Describe about the Sociology and Teaching for Egalitarian Society.
An egalitarian society refers to a society that values equality among its people. Therefore, it treats all her people equally and provides equal opportunities in political, economic, and social rights. Further, an egalitarian society seeks to eliminate various forms of inequality which leads to discrimination founded on ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or race (Henslin & Elder, 2015). This understanding leads to the question is Australia an egalitarian society? Australia as a society has undergone evolution since the colonial era. In the course of her development, it abandoned the class barriers of colonialist and spread the political and the economic opportunities more than the colonial masters. However, Australia's egalitarian, democratic trends were hampered by greedy capitalists. Thus, the egalitarian, democratic reformers would not implement the social and political policies that could have annihilated elements such as; political, economic, and social inequality (Thompson, 1994).
The development of efficient transport and communication networks has facilitated to globalization. Globalization, therefore, has significantly contributed to the probe of Australia as an egalitarian society. The probe is founded on the increase of income disparities among the Australians. Hence, the question what is causing the economic disparity and what government should do to curb it. Lawrence (2015) argues that the rise in economic inequality is a normal impact of globalization, hence, unavoidable. Glover (2015) on the other hand, argues that the economic inequality is a result of national factors that could be avoided. Ken Henry, a former Treasury secretary, argues that economic globalization may impact on the national economy but the magnitude of the impact is determined by the development policies propelling the national economy. Thus, as a result of unjust policies Australian society has grown unequal more than at any stage in her history as a country. The levels of disparity are such that 1% of the adult population possess 60% of the country's wealth, while the rest have only the consumer durables and no net wealth at all.
Walmsley (1997) attribute the economic disparity to three factors which include taxation, new technology, and globalization, and finally the diminishing of union movements. The government has implemented tax policies that reduce tax rates progression hence emphasizing on the indirect taxes. Similarly, the decline of the labour movement has denied the citizenry the ability of collective bargaining to individual negotiation. This reduction has allowed exploitation of workers and less growth of their incomes. Additionally, new technology and globalization have offered a few opportunities to access the global market. Professionals such as sportspeople, entertainers, and other high profile professionals have ventured into the world market. The world market thus has increased significantly the income of only a handful of individuals. Attempts to invite expatriates to head the Australian firms have forced the government to increase the salaries and benefits of all the chief executive's officers hence creating excessively wealthy individuals (Holmes & Julian, 2014).
Such economic inequalities reflect what Karl Marx perceived as social inequalities resulting from class-ridden capitalist societies, where bourgeoisies exercise political and economic power over the workers, hence, control all means of production. This argument by Marx is mirrored by the Australian society today in which, class interests are intrinsically tied to the Australian development policies furthering the disparity. To ensure the issue of economic disparity remains hidden, misrepresented, and misunderstood the government authorities deliberately fails to include the data of income inequality in the government financial reports. It is explicit that Marx concepts present economic key which illustrates the foundations of the unequal trade which leads to the economic inequality. Cementing profit on the basis of private property perpetuates the economic inequality. To remedy this form of inequality Marx Weber suggests a harmonization of capital and labour, which results to non-economic disparity (Glover, 2015).
In the last quarter of a century, Australian society has made tremendous progress to reduce discrimination against minority groups and especially women. However, gender disparity is still prevailing; women in some companies earn less than their male counterparts in the same positions. Similarly, men are denied equal access to parental leaves and other family policies enjoyed by women. Though such gender inequality exists a lot have been achieved through allowing both genders equal access to education, job opportunities, rewards, and resources. Besides, all the Australian government policies and decision-making process reflects the needs of women and the minority groups. As a result, the Australian government has implemented policies that enhance greater choices and opportunities for women. To illustrate its commitment to the issues of gender equality Australian government is a signatory to the CEDAW-Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Stilwell & Jordan, 2007).
In conclusion, with such issues affecting the Australian society, it cannot be categorized as an ideal egalitarian society. Although the growth of industries has contributed to better living of the workers, it has created opportunities for bourgeoisies to amass unjust wealth. It should be clear to all Australians that in the midst of pseudo sustainable economic growth, the crisis of inequality and poverty are exacerbating. Moreover, they should be cognisant of the fact that a democracy that is founded on the egalitarian principles should be reflected in all facets of life. Political and economic inequalities are therefore inconsistent with the egalitarian principles hence the need to eliminate such disparities.
