Social Inequality

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This essay examines how inequality is reproduced in the lives of urban poor under three strands: aspirations which are reflective of internalized attitude about the objective probabilities of getting ahead, language use which is restricted, devoid of reasoning and negotiation skills in institutional settings and organization of daily life which is almost always concentrated upon basic survival. I argue that each of these strands affirms and reproduces inequality in their interaction with larger social structure. Moreover, each strand is also in a dynamic relation with the other two and contribute to the perpetuation of inequality in the everyday life of the urban poor. Much of sociological research have demonstrated that an individual’s social…show more content…
First, schooling which generally values cultural capital of dominant classes leads to devaluation of the cultural capital of working class and especially poor making them unlikely to achieve educational success which in turn denies them a good employment. Hence, a deficit in the social valued cultural capital disqualifies them from acquiring economic capital. The school legitimates this process “by making social hierarchies and the reproduction of those hierarchies appear to be based upon the hierarchy of ‘gifts,’ merits, or skills established and ratified by its sanctions, or, in a word, by converting social hierarchies into academic hierarchies” (Mcleod 2008: 14). Most of the working class and poor children being aware of their circumstances then believe that schooling will not be of any advantage to them and given the costs concerned, not a good investment to…show more content…
Thus, in the institutional settings – school, health care facilities and later for employment opportunities, these children are at a considerable disadvantage. Linguistic socialization and limited access to elaborated codes are impediments which do not only create obstacles for children but also affect adults in their everyday interactions with societal institutions placing them at a disadvantage. For instance, Shankar Ramaswami’s (2010) essay “Death in Delhi” details the difficulties a poor adivasi woman and her relatives encounter in navigating through hospitals, comprehending the actions and advices of doctors in seeking treatment for cancer in Delhi. Ramaswami notes that – “Seven visits, eleven doctors, eighteen encounters, twenty-three days, and no proper diagnosis. She had gone repeatedly to the emergency room and the medicine, surgery, and gynecology departments, with specialized doctors treating particular symptoms and fractions of the body, without identifying the underlying cause of her pain and bleeding” to which her son also feels that “the doctors were not interested in curing her illness, only in shuttling them to different queues, departments, testing rooms, and the

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