with HIV infection, and they were reluctant to learn about it, treat it, or help people who became HIV-positive.
In the early days, news reports called it a 'gay disease'. For a long time, people were unsure exactly how HIV/AIDS was passed from one person to another and, therefore, how its transmission could be prevented. Large numbers of gay men in gay communities, in New York City for example, were dying of the disease. AIDS activists tried to raise awareness about the sick and dying communities of gay men infected with the virus by calling attention to the epidemic and pointing out that government inaction was letting more and more people die.
This official indifference and lack of support outraged the gay communities. Many felt certain that if HIV were to affect heterosexual people in large numbers, the government would take immediate action. This sense of outrage led to the forming of organization for action and support, including the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACTUP)- now one of the largest AIDS organizations fighting for awareness and research about HIV/AIDS. In New York City, posters with slogan 'silence = death' appeared everywhere around the city.
Today, we know that HIV affects more than just homosexuals. Television commercials, posters promoting the use of condoms, and news and other forms of media have spread a public awareness of the problem. There is also more awareness of the AIDS crisis in Africa and of rising HIV rates among young North American women. Members of the gay community, through their activism, were pioneers in promoting this awareness about HIV/AIDS, by demanding more research, more access to drugs and treatment, and more protection of the rights of HIV-positive people. These actions have benefited all people infected with the virus, regardless of their sexual orientation.
The health problems facing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people may not be caused by homophobia, but they are often worsened by the homophobia and heterosexism of some doctors and other medical professionals. Sometimes, simple ignorance of LGBT issues - not hostility - leads doctors and other health professional to treat their LGBT patients insensitively or unprofessionally. Such institutionalized homophobia frightens many homosexual people. People who fear they will be judged or misunderstood are likely to visit the doctors less often, thus leading to poorer health.
Nor is sexual reassignment surgery the only medical issue facing transgendered people. Some children are born intersexed, with ambiguous genitalia. These may include, but are not limited to, Turner syndrome, 5-alpha reductase hermaphroditism, or androgen insensitivity syndrome. In cases like these ,the child may be born with both a vagina and a small penis but no testicles, for example; then, a difficult decision has to be made. Because our society works on a rigid gender binary, both doctors and parents may feel that they must choose a single gender for the child and perform the surgery accordingly. Often, repeat genital surgeries are needed as the child gets older, mainly for cosmetic purposes to make the genitals look more 'normal'.
The doctors who perform these surgeries believe that a child cannot develop properly with ambiguous sexuality, so the doctor and family must make a decision about whether the child is to 'become' male or female. These decisions, and the important actions that follow, are stressful for the doctors, parents, and the children themselves.
One of the greatest changes in recent years has been the establishment of sexual orientation as a personal domain legally protected from discrimination.
In Vriend v. Alberta, a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada case, Delwin Vriend - a lab instructor at King's University College in Edmonton - argued that he was unjustly fired because of his sexual orientation. This challenge was necessary because sexual orientation was not included under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Gay and lesbian activists in the early 1980s had sought specific inclusion in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and in the Alberta Individual Rights Protection Act as a basis for legal protection against discrimination, but did not succeed.
Vriend successfully challenged this by arguing that sexual orientation is similar to other grounds stated in Section 15 of the Charter, such as race, religion, and sex, and should ...
The actual numbers are important, because they influence the extent of government funding for this community. Tom Smith of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago reports that 'few debates have been so contentious as the controversy over the sexual orientation of Americans.' The gay and lesbian communities have long adopted 10 per cent as the portion of the population that is homosexual. However, a series of recent national studies indicate that only about 2-3 percent of sexually active men and 1-2 per cent of sexually active women are currently homosexual. These national American estimates are consistent with figures from local communities in the United States, indirect measurements, and statistics from Great Britain, France, Norway, and Denmark.
Rates of same-gender contact increase as the reference period is extended. Recent US figures indicate that 3.0 per cent of sexually active males have had a male sexual partner in the last 12 months. 3.9 percent during the last five years, and 5.9 percent since age 18. As the time frame is lengthened, the percentage of men with only male partners declines. Most of those who report both male and female sexual partners since age 18 report only opposite-gender partners during the last year. Lesbians follow these same patterns.
The 2001 Canadian census also revealed that 15 percent of lesbian couples and 3 percent of gay couples are raising children. These data, while probably underestimating the number of gay and lesbian couples, begin - finally - to number homosexual people among Canadian citizens.
Like other minority groups, homosexuals and lesbians have tried to educate the public, change the laws, and form self-protective organizations. Two kinds of organizations created by the gay community have been especially effective. The first includes formal and informal support groups. The second kind presses for political and social change by educating people outside the gay community. The latter organizations include Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere (EGALE), Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), among others. Their goals are to change policies and attitudes about people who identify as homosexual.
In recent years, there has been an increased emphasis on educating students about homosexuality. Groups such as Teens Educating and Confronting Homophobia (TEACH) have tried to teach their peers about being LGBT. Speakers present their 'coming out
stories to high school and university classes. Their goal is to get students to understand that LGBT people deserve the same respect as heterosexuals.
Some high schools include information about homosexuality in their sex education classes; and many urge their teachers to stop assuming all their students are heterosexual. These changes in education are steps in the right direction, but discrimination and harassment of gay students remains an issue. Many high school or elementary students use the term 'that's so gay' when referring to something they dislike, or use the term '******' to make fun of other students. Groups like TEACH work towards making young adults aware of the harmful effects of such casual use of homophobic language.
British Columbia has led the way in trying to solve the problem of homophobia in schools. To become familiar with the problem, a Safe Schools Task Force travelled around the province, hearing about school experiences of gay- and lesbian - identified youth.
All societies have rules about good and bad behavior, and they all punish bad behavior. Economically developed societies like Canada's proliferate and codify these rules - that is make formal rules called 'laws' - about what their members can and cannot do; and they use large, specialized agencies - the police and courts - to enforce these rules.
We know these formal rules as laws; and when someone breaks a law, we say the he or she has committed a crime. Such laws are important tools for promoting good behavior - if people know the police and courts will enforce these laws. The regularity of enforcement and harshness of punishment, in turn, reflects how seriously a society takes the offending behavior.
Social order exists only when people obey rules. Though most of us don't like the following rules we didn't make ourselves, social order is better than social disorder, for with social order, life is more predictable and
'safe'. The rules in place not only serve to show which behaviors are acceptable, they also allow people to predict the behavior of others. But social order does not emerge routinely out of kind impulses and spontaneous co-operation; there are simply too many people and too many competing interests for this to happen. Order must be manufactured and protected. Under the best circumstances, a social order emerges that is fair and widely accepted.
A few crimes that are common, easily investigated, and cheaply prosecuted account for most of our criminal statistics at any given time. Chiefly, these are simple assaults and property crimes, what criminologists call 'street crimes'. So, changes in a society's crime rate likewise reflect changes in the reporting and prosecution of a few particular crimes. Changes in the crime rate also reflect changes in victims' willingness to report crimes and the ability of police to investigate them.
The most important thing to understand about criminal statistics is that the most familiar of them - statistics for conviction and or imprisonment - offer the palest reflection of the total amount of crime in Canadian society. By contrast, a strong but - for obvious reasons - not always reliable picture is provided by victimization statistics. The reason is that criminal justice operates like a funnel: of the many criminal incidents, only a few are reported, and of these even fewer result in arrests and convictions, let alone imprisonment. This is nicely depicted in Figure 7.1 below. Though the data are from a decade ago, the process, and resulting funnel shape, has not change for decades.
For this reason, when criminal statistics change, we often have trouble knowing if this reflects a change in the incidence of crime or in the enforcement of laws against crime. As the data in Figure 7.2. show, in the past decade, the Canadian crime rate has been falling - indeed, has continued to fall - and so has the severity of the average crimes committed.
Measuring the total rate of crime is difficult since both police reporting and self-reporting typically are incomplete. Victimization surveys may yield a more precise amount, because victims have a closer connection to the crimes committed; they have directly suffered the effects. In victimization surveys, samples of people report how often, within a given period, they have been the victims of particular crimes. However, these surveys, too, are subject to distortion. Thus, all of the sources on which we rely for our information - including official statistics on arrest, conviction, and imprisonment, self-reports, and victimization statistics, are incomplete and possibly biased.
As the data in Figure 7.2 suggest, it is useful to consider the seriousness of the crime 'problem' in Canada. According to a Statistics Canada report in 2008, a decrease in the number of break -ins made a key contribution to the drop in the severity of overall crime in a 10-year period. Over the same period, the seriousness of violent crimes remained stable. The crime index that tracks changes in the severity of police-report crime assigns each offence a weight, with more serious crimes like break-ins and robberies assigned higher weights and others, like shoplifting, lower weights. According to the index, overall crime severity fell by 20 percent from 1998 to 2008, driven by a 40 per cent drop in break-ins.
