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Instructions: Please read the instructions carefully and contact me if you have any questions prior to submitting your work.

After reading the chapter and reviewing the PowerPoint and supplemental readings on the course site, you should complete the following tasks: 

Answer the questions below. Your responses should be about one, 5 to 7 sentence, paragraph per question set (meaning numbers 1,2,3, etc should be about one paragraph in length.) Your responses should demonstrate a clear engagement and understanding of the course material, critical application of the sociological concepts/theory and should include clear grammar and sentence structure. Please review the assignment rubric under ‘Course Resources’ for clearer indication of grading distribution and let  me know if you have any questions/concerns. 

  1. Simmel defines fashion as a ‘duality’ in which people attempt to be different, but in this attempt, actually become more similar (the duality of conformity and differentiation). How do you feel that fashion serves to differentiate between the classes? In other words, what role does fashion have in categorizing people by classes? What is the relationship between fashion and the lower classes? The upper classes? What is your relationship with fashion? Have you ever participated in ‘conspicuous consumption’ or know of someone who has? In your opinion what are some of the positives and negatives of this social phenomenon? Is materialism a good thing or a bad thing for societies?  (Use one sociological theory in your response to support your answer) 
  2. Describe factors at the (a) micro, (b) meso, and (c) macro levels that impact your ability to move up the social class ladder. Which one do you feel has the most impact and why? What evidence can you find that supports your claims? (Include at least one source)
  3. Watch the following Netflix episode of Explainedand answer the following questions; Please use two examples from the film to support your answers. 
    1. Video: Click Here
    2. How is the perpetuation of the growing wealth/poverty gap in the United States a systemic issue weaved into our social fabric and maintained through hegemonic (dominant) ideologies (i.e. racism, white supremacy, patriarchy, etc.)? Explain why and in what ways wealth and poverty are caused by laws, policies, and social structure, rather than by individual traits, such as hard work.

Due Date: Sunday April 24 by 11:59 PM 

Please DO NOT submit .pages files

ONLY submit word docs or pdf files. 

Assignment worth 20 Points

Chapter Learning Objectives:

To read these particular portions of the chapter, please click on the links below and you will be taken to that section of the book. 

9.1 What Is Social Stratification?

  • Differentiate between open and closed stratification systems
  • Distinguish between caste and class systems
  • Understand meritocracy as an ideal system of stratification

9.2 Social Stratification and Mobility in the United States

  • Understand the U.S. class structure
  • Describe several types of social mobility
  • Recognize characteristics that define and identify class

9.3 Global Stratification and Inequality

  • Define global stratification
  • Describe different sociological models for understanding global stratification
  • Understand how studies of global stratification identify worldwide inequalities

9.4 Theoretical Perspectives on Social Stratification

  • Understand and apply functionalist, conflict theory, and interactionist perspectives on social stratification

Instructions: 

For this week, you should review each section in the chapter reading and complete your chapter recap assignment and/or discussion board. You should also review all supplemental readings and/or videos that are provided for you in the module. Please remember that your responses for the chapter recap assignment should be approximately 5 to 7 sentences in length per question set (not individual questions). You should only upload word or pdf files (please DO NOT upload .pages files). Additionally, your discussion board responses are due on Friday (initial response to the discussion prompt) and Sunday (respond to at least TWO of your classmates posts). Your posts should also be approximately 5 to 7 sentences in length per question set (not individual questions). Please let me know if you have any questions concerns about the assignments. 

Help: 

Please find the assignments rubric under the ‘Course Resources’ module here: Link

You can also find book resources for your textbook here: Link (Links to an external site.)

I am always here to help so don’t hesitate to contact me with any concerns you may have:

How To Contact Me

Happy learning!!! 

