Herbert Gan Social Inequality Analysis

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The American Dream is an idea that citizen has an equal opportunity to achieve success through determination and hard work. However, that ideal has given Americans a sense of false hope. America is one of the richest nations with having a high inequality than other developed nation. Inequality exists in income, wealth, power and education. Individuals who are socially poor in America will most likely stay in that cycle throughout their lifetime. Most often it is not by choice, but because of there are not enough opportunities given. The poverty class has a much extreme income cap compared to the higher class. Herbert Gans is an influential sociologist who is active in antipoverty and other policy agencies. In his writing, “Positive Functions…show more content…
Essentially, the poor citizens are blamed for their failings. They can be blamed for causing social problems. In the economic functions, Gans states that “Although it is estimated that 80% of all illegal drugs are sold to Whites who are not poor, the sellers are often people banished from the formal labor market” (Gans). With fewer job prospects, these people are forced to make extra money by illegal means. In normative functions, it specifically talks about norm reinforcement. It is defined as, “By violated or being imagined as violating, a number of mainstream behavioral patterns and values, the undeserving poor help to reaffirm and reinforce the virtues of these patterns” (Gans). This goes back to how the poor are being stereotyped as lazy and reaffirms work ethic. The political functions are put into three subcategories: institutional scapegoating, conservative power shifting, and spatial purification. These categories stigmatized poor people and facilities. For example, mental institution, homeless shelters, halfway houses, drug treatment facilities, etc (Gans). Lastly, the macrosocial function talks about the reproduction of stigma and the stigmatized and extermination of the surplus. Reproduction of stigma is about how children of poor families are anticipated to stay in poverty, thus becoming a scapegoat for the rich and upper-class. Extermination of the surplus is the death rates remain higher among the poor. This eliminates the “weak” and the competition for those looking for resources and

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