What is state power and how might it be important in the sociological study of one or more of the following: ethnicity, aboriginality?
In political sociology, state power can be traced to three developmental stages of a state which include: multiplicity of state functions, the necessity of the state, and territorialized centrality of the state. The necessity of the state implies that every civilized people are organized under a single authority which is limited in scope. The multiplicity of state functions refers to the domestic and the international roles the government plays. Territorialized centrality of the state entails the territorial bounders and the institutions under which the state power is exercised (Coakley, 2012). Thus, the autonomous state power is characterized by two understandings. One understanding connotes despotic powers, that is, the power which is exercised without any control, routine or institution and without any negotiations with civil groups. The second understanding implies infrastructural powers, that is, a power which is implemented within systems and through political participation. Therefore, where state power is exercised fairly, the societies are organized, centralized, and territorialized.
In Marx Weber analysis of the state power he distinguishes between power and authority. Weber view power as the coercion of individuals by use of threats while authority is the legal use of power in which individuals act upon orders because they are just and right. Marx further points out that if state powers are utilized for political gains, it disintegrates a cohesive society into ethnic cocoons. In the modern societies, ethnicity constitutes a basis of identity. Hence, ethnicity is a term that is used to communicate an idea of shared traditions, culture, and a way of life (Irfan, 2014). Moreover, sharing is be mirrored in material culture, for example, food, and clothing, cultural products for instance arts and music, religion or language. Ethnicity, therefore, plays a significant role in enhancing social conflict or social cohesion. The state power thus can be utilized to build social cohesion or social conflict through creating ethnic equality or inequalities. The importance of the state power on the issue of ethnicity can be viewed through sociological perspectives such as conflict theory, functionalism, and social interaction theory (Enloe, 1980).
In the view of the conflict theory, the state should use its powers to foster economic, social, and political inequality to the ethnic group that critiques the structure and the policies of the government. According to the theory, the state power is, therefore, a tool to control resources, institutions, and politics which constitute a society. However, conflict theory offers a sound basis for demanding social change. The subjugated ethnic group should demand even distribution of power, political, and economic rights. Ludwig perceives civilization as a result of conflict between ethnic groups. The social forces are organized regarding the ethnic struggle to safeguard the interests and the ideologies of the group. To succeed various means are employed including capturing some of the state apparatus. Further, the oppressed ethnic group may utilize their economic and social power to upset the government policies. In the midst of the social conflicts, it is the role of the state power to maintain social order and preserve the existing hierarchies of power (Hattam, 2014).
In the perspective of the functionalism, state power should promote ethnic inequalities because it serves a critical function for the society existence. This idea is, however, contentious and problematic. Does lead to questions such as, how discrimination can render positive results in society? Sociologists who are subscribed to this school of thought, however, argue that ethnic discrimination and inequality contribute positively to the dominant groups. Also, they perceive discrimination against a given ethnic group as a source of close ties which promote social cohesion within the group. This cohesion can have immense political and economic benefits in search for recognition. Further, the close ties offer the cultural and emotional support needed by those individuals who feel mistreated by the dominant group (Osaghae, 1996).
In the symbolic interaction theory, the state power utilizes strong symbols from a given ethnic group hence creating a given identity which leads to discrimination and inequality. Ahmar (1996) argues that the use of such symbols the dominant ethnic group creates an abstract picture of the subordinate ethnic groups hence sustaining the status quo. When the state power chooses a particular symbol from a certain ethnic group, it enhances a culture of prejudice. Such images influence the thought process of the citizenry thus fuelling social conflict (Migdal & Shue, 1994).
In conclusion, state power contributes to understanding how society is organized. Maintenance of social cohesion is dependent on how the state power is exercised. To enhance stable social cohesion, the state power must be applied justly and equitably, thus, providing social, political, and economic opportunities to all the ethnic groups. Promotion of inequality results to the social conflict which may lead to genocide or war. State power, therefore, should be implemented in a manner that justifies state dominance. Additionally, the government should utilize its powers to create mutual appreciation among various ethnic groups. The mutual recognition should be tested through the incorporation of symbols from different ethnic communities and is accepted by all the ethnic groups constituting the state. The channels through which state power is exercised should be structured to ensure the legitimate exercise of power.
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