Contrary to the impression presented on the nightly news, violent crimes account for only about 10-12 percent of total crimes reported in Canada. Yet, criminologists refer to these types of offences as conventional crimes because they are the illegal behaviors that most people think of as crime. Also, they are crimes that most people agree are serious and deserve harsh punishment. They are conventional in every sense except their relative rarity.
The most headline-grabbing violent crime is homicide, the killing of one person by another. Homicide can be subdivided into two categories, murder and manslaughter, depending on whether the homicide involves malicious intent. Typically, men are more likely to be involved in homicides than women, both as victims (67 percent of victims are men). Contrary to what the media suggest,, we tend to kill and to be killed by people close at hand. Victims of homicide are more likely to be killed by a family member or acquaintance, for example, than by a stranger. Still, homicides are rare in Canada. Homicide and attempted homicide accounted for only 0.4 percent of all crimes of violence in 2004, for example.
By contrast, assaults are common, accounting for nearly 90 percent of all violent crimes reported. Assaults can be differentiated depending on whether a weapon was involved or if major bodily harm was inflicted. Sexual assault, most seriously rape but also sexual harassment, is another form of violent crime. Social science and law enforcement experts agree that most sexual assault victims probably do not report their experience to the police.
Most crimes committed in Canada, as already suggested, are non-violent crimes. The major non violent crimes include theft, mischief, and property damage; drug production and trafficking; and breaking and entering.
In this category we also find vice crimes, including the use of illegal drugs illegal gambling, communication for prostitution, and the possession, distribution, or sale of child pornography. These crimes provide the greatest opportunities for organized crime, since most societies bar legal access to these goods and services, yet many people are willing to pay for them nevertheless.
White-collar crimes can be defined as crimes 'committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation' (Sutherland, 1949). These include fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, computer crime, and forgery, and they can amount to anywhere from hundreds to millions of dollars. Often, white-collar criminals take advantage of gaps in the social structure - for example, loopholes or confusions about new laws or economic conditions - to profit from their crimes. They prosper wherever governments decline to supervise the economic marketplace, as has happened increasingly in capitalist societies over the past 30 years. Typically, governments give white-collar crime a lower priority than conventional crime, despite evidence that white-collar crime does economic, physical, and psychological harm to a much larger number of people than does street crime.
North Americans are fascinated by the glamour and excitement of organized crime, as depicted in numerous films and television programs. However, organized crime is far from glamorous - it is vicious, harmful big business with transnational networks that reach across the globe. Organized crime rings that currently exist in Canada include the Sicilian Mafia, Chinese Triads, the Big Circle Boys (Chinese), the Colombian Mafia, the Russian Mafia, and motorcycle gangs like the Hell's Angels an Outlaws. These groups have been variously involved in vice crimes - drug trafficking, prostitution, extortion, bribery, money laundering, and pornography - as well as in assaults, homicides, and contract killing, kidnapping, human trafficking, counterfeiting, insurance fraud, auto theft, truck hijacking, and the illegal arms trade. Worldwide, the gross value of organized crime activities has been estimated at between $600 billion and $1.5 trillion (Knight and Keating).
Early sociologists believed that crime results from poverty and crime in poor neighborhoods results from social disorganization : the more disorganization, the more crime. After around 1940, however, with the publication of Willian Whyte's classic Street Corner Society, sociologists changed their views. They came to recognize that crime - especially crime in poor neighborhoods - was often highly organized and, indeed, often connected to 'organized crime'. It was also closely connected with the social, political, and economic life of the people in the community. Crime, then, was a basic part of city life - and, indeed, of national corporate and political life.
Modern organized crime today operates at the crossroads of legitimate and illegitimate business, family, and formal organization. It has as strong connections to white-collar crimes as it does to vice crimes. Organized crime draws on the talents of professionals and amateurs, older and younger criminals. What organized crime shows us is that crime is a learned, organized social activity with historical and cultural roots - not disorganized irrationality. It is often grounded in traditional notions of kinship and friendship, honor and duty, for example. Organized crime is by nature a social phenomenon, not a departure from normal social life. It is fully a part of our society, and plays a crucial role in the world's economic and political activities.
Organized crime in urban North America prospers under four key conditions. First, organized crime flourishes under conditions of scarcity and inequality and, often, strong family traditions. Second, it is common where poverty and prejudice keep people from moving easily to work elsewhere. Third, organized crime provides protection in communities that lack good access to welfare, health care, good-quality education, and police protection. Finally, organized crime flourishes among people who lack human capital and cultural capital. North American capitalism is one type of economic and social system that produces these conditions, though it is not the only one. In these respects, South American neo-feudalism and Russian neo-capitalism produce these conditions just as well, and failing and failed states, and those societies undergoing rapid change, provide a breeding ground for organized crime; for example, post-Communist Russia; Iraq; Afghanistan; Albania.
Members of the Canadian population are unequally likely to commit crimes and unequally likely to be victimized by criminals. In some instances, these two go together: for example, young, less-educated men are more likely to be both perpetrators and victims of crime than the Canadian adult average, especially for crimes like assault.
However, Figure 7.3, which indicates the relative risks of victimization for disadvantaged groups, suggests that some Canadians are disproportionately likely to be victimized. We will
Sociologists know that crime rates reflect at least three realities and only one of these is the commission of crimes. First, there are the actions of the criminals: they commit the crimes that are measurable and measured. Second, there are the activities of victims: they may choose to report or not report information about crimes to which they have been subjected. Third, there are the actions of police : they investigate and document the 'facts' of the crime and may or may not lay charges.
As individuals, some people are at higher risk of victimization than others. These risk factors include demographic variables, such as being male, young, unmarried, or unemployed. As well, some neighborhoods are riskier than others. Many factors determine the safety of a neighborhood or community : socio-economic vitality, social cohesion and trust, community resources and infrastructure, and mechanisms of informal social control. In general, crime rates go up when neighborhoods decline - for example, with drops in average household income and home ownership. As crime increases, a vicious circle is established, driving community cohesion down and crime up.
Suitable targets are people who are routinely exposed to crime or who, for other reasons, have heightened vulnerability. For example, taxi drivers have a greater than average risk of victimization because of their repeated interaction with strangers at night. Gay men and lesbians have a higher than average risk of assault because of hostile public attitudes towards them in some quarters. Tourists are more likely than natives of the same class background to experience victimization while on holiday in a strange place.
Three characteristics put people at particular risk of victimization. They are the target's vulnerability (for example, a physical weakness or psychological distress), gratifiability (for example, female gender for the crime of sexual assault), and antagonism (for example, an ethnic or group identity that may spark hostility or resentment) (Finkelhor and Asdigian, 1996). With some exceptions, poor and powerless people are more vulnerable than rich and powerful people, with one exception : people with more and better property - larger homes, newer cars - are more likely to have their property stolen (Mesch, 1997).
As we have noted several times, women run a higher risk of certain kinds of victimization than men do. For some crimes, such as assault, men are more likely to be victimized by strangers or acquaintances, while women are more likely to be victimized by intimates.
Elderly people run higher risks of victimization than middle-aged people, especially for crimes of robbery, intimidation, vandalism, and forgery or fraud. Robbery is the most serious offence committed against elderly victims, and men and women are equally likely to experience it (Bachman et al., 1998). Their risk of theft-related homicide is also relatively high because seniors are more likely than younger people to be seen as suitable targets and lack capable guardians. This risk is particularly high among seniors who are socially isolated.
At the other end of the age distributions, juveniles aged 12-17 are more likely than adults to be victims of violent crimes and suffer from crime-related injuries. Juvenile victims are more likely to know the people who victimize them (Hashima and Finkelbor, 1999). A Canadian study of high school students in Calgary found that, except for sexual victimization, males report higher victimization rates, in and out of school, than females. As well, younger students report higher rates of victimization at school than older students. Finally, students who report moderate to high levels of victimization are more likely to report moderate to high levels of delinquency (Paetsch and Bertrand, 1999) confirming the link between crime and criminal victimization.
Immigrants and ethnic minorities are at higher than average risk of victimization, especially for crimes against persons. In some instances, these may be 'hate crimes'. Gay men and lesbian women are also victims of hate crimes. Recent debates about the cultural and legal status of sexual-orientation minorities have increased the awareness of violence against gays and lesbians (Tweksbury et al, 1999). It is not clear whether anti-gay violence has increased, however. Our information about the extent of hate crimes against these groups is hindered by a reluctance of gays and lesbians to report victimization because of additional concerns about police abuse.
Inmates of 'total institutions' also suffer high risks of victimization. Common offences against prisoners include assault, robbery, threats of violence, theft of property from cells, verbal abuse, and exclusion (O'Donnell and Edgar, 1998; Wooldredge, 1998). The main perpetrators are other prisoners; though much has been said and written about the abusiveness of guards, such abuse is harder to document.
Being the victim of a crime is painful and stressful. Often, however, the trauma does not stop with the crime itself. The victim may suffer additionally as she navigates the complex and often frustrating justice system in the hopes of seeing justice done.
