Differences and Inequality
Difference according to The Oxford Dictionary* is something distinct, separate or not the same. When things are different, they are distinguishable in nature, form or quality. Once you understand the meaning of the word ‘difference’ you can then begin to explain how it applies to social differences. Social differences may be seen as differences in age, ethnicity, religion, race and physical abilities/disabilities.
Differences, whether real or perceived, have a direct effect on inequality. Inequality in society can be seen as a lack of balance between people in the form of wealth distribution, opportunities available and other resources which are shared within a society. You can also find inequalities for the disabled in gaining access to public transport, shops doors and pavements/sidewalks.
City Road has a good example of differences within a society. This street has a wide variety of restaurants/cafes and take-away shops, all serving food from different parts of the world. These restaurants and take-away shops cater for different people who have varied dietary needs and tastes. They also vary in price thereby serving food of varying quality according to cost of producing the type of food they serve.
Inequality on City Road can best be demonstrated by the story of a homeless person named John Arthur** . John can be seen as a typical example of inequality within society. A lack of employment, a difficult upbringing and substance abuse all bring John to feeling like he has been excluded from society.
Differences between individuals and how society emphasises these differences lead to inequalities.
I have found this module enjoyable as I find social science an interesting and challenging subject. It has been difficult to find time to study and to relate in my own words my understanding of what I have read. However, I am looking forward to the remainder of my course.
References: *The Oxford English Reference Dictionary; Second Edition 1996, edited by Judy Pearsall & Bill Trumble
Pgs. 397 & 721
**The Open University (2014) ‘2.2 Inequalities on the street’ [Video], DD102 Introducing the Social Sciences. Available at learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=443760§ion=2.2
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