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Instructions: Please read the instructions carefully and contact me if you have any questions prior to submitting your work. After reading the chapter and reviewing the PowerPoint and supplemental readings on the course site, you should complete the following tasks:  Answer the questions below. Your responses should be about one, 5 to 7 sentence, paragraph per question set (meaning numbers 1,2,3, etc should be about one paragraph in length.) Your responses should demonstrate a clear engagement and understanding of the course material, critical application of the sociological concepts/theory and should include clear grammar and sentence structure. Please review the assignment rubric under ‘Course Resources’ for clearer indication of grading distribution and let  me know if you have any questions/concerns.  1. Simmel defines fashion as a ‘duality’ in which people attempt to be different, but in this attempt, actually become more similar (the duality of conformity and differentiation). How do you feel that fashion serves to differentiate between the classes? In other words, what role does fashion have in categorizing people by classes? What is the relationship between fashion and the lower classes? The upper classes? What is your relationship with fashion? Have you ever participated in ‘conspicuous consumption’ or know of someone who has? In your opinion what are some of the positives and negatives of this social phenomenon? Is materialism a good thing or a bad thing for societies?  (Use one sociological theory in your response to support your answer)  2. Describe factors at the (a) micro, (b) meso, and (c) macro levels that impact your ability to move up the social class ladder. Which one do you feel has the most impact and why? What evidence can you find that supports your claims? (Include at least one source) 3. Watch the following Netflix episode of Explained and answer the following questions; Please use two examples from the film to support your answers.  1. Video: Click Here 2. How is the perpetuation of the growing wealth/poverty gap in the United States a systemic issue weaved into our social fabric and maintained through hegemonic (dominant) ideologies (i.e. racism, white supremacy, patriarchy, etc.)? Explain why and in what ways wealth and poverty are caused by laws, policies, and social structure, rather than by individual traits, such as hard work. Due Date: Sunday April 24 by 11:59 PM  Please DO NOT submit .pages files ONLY submit word docs or pdf files.  Assignment worth 20 Points

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INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY

Chapter 9: SOCIAL STRATIFICATION

College Physics

Chapter # Chapter Title

PowerPoint Image Slideshow

Throughout the world, the gap between those who are rich and those who are poor is widening.

Of the 7.3 billion people on the planet, 2.4 billion are so poor that they must subsist on the equivalent of two dollars a day or less.

There are a record-breaking 2,089 billionaires and 17 million millionaires, but there are hundreds of millions of homeless people.

The increase in world poverty also contributes to environmental degradation and political instability and violence, which drain resources that might be used to meet a nation’s domestic needs.

Economic Inequality in the United States

Social stratification is a society’s system of ranking categories of people in a hierarchy.

Stratification produces social classes, categories of people who have similar access to resources and opportunities.

In early societies, people shared a common social standing. As societies evolved and became more complex, they began to elevate some members. Today, stratification, a system by which society ranks its members in a hierarchy, is the norm throughout the world. All societies stratify their members. A stratified society is one in which there is an unequal distribution of society’s rewards and in which people are arranged hierarchically into layers according to how much of society’s rewards they possess. To understand stratification, we must first understand its origins.

***HISTORY OF STRATIFICATION

Hunting and Gathering Societies

Hunting and gathering societies had little stratification. Men hunted for meat while women gathered edible plants, and the general welfare of the society depended on all its members sharing what it had. The society as a whole undertook the rearing and socialization of children and shared food and other acquisitions more or less equally. Therefore, no group emerged as better off than the others.

Horticultural, Pastoral, and Agricultural Societies

The emergence of horticultural and pastoral societies led to social inequality. For the first time, groups had reliable sources of food: horticultural societies cultivated plants, while pastoral societies domesticated and bred animals. Societies grew larger, and not all members needed to be involved in the production of food. Pastoral societies began to produce more food than was needed for mere survival, which meant that people could choose to do things other than hunt for or grow food.

Division of Labor and Job Specialization

Division of labor in agricultural societies led to job specialization and stratification. People began to value certain jobs more highly than others. The further someone was from actual agriculture work, the more highly he or she was respected. Manual laborers became the least respected members of society, while those engaged in “high culture,” such as art or music, became the most respected.

As basic survival needs were met, people began trading goods and services they could not provide for themselves and began accumulating possessions. Some accumulated more than others and gained prestige in society as a result. For some people, accumulating possessions became their primary goal. These individuals passed on what they had to future generations, concentrating wealth into the hands of a few groups.

Industrialized Societies

The Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain in the mid-1700s, when the steam engine came into use as a means of running other machines. The rise of industrialization led to increased social stratification. Factory owners hired workers who had migrated from rural areas in search of jobs and a better life. The owners exploited the workers to become wealthy, making them work long hours in unsafe conditions for very low wages. The gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” widened.