Secondary victimization refers to 'the victimization which occurs, not as a direct result of the crime, but through the response of institutions and individuals to the victim' (Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, 2005). Examples of secondary victimization include the refusal by law enforcement officers to recognize an individual's experience as a victim of crime and intrusive or inappropriate conduct by police of judicial officers. Psychological stress associated with criminal investigation and trial process, and criminal justice processes and procedures that ignore, marginalize, or discount the role and input of the victim are other problems victims often face. They all serve to discourage victims from seeking official assistance after victimization.
As we noted in the first chapter, social constructionism looks at how deviant behaviors come to be defined as 'deviant'. This perspective stresses that no behaviors are inherently right or wrong; they become wrong, deviant, or criminal only when someone in power attaches a moral label to them.
As a result, we can view hate-motivated violence, or hate crime, as a social construct. Some deny that hate crimes are different from, or need different treatment from, equally severe crimes or violence. The specification of 'hate crime' was originally developed to combat expressions of racial, ethnic, and religious prejudice. In recent years, gays, lesbians, children, and women have been seen as potential victims of hate crimes, too. The enlargement of this umbrella to protect more types of victims has resulted from claims-making by special interest groups documenting such crimes and calling for legal remedies.
Constructionist theories illuminate the ways in which the notions of crime, violence, and criminality are built up and sustained. However, there is currently no agreement on how best to depict crime and violence, if our goal is to prevent or deter such acts. For example, stories about violence against women that depict incidents as somehow routine or inevitable may lead to a 'culture of resignation', which is as dangerous in its own way as a moral panic. In short, while few researchers would deny that violent crime - domestic and otherwise - is problematic in society, the extent to which there is a 'crime problem' is always open to debate.
This theory can be most easily viewed as functionalist theory, because it is about the ways people, through simple association, are socialized into their criminal environment and reproduce the prevailing order. There are two distinguishing features of differential association theory. First, it is a sociological rather than psychological theory; it proposes that people are social and imitate one another, to gain acceptance and approval. Second, it is a theory that assumes social organization, not social disorganization; crime is a result of too much of the 'wrong kind' of organization, not too little of the 'right kind' of organization.
Living in a high-crime neighborhood and merely seeing others benefit from a criminal lifestyle are enough to raise the likelihood of someone engaging in similar illegitimate activities. Seeing criminals act illegally, without seeing them condemned or punished, is likely to teach people not only the techniques of crime. but also the motives for, rationalizations of, and attitudes of such a lifestyle. In this respect, jails are graduate schools for crime. Time spent in jail or prison is time spent fostering friendships, dependencies, and interests that lead to continued anti-social behaviors on release from prison.
The crimes most often featured in the media are violent street crimes. And, of all the people arrested for violent street crimes, most are under-educated ,poor, unemployed, or working in low-wage, low-status jobs. Other kinds of crimes and criminals receive less attention, both from the media and the police.
Conflict theories have a lot to say about this tendency of police and courts and politicians to target lower-income criminals and overlook upper-income criminals. They suggest that if police explored corporate, occupational, and political crimes nearly as energetically, they would find equally high rates of crime among the wealthy. As a result, 'the wealthy might even be convicted and punished more than the poor' (Pepinsky and Jesilow, 1984:81).
However, the arrest and conviction of poor people is not merely a result of bias in the police and courts (Bush, 2010). The existing social order generally treats poor people worse than it treats the rich and well-educated. John Braithwaite (1993) provides a useful distinction between what he calls 'crimes of poverty' and 'crimes of wealth'. The former are motivated largely by a need to get goods for personal use, and the latter by a greedy desire to obtain goods for exchange - that is, goods beyond those needed for personal use. Social inequality and economic inequality promote both kinds of crime. A system of wide inequality and extreme competitiveness results in a class of needy poor and a class of greedy rich. A large middle class, meanwhile, strives endlessly to avoid falling into the former succeed in rising into the latter category.
Class, gender, and age are not the only social characteristics that predict criminality and conviction. Over the last few decades, Canadian researchers have paid more attention to unduly large number of Aboriginal people arrested and convicted of law violations. Aboriginal adults make up only 2 percent of the Canadian population according to the 1996 census, yet they made up 19 percent of those people sentenced to provincial custody and 17 percent of those sent to federal penitentiaries in 2000. In other words, they were about eight or nine times more likely to end in jail than their numbers in the population would lead one to expect.
This over-representation of Aboriginals in the criminal justice system is especially striking in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In Manitoba, for example, Aboriginal people make up only 9 percent of the population but 69 percent of the prison population. As well, compared to the non-Aboriginal inmates, Aboriginal inmates are younger, more likely to come from dysfunctional backgrounds, and likely to have had more run-ins with the criminal justice system, that is, more previous arrests.
One common explanation is that, like some other ethnic groups, Aboriginal people are mostly poor, and poverty drives them to crime. Other explanations include a racially prejudiced law enforcement and correctional system; a conflict between the values of Aboriginal culture and mainstream Canadian culture; social and economic consequences of colonization and oppression by European settlers; and a breakdown in the traditional social fabric of Aboriginal communities. These explanations are not mutually exclusive. In fact, these factors support and interact with one another.
It is likely that any solution to this problem will require more cultural sensitivity on the part of non-Aboriginal policy-makers than in the past. Indeed, many of the more promising initiatives - healing and sentencing circles, First Nation police forces, elders' courts and so on- are being developed by Aboriginal communities themselves.
However, because Canadian authorities do not tabulate crime statistics by the race of the offender, the connection between race and crime is hard to flesh out quantitatively. In general, we know little about the racial characteristics of people convicted of committing different crimes, and many people would say that is a good thing. Many police forces oppose
Crime is also hard on criminals, and for most offenders, a life of crime is stressful. Always looking over one's shoulder, on guard against the authorities, leads to an unhealthy level of stress that eventually harms a person's health.
Prisons are especially harmful to one's health. The criminal justice system, with it reliance on punishment and coercive social control, increases the risk of drug abuse and HIV/ AIDS infection, among other things (Welch, 1999). Violent assaults, rapes, unsanitary and overcrowded conditions, and staff brutality also harm the prisoners' health. Prisons, lacking the facilities to do otherwise, often ignore all but the most severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders. As a result, in prison, post-traumatic stress disorder, often from rape and violent assaults, can go undiagnosed or untreated because of inadequate treatment resources, fears of stigmatizing the inmates, and lack of anonymity and safety (Kupers, 1996).
At the same time, some aspects of prison life are intended to pose health risks to inmates. These mechanisms are part of a strategic ceremonial degradation of prisoners, to break their will and increase their submission. Michael Vaughn and Linda Smith (1999) list six forms of intentional ill-treatment in prison facilities: (1) the use of medical care to humiliate prisoners (e.g. invasive procedures that may not be necessary); (2) the withholding of medical care from prisoners with HIV and AIDS; (3) the withholding of medical care from other prisoners; (4) the subjection of inmates to sleep deprivation and extreme temperature changes. (5) the use of dental care as a means of torture; and (6) the falsification of prisoners' medical records.
While these health risks are common in all prisons, they may not be as common in some prisons as in others, and they may not be as consciously intended in all cases. However, it seems safe to say that prisons are not designed to ensure the well-being of prisoners. Since prisons are run with efficiency, not prisoners' health, in mind, at least some penal health-care providers may violate their professional ethics from time to time.
Not all crimes are violent, but the violent crimes are most likely to make news and remain in our minds. Violent crimes can shatter people's lives. As well, such crimes may create (a) diminished faith in a free economy and in business leaders, (b) loss of confidence in political institutions, processes and leaders, and (c) erosion of public morality (Moore and Mills, 2001: 54).
At the societal level, violent crimes breed fear and wear down the neighborhood cohesion. People grow suspicious of one another; in turn, increased isolation and social distance reinforce prejudicial stereotypes based on race, gender, and age. As the US National Research Council (1994: 5-6) concluded, ' If frightened citizens remain locked in their homes instead of enjoying public spaces, there is a loss of public and community life, as well as a loss of "social capital" - the family and neighborhood channels that transmit positive social values from one generation to the next.'
There are harmful outcomes for the criminal, too, especially the psychological and social issues that must be dealt with after being labelled a 'criminal'. Sometimes, these harmful outcomes increase the likelihood a criminal, after labelling, will become a repeat offender.
Not all criminals become repeat offenders after their release from court, probation, jail, or prison. However, a criminal record often takes away many opportunities. Convicts returning to the community from prison are sometimes greeted with unease and fear. Many cannot find jobs, or the jobs they can find are often degrading and menial. At the least, an ex-convict carries the social stigma of having once been a criminal. Some find a return to the criminal lifestyle is the only available means of survival. This produces a vicious circle: a first act of (primary deviance) results in labelling. In turn, labelling leads people to expect further acts of (secondary) deviance, so they close their doors to the ex-convict. The closing of doors, in turn, fulfills these expectations, forcing some criminals to return to illegal ways of earning a living.
Communities are better off preventing crime than punishing it. Investments in crime prevention can include improving education, creating jobs, supplying daycare, upgrading low-income housing, increasing access to health care, and otherwise supporting poor families. All of these front-end strategies to prevent crime are likely to work better, in the long run, than trying to cure crime through imprisonment.
