Social Differences - Sociology at Girton

Social Differences: defined
Individual human differences are understood in two
Firstly, natural or biological differences, such as
physique, eye and skin colour.
Secondly, social or cultural differences, such as
differences in the work people do, level of income,
status or power.
We will be looking at
socioeconomic status
– Cultural
– Cultural
– Biological
– Cultural
– Cultural
In general, sociologists have rejected the notion that
human groups can be unambiguously defined in terms
of their genetic constitution. Social groups are more
commonly defined by reference to shared culture
such as language, heritage, customs, institutions
including religious, and ideology.
For example Victorian Koorie peoples, Sudanese
Australians (ex-refugees), Vietnamese born in
Socioeconomic Status
Socioeconomic status is an economic
and social measure of a person's position or situation
relative to others.
It is based on income and occupation, and education.
Also commonly referred to as class.
Generally speaking, for example, a wealthy banker
with many assets has a ‘high socioeconomic status’.
Someone who works a 9-5 job and pays rent has a
much lower socioeconomic status.
Gender is a range of characteristics distinguishing
between male and female, or masculinity and
femininity .
One’s sex refers exclusively to what makes one
biologically male or female.
Gender is culturally constructed.
A male could display feminine characteristics not
typical of their ‘gender’ and vice versa.
A period of human life, measured by years from birth,
usually marked by a certain stage or degree of
mental or physical development and involving legal
responsibility and capacity.
For example; adolescence refers to a period of
physiological development usually during the
teenage years.
Location (Rural/Urban)
An urban area is characterised by high population
density and many services, including health and
education. Urban areas are mostly cities and large
For example Melbourne or Bendigo.
Rural areas have a low population density, limited
services and typically much of the land is devoted to
agriculture. It includes small towns.
For example Charlton or the Mallee.
Social differences will often be the impetus for
discrimination and drive stereotyping.
This is why we have such legislation as the
Equal Opportunity Act which makes it illegal to
discriminate on the grounds of such social differences
as gender and ethnicity.
Some examples of stereotypes, based on social
differences, could be ‘All women are bad drivers’, ‘All
Muslims are terrorists’, ‘All country people are
uneducated’, ‘All youths are rebellious’ and ‘All
homeless peoples are bums’.
WA Today June 6, 2011
Daw tormentor banned from VFL games
THE spectator who racially abused North Melbourne's Sudanese recruit Majak Daw at a VFL match at Port
Melbourne has been banned by AFL Victoria.
Saturday's incident left Daw, who was playing for North's VFL feeder team Werribee, feeling hurt and
North Melbourne coach Brad Scott led the string of football identities who condemned the fan's actions and
AFL Victoria released a statement last night saying the spectator was banned from entering VFL games unless
he undertakes racial vilification awareness education, while Victoria Police offered the spectator racial and
religious vilification education.
''The spectator will also be refused entry to any VFL game for the rest of the season and will not be welcome
back unless he undertakes the required education process and provides a written apology to Majak Daw,'' AFL
Victoria said.
AFL Victoria's decision comes after discussions between Werribee, Port Melbourne, Victoria Police and
North Melbourne, where 20-year-old Daw is a rookie.
AFL Victoria general manager Grant Williams said the fan's behaviour was totally unacceptable. ''The public
condemnation of the racial abuse towards Majak shows that, as a society, we are not willing to accept this sort
of behaviour, whether it is at the football, or in the general public,'' Williams said.''In many respects the
response at the time and reactions since the weekend's events suggest that our education programs are having
an impact … the focus needs to be on educating not only the offender, but anyone attending our matches who
thinks that it is OK to racially vilify players. It is not, and never will be, acceptable.''
Can you think…
Of a case of discrimination with respect to…
Socioeconomic status?
Choose one social
And write a definition from memory using
Now find a partner, someone who chose a different social
difference, and exchange definitions.