The Improvement of Working Conditions

By the middle of the 1900s, workers had begun to secure rights for themselves, and the workplace became safer. Wages rose, and workers had something they had never had before: buying power. They could purchase homes, automobiles, and a vast array of consumer goods. Though their financial success was nothing compared to that of their bosses, the gap between the two was narrowing, and the middle class grew stronger.

At the same time, new forms of inequality took hold. The increasing sophistication and efficiency of factory machines led to the need for a different kind of worker—one who could not only operate certain kinds of equipment but could also read and write. The classification of the skilled worker was born. A skilled worker is literate and has experience and expertise in specific areas of production, or on specific kinds of machines. In contrast, many unskilled workers could neither read nor write English and had no specific training or expertise. The division arose between skilled and unskilled workers, with the former receiving higher wages and, as some would say, greater job security.

Postindustrial Societies

The rise of postindustrial societies, in which technology supports an information-based economy, has created further social stratification. Fewer people work in factories, while more work in service industries. Education has become a more significant determinant of social position. The Information Revolution has also increased global stratification. Even though new technology allows for a more global economy, it also separates more clearly those nations who have access to the new technology from those who don’t.

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What is Social Stratification?

Refers to a society’s categorization of its people into rankings of socioeconomic tiers based on factors like wealth, income, race, education, and power.

Stratification is not about Wealth (net value of money and assets a person has) and income (person’s wages or investment dividends) usually determine strata in the US.

3 MAIN SYSTEMS OF STRATIFICATION:

Slavery, Caste System and Class system

Slavery’s Global History

Many Americans view slavery as a phenomenon that began with the colonization of the New World and ended with the Civil War, but slavery has existed for a very long time. Slavery appears in the Old Testament of the Bible, as well as in the Qur’an. It was common practice in ancient Greece and Rome.

The Causes of Slavery

A common assumption about slavery is that it is generally based on racism. Though racism was the primary cause of slavery in the United States, it was not the main reason that people in other areas were enslaved. Reasons for slavery include debt, crime, war, and beliefs of inherent superiority.

Debt: Individuals who could not pay their way out of debt sometimes had to literally sell themselves. If a slave’s debt was not paid off before his or her death, the debt was often passed down to his or her children, enslaving several generations of the same family.

Crime: Families against whom a crime had been committed might enslave members of the perpetrator’s family as compensation.

Prisoners of war: Slaves were often taken during wartime, or when a new territory was being invaded. When Rome was colonizing much of the known world approximately 2,000 years ago, it routinely took slaves from the lands it conquered.

Beliefs of inherent superiority: Some people believe that they have a right to enslave those who they believe are inherently inferior to them.

Slavery in the United States

Slavery in the United States was unique for several reasons. First, it had a fairly equal male-to-female ratio. Slaves also lived longer than in other regions. They often reproduced, and their children were born into slavery. In other countries, slavery was not permanent or hereditary. Once slaves paid off their debts, they were set free. In the United States, slaves were rarely freed before the Civil War.

Slavery Today

Slavery still exists today. As many as 400 million people live under conditions that qualify as slavery, despite laws prohibiting it. In the Sudan, Ghana, and Benin, slavery exists much as it did 800 years ago. In other parts of the world, including Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, debt slavery is common. Sex slavery, the forcing of girls into prostitution, is prevalent in Asia.

4

Modern Day Slavery

Modern Day Slavery

Systems of Stratification

Open system: are based on achievement and allow movement between different strata.

Class system: based on social factors and individual achievement.

Class: people who share similar status with regard to factors like wealth, income, education, and occupation.

Meritocracy: where personal effort determines social standing

Social Mobility

Social mobility refers to the ability to change positions within a social stratification system.

Upward mobility-Downward mobility

Intergenerational mobility explains a difference in social class between different generations of a family.

Intragenerational mobility describes a difference in social class between different members of the same generation.

Structural mobility happens when societal changes enable a whole group of people to move up or down the social class ladder.

Types of Poverty

Relative poverty is a state of living where people can afford necessities but are unable to meet their society’s average standard of living.

Subjective poverty describes poverty that is composed of many dimensions;

it is subjectively present when your actual income does not meet your expectations and perceptions.

absolute poverty lack even the basic necessities, which typically include adequate food, clean water, safe housing, and access to health care.