Other useful strategies of crime reduction may include more use of probation, better gun control, and expanded treatment for drug addicts (Anderson, 1994). Reducing crime means addressing the social factors that are directly related to producing crime. This means reducing teenage pregnancies, high school dropout rates, youth unemployment, drug abuse, and the lack of job opportunities.
Part of the crime problem in many societies is that people feel dissatisfied with and distrustful of public officials and institutions - especially politicians, police , lawyers, and courts. Though they dislike crime and criminals, they also dislike and distrust people in authority.
Though the crime rates have been declining for over a decade, there is still much public frustration about crime and victimization in Canada, not all of it the result of media manipulation. Some of it reflects the inadequacy of the justice system to prevent or deter crime. The Canadian criminal justice system is largely based on the principle of deterrence. This principle assumes that most crimes are rational acts in which the offender weighs the imagined benefits of committing the crime against the chance of being caught and the severity of the punishment. This assumption may be unwarranted. The implication is that the threat of punishment will keep most people from breaking the law, or from breaking it a second time.
However, a criminal justice system based on deterrence assumes that the likelihood of being punished is high - that is, that law enforcement agencies are efficient in catching offenders. This assumption also may be unwarranted. The deterrence approach ignores the subcultural (criminal) socialization that takes place in jails and prisons. ANd, worst of all, a deterrence-based approach to criminal justice fails to address the societal, economic, and political factors that encourage crime: unemployment, racial inequality, poverty, and the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities.
In the past few decades, a victims' rights movement had emerged that seeks to expand the rights of crime victims (Carrington and Nicholson, 1984). This grew out of the feminist movement, in particular, in response to domestic violence and sexual abuse. All of Canada's 13 provinces and territories have now set up a victim's Bill of Rights that is similar to statutes enacted by other jurisdictions worldwide. Though the precise rights vary from one jurisdiction to another, they all include access to information throughout the trial; the right to file a victim impact statement at sentencing; compensatory damages for victimization; offender restitution; notification of parole hearings; and the right to submit a victim impact statement at parole hearings (Smith et al., 1990).
Though not binding 'rights' they serve as guidelines for the judicial officers to keep in mind as they conduct their cases. Only in Manitoba
Ascribed statuses are social statuses assigned to people or groups beyond their control without regard for achieved merit; they significantly affect individuals' educaitonal outcomes (Sasaki, 2000). Examples of ascribed statuses include family structure, socio-economic status, sex, and race or ethnic background. Each of these characteristics alters economic advantages later in life. The pursuit of higher education can produce greater social and economic advantage.
Education is a means of gaining upward social mobility - aprocess by which individuals and families move up an economic or status hierarchy. Traditionally, educational achievements have been viewed as means by which talented and motivated individuals advance socially or economically. McMullin (2004) argues, 'Canadians would prefer not to believe the educational system is also a place where societal inequalities are reproduced and where priviledged groups solidify and maintain their advantages.'
The first thing to understand about higher education - indeed, about education in general - is that social factors (age, sex, and social class) all affect how much education a person gets. This is clearly shown in Figure 13.1.
Why is schooling important in our society, and what factors interfere with the 'ideal' funcitoning of education, leading to social problems associated with schools and schooling? We can begin to answer these questions most effectively if we take a step abck and get the big picture by focusing on the linkage between schools, work, and social class. Let's do so by considering the idea of 'career' - on the many versions of work in our society, but one that will plunge us immediately into debates about education, work, and class.
The word 'career' originates in words that mean 'racecourse' and 'road for cars'. To say that a person has a 'career' implies he or she is rapidly moving towards a goal alongside, or in comptetition with, others. Every career, like every horse or auto race, has a starting point. Starting from there, competitors move forward past road markers. Ideally, no one start ahead of anyone else, and no one fails to pass a marker. Some competitors progress faster than others; a few competitors might be said to have 'won' the race, while others 'place' or 'show'. Over an extended period, many competitors get to the finish line (i.e., complete their careers) before leaving the track or steer off the track, though we do not consider them winners.
Although simplified, this depiction captures the essence of many careers, traditional and modern. However, as the world of work grows larger and more complex, people with different educational credentials enter at different job and income levels. Typically, post-secondary graduates enter above less-educated candidates. As well, competitors may not pass all the usual road markers in the same order.
For example, more highly motivated 'high achievers' may move about more within an organization or occupation, gaining wider experience and exposure. And, with the development of widely accepted credentials (such as valued post-secondary educational degrees), high achievers can often move from one organization to another, gaining additional experience and exposure within an industry while continually increasing their status and rewards (Halperin, 1990).
Thus, career mobility increases both through industrial differentiationand through the rise of educational achievement as a basis for ranking. MOdern professions (such as medicine and law) are particularly notable for the importance of higher education and educational credentials, with a remarkable ability to control career entries, reward systems, and conditions of work.
Of course, ambition and education are not everything. Ascribed characteristics - characteristics people are unable to cahgne - have never fully lost their importance as ordering and selection principles. Today, many careers remain gendered, with many ambitious women bumping into 'glass ceilings' (Harkness, 2001). As well, many employers continue to prefer candidates from particular ethnic or racial groups or from certain elite backgrounds (Teitz, 2001). However, all employers ,increasingly, favor highly educated candidates over less educated ones (Watt and Bloom, 2001).
Formal education plays an important part in this career-making process. People enter a given career - for example, teaching, or medicine, or engineering - at roughly the same age and advance at similar (though not identical) rates. Over the ages 18-30, their chances are structured, first, by differences in credentials, skills, and ambitions, These shape people's educational hopes and achievements and their occupational ambitions. This process of movement through the world of work starts with movement though the world of schooling, however.
Four major theories help us to understand the young adult's transition from school into the labour force. Segmented labour market theory notes the labour market is stratified, and entry and upward mobility are difficult for people with only high school education (Meerkerk, 2006). Human capital theory attributes the problems of new labour force entrants to difciencies in their training that lessen their value to the hiring organizaiton (Reitz, 2001). Signalling theory refers to the employer's use of sign or signals to judge the potential worth and trainability of a young employee (Greening and Turban, 2000). Finally, network theory describes the importance of social networks and social capital in gaining employment based on the 'word' of a friend or relative, who vouches for the quality of the potential employee (Rosenbaum, 2001)
In college and university, the sorting of students into different programs with different curricula also influences later opportunities by sending prospective employers different messages about the abilities of job candidates. Thus, a BA in philosophy sends a different message from a BA in physics or in political science. In organizations, the sorting of workers into different authority levels amplifies the effects of college attainment on earnings. Graduates or preferred colleges continually receive ever-greater earnings, though these colleges have no further direct effects on earnings.
Such institutional linkages are valuable to societies, employers, and employees. Though economic theory warns about the inefficiencies of institutional linkages, school-employer linkages can enhance incentives, the flow of information, and employment outcomes. The student's school-to-work transition is improved if schools make academic instruction vocationally relevant, employers base hiring on applicants' achievement in school, and we have properly designed and set up school-employer linkages (Brinton, 1998).
We build institutional linkages on three expectations about the flow of labour : dependable supply, dependable skills, and dependable quality. Ideally, the school-workplace linkage can efficiently supply needed workers with the needed skills and verify their quality. In this way, they support a reward system at work that is based on merit. What we need, first, is that high school counsellors play a more active role as gatekeepers. They must act more vigorously to discourage students whose college plans are inappropriate - in effect, helping them to address unpleasant realities. Only in this way will employers come to trust available school information (for example, grades) when hiring youth, and rely less on social networks or impressions gained during interviews. Doing so may also lead employers to respond to skill shortages by hiring skilled young workers rather than merely retaining the present work staff or lowering their expectations.
Thus, careers are job-related pathways over the life course. On the individual level, careers reflect differences (and similarities) in opportunities and human capital. On the corporate level, they reflect linkages within firms, across firms, and across institutions. Just as careers tie together life events, so they also tie together insitutional activities.
Careers take place within submarkets or economic sectors, in which a segmentation of jobs andcareers has occured. Primary and secondary labor markets coexist withinevery region, province, and size of community. The primary labour market consist of jobs that offer good waves, chances to get ahead, and job security: it includes jobs like lawyer, plumber, and teacher (Furlong, 2008). The secondary (marginal) labour market consists of jobs that pay low wages offer little chance to get ahead, and promise little job security : jobs like taxi driver, secretary or bank teller (Jaarsveld et al., 2009).
People with different social traits, backgrounds, and skills often locate in different markets. For example, far more women and visible minorities have moved to the secondary labour market, and far more white men are in the primary labour market than could have occured by chance. Within markets, we find submarkets that also contain different kinds of jobs and different kinds of people. The big difference between primary and secondary markets tends to blur important differences among jobs in the same market. For example, though both are in the primary labour market, few teachers feel they have the sort of benefits and opportunities that doctors do. Though both are in the secondary labor market, few bank tellers consider their work to be the same as that of taxi drivers.
However, all of this 'racing for rewards' takes place against a backdrop of social inequality. The social class you are born into will affect your educational ambitions and educational pursuits. That is why family origin and socio-economic status, for example, tend to be reproduced across generations. Among others, Canadian sociologists Guppy and Davies (1998) show the effect of class on educational attainment is an especially enduring feature of inequality. Researches repeatedly find interrelations between social class and educational attainment, and, more generally among class structure, class mobility, and class formation. With the expansion of higher education in economically developed societies, more and more young people have stayed in school for longer periods. As a result, the educational attainment of average citizens has risen significantly. Yet, the class structure - the shape or extent of social inequality - has not change markedly.
Canada is one of the countries in which this has happened. We should not be surprised, since in Canada, all citizens, regardless of race/ethnicity or class, have the same right to take part in community activities and social institutions. Howeve,r for people lower down the economic ladder, higher educaiton may still seem like more of a privilege than a right. As a result, in Canada as elsewhere, 'class differentials in educational attainment have changed little, from those in early decades of the century onwards' (Goldthorpe, 1985). Children in less advantaged class positions are sitll less likely than children of more prosperous origins to pursue and earn higher educational degrees.
The reason is that children from less affluent families are less able to incur the financial debts needed to complete a post-secondary education, and these debts can be burdensome, upon completion of a degree. Further, for reasons not fully understood, the extent of people's indebtedness varies from one province to another - likely reflecting differences in the cost of living, the cost of education, and the availability of loans and bursaries in different provinces.
Until recently, literature on educational gender inequality focused on the women's disadvantages. Today, however, formal education - especially university and college education - has opened many social and economic opportunities for females in Canada.
Before Confederation, young girls went to school with the boys, but often family duties kept many of them from getting as much primary education as they wanted. Until 1862, young women had no chance to gain a higher education in Canada. Then, Mount Allison University in New Brunswick enrolled its first female students. Shortly after, other Canadian universities and colleges opened their doors to female students.
In earlier years, many college women - regardless of their interests and adptitudes - were urged to take general arts degrees or domestic science courses. Though women were allowed to become nurses, they were prevented from studying medicine. At the end of the nineteenth century, hospitals in Montreal refused to accept any female doctors. As a result, by 1893 all Canadian universities had closed their doors to women medical students. Most Canadian universities would not reopen their medical programs to women for another 50 years.
Elsie McGill, the first Canadian woman to get a degree in electrical engineering, graduated from the University of Toronto in 1927. However, it was not until much later that women were entering male-dominated fields of study such as business, engineering, medicine, and law in noticeable numbers. By 1981, though women remained in the minority, census figures had recorded a dramatic increase in female enrolments in these fields.
Increasingly, government and other bodies began to encourage young women to continue schooling and careers in non-traditional fields such as sceince and engineering. According to 1999-2000 data on the status of women in universities, in Canada women received 59 perecent all post-secondary degrees, including 59.9 percent of all bachelor and first professional degrees, 52.3 percent of all master's degrees, and 40.7 percent of all Ph.D.s. Women were a clear majority of degree recipients in health professions (73.1 percent), humanities (63.7 percent) and social sciences (58.3 percent).
Nonetheless, even though women continue to achieve doctoral degrees in non-traditional areas in increasing numbers, they are largely under-represented in engineering, applied sciences, and in mathematics. According to Gomme (2004), even though women pseem to be making gains, they continue to suffer disadvantages. Women continue, far more than men, to enter social sciences, fine arts, and humanities, but these fields are less directly marketable than others like engineering and applied sciences, where men outnumber women. Further, education in these areas (for example, engineering and computer science) usually leads to jobs with higher levels of pay.
However, it is not merely that women seek out lower-paying careers. Research also shows that careers tend to lose both prestige and pay as large numbers of women enter them. In effect, these formerly male-dominant jobs become proletarianized as they become feminized, for example, in pharmacy and law. It remains to be seen whether other feminizing professions such as medicine and dentistry follow suit. In part, this reflects an increased supply of job candidates. Increased competition in any job domain usually depresses wages. However, the connectiosn to female participation are hard to miss. No satisfactory explanation of this phenomenon has yet been provided.
The social benefits of education are dramatic for both men and women, but especially for women. Evidence collected in Canada and other industrial countries shows those women who gain the highest levels of education come closest to job and income equality with men. As it is for racial minority groups and poor people, for women higher education is an important way towards social equality. Though ti does not solve all the problems women face, education solves many.
A large part of the continuing problem of gender inequality in less developed parts of the world is educational. Families, governments, and economies do not give young women high priority in education and jobs in many parts of the world. Women are especially likely to be illiterate in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab states, and South Asia (the Indian subcontinent).
Many of the educaitonal disadvantages faced by ethnic minority groups in Canada stems from long-standing economic exploitation and disadvantage. Issues of class and race are closely bound. In this section, we will examine the issues of race/ethnicity and its multifaceted impact on education.
The most prominent Canadian example is that of Aboriginal Canadians. First, we will show issues of disadvantage and inequality from a historical perspective - the European dominance over North American Aboriginals that resulted in forced residential schooling of Aboriginal youth. The results of these actions are still observable today, in the form of economic harship, residential segregation, and various social, family, and individual pathologies. Second, we will analyze more recent trends - especially, the impact of visible minority status on higher educational attainment.
In 1867, though the terms of the British North America Act, the federal government of Canada declared the responsibility for managing 'Indians and lands reserved for Indians' (Stonefish, 2007).
With governments and the Euro-Canadian majority dismissive of their heritage and overall autonomy, Aboriginal people were defined legally as 'non-citizens and wards of the state' (Furniss, 1992). In 1876, the Indian Act further perpetuated coercive legislation aimed at assimilation, providing government with 'sweeping powers' to control and regulate almost all aspects of Aboriginals' lives across Canada. Part of this included regulating education.
The Canadian government's effort to assimilate the Aboriginal population through the development of the residential schools system is one of the most blatant examples of Canadian racialization - a term for how social institutions impose racial identities on minorities. The residential school system shows how 'educational programs' can be directed by racist and class-based ideology (Nicholas, 2001). The Canadian government, through the Roman, Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, United, and PResbyterian churches, which were responsible for running the residential schools, tried to mould Native identities.
Aboriginal youth were separated from their families and communities. Residential schooling was compulsory for most of the Aboriginal youth population. The intent was to produce a young generation of 'modern Indians' (Davies and Guppy, 2006), by forcing young people to abandon their cultural heritage and to replace their 'nomadic hunting and fishing lifestyle' with the ways of the 'civilized' Europeans (furniss, 1992: 13). Many of the subjects of this 'grand' social experiment were left hanging between two worlds : a white society that rejected them and a Native culture they had been deprived of knowing.
Forty-five residential schools were fully funded by 1894. These schools were modelled on the first two 'successful' schools in souhtern Ontario, the Mohawk Institute founded in 1829.
Native children were taught that their heritage was british, unacceptable, and shameful. They were stripped of their culture, language, and distinct world view. The goal of creating new identities for the Canadian Natives was explicit - the 'Indian problem' would no longer exist if the Native population assimilated into the dominant culture. This meant wearing European clothing, speaking the dominant language, and working as labourers within the colonial economy. In essence, the goal was to produce a subordinate working class that would not be disruptive towards the Euro-Canadian majority (Ng, 1993).
To be sure, the experience of Aboriginal people varied across the country and changed significantly over the course of Canadian history; indeed, some would say it improved dramatically. Box 13.2 provides a historical understanding for the changes in residential school policies from the beginnings of Canadian history up to the present.
Today, the schooling of Aboriginal youth is still the responsibility of the federal government. Present-day efforts to educate Aboriginal students remain ineffective. The levels of education that Aboriginal students earn are drastically lower than the levels for non-Aboriginal students (Statistics Canada and CMEC, 2000). In 1996, 42 percent of Aboriginal youth did not complete high school compared to 22 percent of the non-Aboriginal population. Rates of higher education are still low, with only approximately 7 percent of Aboriginal people achieving a post-secondary certificate or degree.
Andrew Siggner and Rosalinda Costa (2005), using the 2001 census, show that 'there is some cautious good news.' Between 1981 and 2001, the rate at which Aboriginal youth received higher levels of education notably increased. This increase, however, was observable only among Aboriginal population living in urban areas, and was much more dramatic for females compared to males.
Between 1981 and 2001, major census metropolitan areas (CMAs) saw Aboriginal youth earning high school diplomas. In several CMAs, such as Toronto, Sudbury, and Calgary, many more Aboriginal males completed high school. In these CMAs Aboriginal male youth who had not completed high school notably declined. In that same period, most of the CMAs saw a rise in ABoriginal youth out of high school going on to post-secondary education, often earning a degree or diploma.
Overall, the proportion of ABoriginal males ages 25-34 who have completed post-secondary education has increased to approximately 25 percent. School attendance, too, has increased. In 1981, school attendance was from 30 to 46 percent for Aboriginal youth aged 15-24, this rate ranged from 50 to 66 percent in 2001.
Historically, Canada has upheld one of the highest rates of immigration across all nations worldwide. Recent census data suggests that visible minority groups will constitute half of Toronto's population by 2017 (Statistics Canada, 2005). Over the past several decades, immigration patterns have produced a diverse multicultural student population. How have these changes affected schooling and educational attainment in Canada?
In canada today, visible minorities and recent immigrants are more educated than the general Canadian population. THis is largely a result of Canada's immigration policy. Recruiting strategies have changed over the past 50 years from a 'former bias of seeking both manual and skilled labour from Europe to a policy of seeking more educated labour from around the world' (Davies and Guppy, 2006: 42).
As a result, immigration policies have produced a highly educated group of immigrant workers. However, analyses of employment and income indicators show that access to higher social status and economic positions in Canada is unequal. Some research points out that racial discrimination is still prevalent in Canadian society.
The question remains how should schools be (further) reformed and improved to provide the best possible education for Canada's many diverse communities? One approach recently taken in Toronto has been the creation of an Africentric school, in the belief that African Canadians might be better served by schools focused heavily on their culture and history, rather than on conventional topics of Canadian schooling.
Foreign-born visible minorities experience larger gaps between their education attainment and their occupation than do other groups. For example, fewer than half of foreign-born visible minorities with a university degree work in jobs with a high skill level, especially during difficult economic times.
Many recent immigrants find that their educational and work credentials are not recognized in the Canadian employment system. They are forced into jobs below their training and expertise. A longitudinal survey of this problem by Statistics Canada found that six out of 10 immigrants to Canada did not work in the same field after their arrival. Four main factors affect the entry-level job status of immigrants : (1) the specificity of skills required by the nation's immigration-policy; (2) the educational competition experienced between the immigrants and the native-born; (3) the labour market structure; and (4) the welfare state (Retiz, 2001).
Contemporary efforts to reform schools, or to measure school effectiveness, in Canada and the United States have been continuing for several decades. The Coleman report was the first empirical study to evaluate educational programs, addressing issues of unequal academic opportunities and outcomes. Published on 4 July 1966, largely in response to the racial segregation of black and white students in the US, this study concluded that overall, schools contributed little to reducing inequalities. Specifically, Coleman argued that variables such as spending per pupil, teacher experience, and the number of books in libraries, for example, contributed very little in terms of achievement. These conclusions led to the belief that students' socio-economic status (measured by parental education, job status, and income) significantly influences student outcomes.
Various researchers subsequently challenged this position. These challenges included George Weber's Inner-City Children Can Be Taught to Read (1971); Good, Biddle, and Brophy's Teachers Make a Difference (1975); and Neville Bennete's Teaching Styles and Pupil Progress (1976). These researchers suggested that, contrary to Coleman's views, curriculum development, school organization, and teaching methods significantly affect schools, educational quality and student's achievements.
In reality, both of the above perspectives are valid. While it is true that poverty has substantial effects on achievement, economic indicators are not solely responsible for student success. Although research consistently shows a link between a person's school success and socio-economic factors, non-economic factors are also relevant. Although parental education, income, and occupational prestige are relevant to children's school success, the lack of these variables in this relationship may not be as inauspicious as various studies have suggested.
In fact, David Johnson's (2009) study of Ontario schools suggests that economic inequality may not be as decisive for schools and students as previously thought. In association with the C.D. Howe Institute, Johnson shows how non-economic factors account for students' school performance on standardized Grade 3 and Grade 6 tests. To control for economic factors, Johnson examined data from the Ontario public school testing authority that outlines various socio-economic demographics associated with different school zones, including the percentage of university graduates, recent immigrants, single mothers, Aboriginals, and so on. Using census data, as well as information about students' socio-economic background, Johnson predicted how various schools across Ontario would be expected to do on Grade 3 and Grade 6 standardized tests, based solely on these demographic factors. He found that the fit was far from perfect, indicating that organizational factors also make a difference.
His results show that 'good' schools in Ontario have 'principals, teachers, and other staff who are making a positive difference in student performance regardless of their students' socio-economic backgrounds' (Johnson, 2009). Johnson was able to show how a school's students perform on standardized tests, which simplified a comparison of schools that perform better or worse than other schools with students from similar backgrounds. This shows how the quality of principal and staff has contributed to student performance in schools with students of a similar economic background.
Consider the example of Cornell Junior Public School located in Scarborough, Ontario. The average annual household income in the surrounding area is under $50,000 and only 21.5 percent of the residents have earned a university degree. Yet, 80 percent of the Grade 3 passed the standardized tests in reading, writing and mathematics. Given the socio-economic makeup of Cornell Junior Public School, students should have had a pass rate of 7.9 per cent below the provincial average, yet their overall score was 15.1 percent above.
These findings suggest that 'good' schools are not only to be found in good neighborhoods, and vice versa. No matter what neighborhood students are from, the schools they attend have the potential to provide a quality education. Overall, significant differences exist in the quality of instruction across schools that are located in neighborhoods whose students come from similar economic backgrounds. This means that student success should not be taken for granted if the students live in rich neighborhoods or come from rich families; nor should their failure be taken for granted if they come from poorer families and live in poorer neighborhoods.
According to these results, good teachers can make a difference, and so can bad teachers. Sub-standard teachers fail to foster the belief that children can learn, and they may not have the necessary skills to promote student success. So, as one of the most significant educational resources, teachers are fundamental to school improvement efforts. This means it is necessary to ensure that competent and talented people are working as teachers, that their teaching quality is high, and that all students have access to high-quality teachers. However, successful teaching is not possible unless the school atmosphere is organized, peaceful, and controlled. Clear rules for student behavior muts be consistently enforced and regulated by school officials.
Structural functionalism (**)
- The function of schooling is to give people the human capital society needs for economic growth.
- Additionally, schools socialize people for the work world and for citizenship.
Conflict Theory (**)
- Schooling is a means by which people are trained to endure the boredom and subordination of alienating work.
- The myth of upward mobility through merit at school is used by the ruling class to justify social inequality.
Symbolic Interactionism (**)
- Schools help people develop identities that are appropriate to the social roles they will play as adults.
- Schools are as important for discouraging disadvantages people as they are for encouraging advantaged people.
- This was particularly true of residential schooling for ABoriginal students.
Feminist Theory (**)
- Schools have historically treated boys and girls differently, subtly reinforcing sexism.
- Today, girls are doing better at every level of schooling and boys are more likely to drop out prematurely.
Social Constructionism (**)
- Public issues around schooling are connected to a variety of concerns about class, race, and income inequality.
- Claims about school quality - quality of education generally - are back in the news, and hard to verify.
From the functionalist perspective, the school as a social institution performs the imperative function of socialization - the processes surrounding the internalization of learning of culture, most of which occurs during childhood. In this way schools 'help prepare new adults for generational succession - they are the major means by which one generation prepares its own replacement' (Davies and Guppy, 2006:23) Accordingly, then, the education system is one of the most important social institutions. It contributes to the maintenance of social order and provides opportunities for people to become socially mobile.
Functionalists see schools as 'great equalizers', and as neutral social organizations that are designed to both socialize and educate. Under these circumstances, success, then, can be largely attributed to a student's merit or ability. If you succeed in school, you earned it; but if you do not succeed, this is because of a personal flaw or weakness. Schools, if they are fair, create equal opportunity, social mobility, and even meritocracy - the holding of power or authority by certain people based on their ability. However, what happens when a society becomes over-educated in relation to the occupational positions available to its citizens? If this occurs, then some people will be forced to take jobs below their acquired educational credentials. Functionalism today emerges in such arguments - the notion of over-education and credentialism. We will discuss this further.
From the functionalist perspective, social problems related to education occur when schools fail to perform their manifest functions - the visible and intended goals, consequences or effects of social structures and institutions. Examples of the intended functions of schools include socialization, assimilation, transmission of knowledge, and social control, as well as change and innovation. With this in mind, many of the social problems discussed in this book, such as poverty and unemployment (Chapter 2) or crime and delinquency (Chapter 7), can be linked to the failure of educational systems to accomplish their basic functions. As we have stressed through this text, many social problems are interconnected or intertwined with one another. Often, social and economic disadvantage permeates many aspects of people's lives, and educational attainment (or the lack thereof) is one mechanism by which disadvantage leads to problems.
Conflict theory exposes disequilibrium in the education system, arguing that certain groups are favored over others while inequalities are perpetuated based on class, race, and gender. While it might seem as though the official goal of education is to provide a universal and equal mechanism for success and achievement, educational opportunity and the quality of education available are far from equally distributed across Canadian society.
To illustrate the conflict perspective, consider the issue of student dropouts. Students who drop out of high school, according to Bowlby and McMullen (2002: 143), 'were much less likely to have a parent with a university degree (11 percent) than students who graduated from high school (30.6 percent)'. Thus, our social class position directs our educational pursuits. Further, in terms of obtaining a post-secondary education, children of disadvantaged class origins are more likely to experience lower educational outcome. Educational systems, thus, have the tendency to support and perpetuate prevailing schemes of stratification in society.
The symbolic interactionist is concerned with individuals and the ways they interact in small groups. From this perspective, social interaction is usefully viewed as 'dramaturgical performance where one infers meanings and impressions from the verbal and non-verbal expressions given off by others' (Murphy, 1979). If we apply this perspective to micro-level processes in the education system, we learn things about classrooms and peer group relations that we might otherwise miss.
From a historical perspective, the experience of education has been vastly different for men and women. These differences were not only manifest in educational outcomes, but also in terms of normative societal and cultural expectations adopted by mainstream society during particular times.
Influenced by the Enlightenment, Mary Wollstonecraft contested popular attitudes towards women and education in The Vindication of the Rights of Women (1997 ). Wollstonecraft argued that women deserve social equality and should be given the necessary education in order to obtain it (Zeitlin, 2001). Accordingly, Wollstonecraft asserted that 'the virtue of knowledge of the two sexes should be the same in nature, if not in degree, and that women, considered not only as moral but rational creatures, ought to endeavor to acquire human virtues (or perfections) by the same means as men, instead of being educated like a fanciful kind of half being' (1997 ). Overall, she expressed that men and women, by sharing the same virtues, should be treated the same and be given the same opportunities.
Feminist theorists and researchers who study education have focused on the extent to which disparities occur within the school system that produce and perpetuate social and economic disadvantages for girls and women, Historically, in terms of educational opportunity and outcome, young boys obtained greater long- and short-run advantages advantages over young girls. According to Dillabough and Arnot (2002; 34), 'the long term goal of feminism here was to empower women to take up their rightful place throughout the development of female autonomy.' A central issue for the freedom of choice and greater autonomy was the removal of barriers towards the occupational choice, subject preference, and decisions surrounding sex roles. Equal opportunities were seen as crucial in producing an adaptive, flexible, and undifferentiated workforce.
Theories of credentialism, embodied in theories of school legitimacy, argue that formal school systems have increasingly become institutions that provide credentials but not necessarily educations. This allegation has led theorists to wonder what, exactly, an educational certificate represents. Does it truly improve job skills and prepare students for the workforce? Alternatively, doe sit provide graduates with a piece of paper that serves as an occupational ticket?
In The Credential Society (1979), Randall Collins argues that contemporary schools are over-educating students. Collins states that the economy cannot support the number of educationally qualified people who are graduating from high school, college, and university. Accordingly, Collins alleges that the contemporary school system is amplifying credential inflation - the process by which labor-market competition encourages people to acquire school and employers raise required credential levels for reasons that are not connected to their needs for skilled employees. Stated differently, modern education devalues educational credentials in the same way that monetary inflation devalues money.
If so, what use do employers make of educational credentials - the supposed proof that job candidates have particular skills and aptitudes? Collins argues that most employers rarely look at student grades when hiring.This happens because, according to Collins, the school curriculum develops on its own terms, not with the goal of meeting the needs of employers or the demand for particular skills in the labor force. If credentials were, in fact, closely tied to the specific needs of employers, then employers would hire on the basis of school grades. Yet, most of the time, a college diploma is all that is required. Specific grades are irrelevant.
That said, more years of schooling - and more distinguished sets of diplomas - bring higher returns in the labor market. Entry into select professional or managerial jobs is limited and closely guarded. In particular, 'professionals' such as doctors and lawyers strictly control entry into their numbers, by limiting the numbers who are permitted to get the desired credentials. This they do successfully by claiming to play an important, almost irreplaceable role in society and, consequently, by gaining from governments the ability to be self-regulating professions, on the assumption that their professional expertise is such that only they have the knowledge to evaluate and adjudicate issues involving the profession. In this way, too, they justify their high-paying positions.
The demand for more credentials in turn creates occupations that seek to limit the number of entrants. In effect, what we mean by professionalization is the process by which an occupation raises its standing by limiting the number of entrants (Anleu and Mack, 2008). Through such an exertion of power, many occupations have turned into 'classic' professions (such as law or medicine). This was accomplished by creating multiple layers of specialization and professional training - even though, as Collins has stated, much schooling is highly theoretical and has little to do with on-the-job experience or training.
Canada has one of the highest rates of post-secondary attainment in the world, and, in general, this is viewed positively. However, there is growing evidence that the skills of the Canadian workforce are not being used to their full potential. Over-education means having more education than is needed to carry out a particular job or fulfill a particular role. Immigrants arriving in Canada, for example, often discover that the education they have acquired becomes underutilized in the Canadian labor market (Chiswick and Miller, 2008). Similarly, Livingstone, Hart, and Davie (2003) indicate, in a survey of Ontario residents from 1994 to 2002, that rates of over-qualification were reported to have risen from 16 percent to 21 percent. While university graduates increased by nearly 150 percent from the 1970s until the early 1990s, the number of jobs requiring a university education increased by only 40 percent (Expert Panel on Skills, 2000).
The projected increase surrounding the underutilization of educational credentials has led researchers to consider various social consequences. Some have suggested that increases in job dissatisfaction, worker discontent, and greater political alienation, as well as weakened loyalty to dominant achievement ideology, may result. However, these outcomes show different results depending on the extent of overeducation.
Dorn, Bowen, and Blau (2006) separate student dropouts into three main categories: dropout, pullout, and pushout. By this reckoning, dropout theories focus on students who themselves unable to cope intellectually (or cognitively) with school materials. Pullout theories are class-based theories and focus on students who withdraw from schooling because of financial troubles. Finally, pushout theories focus on the school and community as contextual factors that influences rates of high school dropouts. So, for example, communitie sin which the schools offer little encouragement to their students - where, for example, guidance counsellors urge their students to aim low, to avoid disappointment - would fall into this pushout category, as would communities in which there are few role models exemplifying the possibilities and benefits of higher education.
As we have seen, people in Canada with post-secondary education benefit from various social and economic advatages compared to people who have less formal education. Some of these benefits include higher incomes, increased job security, and greater occupational prestige. These higher levels of education are correlated with greater levels of economic return over one's lifetime. A growing body of evidence also shows that higher levels of education allow for easier transitions into the workforce. Obtaining a high school diploma becomes exceedingly important in a credential society. In part, that is because more education give people more skills and resources for work-related tasks; also, higher credentials open doors to more select job opportunities.
At the very least, a high school diploma is a strong signal for employers that a person can stick to a task to its completion, an indication of a certain degree of self-discipline. It also gives people the opportunity to enter post-secondary education, whether college or university. Recent data from Statistics Canada illustrates the impact a high shcool diploma has on rates of unemployment. Unemployment rates, for example, are nearly double for people aged 25-44 who do not have a high school diploma (Bowlby, 2005).
Most teens in Canada both attend high school and complete a high school education. In terms of attendance, for example, in recent years school attendance rates for 15-19-year-olds was 82 percent to 84 percent. According to a Statistics Canada report, this is markedly higher than attendance 25 years ago when just about two-third of all teens attended high school. Not surprisingly, dropout rates have also significantly declined. During the 2004-5 school year, dropout rates decreased 37.2 percent from the 1990-1 school year.
If dropping out is becoming less common in all part of Canada, why are social scientists so concerned? Although the decline is pervasive across Canada, the same cannot be said about all regions equally.
Analysis of the school success rates of males and females indicates that a substantial change has occurred in terms of gendered attainment over the past several decades. The previous gender imbalance in attainment - depicting a favorable outcome for males - began to change during the 1950s. Today, females surpass males on most measures of attainment. In fact, in terms of dropout rates, female drop out of high school 'in fewer numbers, graduate more often, enter universities in greater numbers, and score higher on many standardized tests' (Davies and Guppy, 2006: 111).
The majority of dropouts have been male students - of the 212,000 students who dropped out in 2004-5 almost 135,000 were male. In other words ,the dropout rate for males was almost double that for females : 12.2 per cent compared with 7. 2 percent. For both genders - overall- the rate has declined since 1990-1 from 19.2 percent to 14.0 percent in 2004-5.
For some time, males have dropped out of school disproportionately compared to females. What is new, however, is the overall rate of men leaving compared to women. A study from Statistics Canada suggests that in '1990-1991, a sizable majority of drop-outs were men (58.3 percent), but by 2004-2005, that proportion had increased up to 63.7 percent' (Bowlby, 2005). In other words, the trend is not due to more men dropping out per se (because there has been an overall decrease in the number of male dropouts), but this increased affect has been caused by a substantial decrease in the rate of young women dropping out. This is true for all provinces across Canada. In particular, these rates are strongest in Quebec, where, in 2004-5, seven out of 10 dropouts were males.
What accounts for this trend? The Youth in Transition Survey indicated several reasons behind the decision to drop out of high school. Differentiating between males and females, the survey showed that young men were less likely to have an intellectual, social, or emotional investment in school endeavors. They were anxious to work and earn money, so they dropped out of high school more quickly.
Teenage pregnancy, however, plays a more crucial role in the rate of female dropouts. The Youth in Transition Survey showed that 15.9 percent of female dropouts occurred due to a pregnancy or the need to take care of a child. The trend for young female dropouts is further influenced by the fact that almost four out of 10 have children or were the primary caretakers of a household.
Consistently, the primary reasons for females dropping out of high school has been due to their role as caretaker or mother. Since the beginning of the 1990s, however, the overall rate of female dropouts has decreased. The number of female dropout mothers heading households in Canada has fallen remarkably, by half.
As we have previously suggested, educational attainment in adolescence and early childhood is linked to health outcomes later in life. People with more advantaged socio-economic status are healthier. For example, Cockerham (1995) notes, 'the fact remains that people at the bottom of society have the worst health of all, regardless of what country they live in.... and the level of health care they receive.'
People with higher levels of education adopt better health habits and lifestyles compared to those with lower levels of education and lower socio-economic statuses. Education helps to build useful life skills and the sense of mastery that are needed when dealing with problems later in life. For instance, engaging in positive health behaviors - such as exercising, drinking in moderation, avoiding obesity, refraining from smoking, and regularly visiting the doctor - greatly prolong one's life. It is not surprising that these types of behaviors are strongly associated with individuals who have high educational achievements (Ross, 1995).
Barbara Ronson an dIrving Rootman (2004) provide an additional perspective regarding the effects of education on health. In Literacy: One of the Most Important Determinants of Health Today, they argue that literacy predicts health status more accurately than education level, income, or ethnic background. Various research studies suggest that literacy is directly related to people's overall health status, mental health status, co-morbidity burden, and life expectancy. Other dangers of illiteracy include difficulty reading medications, baby formula instructions, and other written medical- or nutrition- related material (Kalichman et al., 1999).
To summarize, higher education enables people to engage in healthy lifestyles and to learn healthy habits. Even a basic education can provide the means for living in a safe neighborhood, having a steady job, or developing the ability to understand health information.
Bullying is formally defined as any form of repeated aggression in which an observable power differential occurs between individuals. However, we usually think of bullying as a kind of childhood terror-tactic. There are two important elements of bullying that capture its complexity. First, bullying is characterized as aggressive or assertive behavior that is imposed from a position of dominance or power. This power can either be physical - strength or size - or social/ hierarchical - belonging to a higher social status peer group, strength in numbers, or systemic power. Second, acts of bullying must be repetitive to be influential.
As Shariff (2005) suggests, bullying is typically expressed in either of two forms - overt bullying and covert bullying. The former involves 'physical aggression, such as beating, kicking, shoving, and sexual touching'. The latter, however is typified by exclusionary practices from peer groups. These include being gossiped about, verbally threatened, or harassed. Interestingly, white boys in secondary school are more likely to become victims of bullying, studies show that girls are more likely to fear being bullied at school.
How common is bullying in Canada? children are far more likely to be bullied and become bullies themselves compared to children in many other countries. According to the Health Behaviours in School-aged Children Survey conducted by the World Health Organization, 'Canada ranked a dismal 26th and 27th out of 35 countries in measures of bullying and victimization (Pepler, 2007). This suggest that bullying Canada has become a pervasive and not a prevalent social problem.
In 2004, nearly 75 percent of Canadians were Internet users (Ekos, 2004). These rates were even higher among Canadian youth - 93 percent of people under 25 and 86 percent of those between 25 and 44 were regular Internet users (Lenhart et al, 2005).
It is clear that an overwhelming majority of Canadians have access to, and use, the Internet - in particular, young Canadians. Recent data suggest that in terms of time spent, the average Canadian spends far more hours using the Internet now than was the case five and 10 years ago. The increased use of the Internet, coupled with other forms of technology, has changed the nature of social interaction. perhaps especially among young people.
One example of the effects of technology on Canadian youth is cyber-bullying, a technological extension of physical bullying. It occurs when a person uses information technology (IT) to embarrass, harass, intimidate, or threaten others. Sometimes called 'Internet aggression', 'digital harassment', or 'Internet bullying', cyber bullying is becoming increasingly prevalent as the use of new technologies increases. This emerging form of bullying involves using computers or other IT devices, such as personal digital assistants, cellphones, and portable gaming consoles to cause harm to targeted individuals. Colt, Meyer, and McQuade (2009) further caution that cyber-bullying seems to have become so prominent or 'technologically insiduous', that classical 'physical' form sof bullying may be increasing as a result.
A large body of research has emerged relating to the impact of cyber bullying on student safety and learning, which has prompted researchers to consider various legal implications associated with cyber-bullying - ultimately, in an effort to reduce the prevalence of this emerging problem. As Shariff notes from a Canadian context, however, 'there has been less attention paid to understanding the role of law as it relates to cyber-bullying in the Canadian education system.' This may explain, in part, the stable bullying trends in Canada throughout recent years. According to Shariff, 'one in every seventeen children is threatened on the Internet... and one in four youth aged 11-19 is threate dvia computer or cell phone'. In addition, Li found in a study of 177 middle school students in Calgary that 41 percent were bullied by cellphone text messaging. 35 pecent in chat rooms, 32 percent by schoolmates, 23 percent of respondents were bullied by e-mail. 16 percent by multiple sources (including schoolmates, and 11 percent by people outside of their school. Thi sstudy raises an important challenge for the supervision and monitoring of cyber-bullying: most cases are anonymous. In fact, 41 percent of students surveyed by Li reported not knowing the identity of their cyber-bullies.
The anonymity of cyber-bullying, as Shariff (2005) argues, 'distracts all students (victims, bystanders, and perpetrators) from schoolwork. It creates a hostile physical environment where students feel unwelcome and unsafe.' Ultimately, in this type of atmosphere, it becomes difficult for students to contribute to class discussion and learn successfully.
Student achievement and school performance are widely variable - even among schools and students with similar (at times low) socio-economic backgrounds. As we have discussed, student learning is influenced by many factors including family resources, school organization, effective school curriculum, and teacher skills, attitudes, and practices.
In the short run, factors such as family and community background are difficult for policy'makers to influence. What can be improved, however, are teacher quality and teaching practices. In fact, there seems to be a wide'ranging consensus that improving ´teacher quality' is the most influential factor in terms of student achievement. If instruction and teaching quality are improved, student learning and achievement will also improve.
Improving teaching - especially in low-performing schools - is challenging. Schools must be diligent to ensure that students get on track, stay on track, and receive quality instruction. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development claims that 'moving from being taught by an average teacher to one of the 85th percentile of teacher quality would lead to students improving by more than 4 percentiles.' Sanders and Rivers (1996) have estimated that teachers effects are large and cumulative over time. A string of successful teachers narrows the average attainment gap between students from low to high socio-economic status families. In this way, low-performing students benefit more from teachers that are more effective.
It has become common to blame students themselves for dropping out of school. In 1987, Chester Finn - the assistant secretary of education in the United States - argued that school-oriented strategies would be ineffective in reducing rates of student dropouts. His reasoning was that dropouts are disproportionately from lower socio-economic backgrounds in society. Nearly all studies conducted during this time period suggested that dropping out is highly correlated with low SES, minority status, low-test scores and grades, and school dissatisfaction. Today, it is still much more common for students from low socio-economic backgrounds to drop out of school. However, many have come to question whether dropping out is primarily caused by social factors beyond school influence.
As Dupuy and Schweitzer (1995) point out, nearly one-third of school dropouts failed one or more grades in elementary school prior to dropping out. As such, particular attention must be given to students' motivation and overall self-confidence, and decrease the risk of dropping out. All of this must occur, according to Dupuy and Schweitzer, through a clear curriculum that is supported by both teachers and parents. Active participation by both sides is a crucial component.
Schools also have the potential to reduce other social problems. The educational system, for example, is one way to overcome racial discrimination. Schools are important sources for formal socialization and are effective in providing their students with socially approved belief, value, and ideological systems. Moreover, informal means of socialization also occur during the school years, since they represent for most students the first opportunity for substantial interaction with other people of similar ages and interests.
The mixing of Canada's diverse young people at school - a source of informal socialization - leads to more interracial friendships and relationships, increases exposure to and acceptance of other cultural practices, and lessens the significance of skin colour. However, the education curriculum remains Eurocentric, putting an undue emphasis on Western ideas, events, and ideas. As this may not be significant to Canada's diverse population, introducing more multicultural content may broaden all students' cultural knowledge and better engage those students who, because of their heritage, feel disconnected from the education institution.
Historically, people have argued that schooling outcomes reflect differences in personal abilities. This perspective has fuelled the view that students who are low achievers will ultimately underperform. Underperforming schools have often been labelled as a lost cause. However, the evidence we have presented suggests differently. Teachers, for example, can make a difference. While social and economic disadvantage greatly affect student performance, schools, too, can make a measurable impact onthe life chances of all students. David Johnson'ss evaluation of schools in Ontario shows how exceptional schools, in disadvantaged areas, can succeed against unequal odds. Schools like Cornell Junior Public School in Scarborough should not be treated as outliers or out of the ordinary. When schools and teaching practices become successful, it is important to understand how and why this has occured. In doing so, educational success can be felt throughout society, not just among dominant and affluent groups.
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