Close to 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 a day

Relative poverty: focuses on the idea that people are poor relative to some standard, and that standard is partially shaped by the lifestyles of other citizens

Episodic poverty: poor for at least two consecutive months in some time period.

Absolute poverty: establishes a fixed economic level below which people are considered poor, and this level does not necessarily change as society on the whole becomes more or less affluent.

A Global View of Poverty

In nations such as Ethiopia, Liberia, and Somalia, well over 50 percent of the people live in such severe poverty.

Few, if any, of the poor in the United States experience such severe poverty.

Trends of the past century have produced higher levels of inequality in the United States while the trend in Britain has been toward reducing levels of inequality.

9

How much economic inequality is there in the United States today?

This is 13 times as much as the 3.8% earned by the poorest one-fifth of families.

Distribution of Income in the United States

10

How much economic inequality is there in the United States today?

Note that wealth is distributed much more unequally than income: 60% of families have less than 2% of all wealth.

Distribution of Wealth in the United States

Why Does Poverty Persist?

6.6: Analyze the individualistic, structural, and cultural explanations for poverty.

Many theories are offered to explain the nature of poverty and account for why so many people are impoverished in the U.S.:

Individualistic explanations

Structural explanations

Cultural explanations

Individualistic Explanations: poverty is primarily the result of laziness or lack of motivation, and those who are poor generally have only themselves to blame.

Individualistic explanations are popular in America because there is great ambivalence toward those who are poor.

Meritocracy

Structural explanations: attribute poverty to the functioning of the dominant institutions of society, such as markets and corporations.

assumes that poverty is a result of economic or social imbalances within the social structure that restrict opportunities for some individuals (e.g., a changing economy, a drive for profit inherent in capitalism, racism, sexism, an eroding safety net).

Cultural explanations: people become adapted to certain ways of life because of the way they were raised, including adapting to poverty.

a “culture of poverty” arises among poor people, with new norms, values, and aspirations.

The idea that there is a culture of poverty that arises among chronically poor individuals and families is controversial.

12

Class Traits and Fashion

Class traits: also called class markers, are the typical behaviors, customs, and norms that define each class.

Georg Simmel: Duality of differentiation and conformity/imitation

Fashion is a custom followed transiently.

It is a social phenomenon that occurs in almost all ages, races, social classes and societies.

Trends in clothing, music, cars and accessories.

Fashion As Imitation

“Fashion is an imitation of a given model”

Imitation provides the individual the security of not being alone in their performance.

The fusion of the individual and community.

Fashions die out when they become practiced by more and more people.

Symbolic Interactionism: In most communities, people interact primarily with others who share the same social standing; note that people’s appearance reflects their perceived social standing

Conspicuous consumption refers to buying certain products to make a social statement about status

Simmel: “En Vogue” is in large measure a consequence of higher classes attempting to distance themselves from the lower classes.

Fashion is a visible and easily identifiable sign of class position.

As lower classes seek to imitate higher classes, the upper classes seek new ways to retain and express their distinctiveness.

Modern society: mass production, access to wealth (purchasing power), cheaper products

Paradox: as we try to be unique in our fashion choices, we turn to buying mass-produced, standardized goods.

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“Tragedy of Culture”

A social constraint in which the ‘objective culture’ (material items we create) comes to dominate ‘subjective culture’ (self-development, interactions and individual will).

Compromises self-development and individuality by increasing conformity.

Cell Phone

Car

Computers

Money

Media

High price of Materialism (click for video)

Simmel described blasé attitude as an attitude of absolute boredom and lack of concern.  He goes on and states that we have limited emotional resources and are only able to give/care so much. Simmel explains it as a multiple stimuli and at the final step we withdraw emotionally. After reading this article, I could see the relations it has with blasé attitude and the bystander effect. Simmel talks about how we withdraw emotionally due to changes in knowledge, culture and how we are faced with diverse people and circumstances. 

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The Poverty Line

Poverty line: income level set by the government for the purpose of counting the poor

Roughly 3x what a family needs to eat a basic, nutritious diet.

The Consequences of Poverty

More than any other social class, the poor suffer from short life expectancies and health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental illness. Reasons include the following:

Poor people are often not well educated about diet and exercise. They are more likely than people in higher social strata to be overweight and suffer from nutritional deficits.

They are less likely to have health insurance, so they put off going to the doctor until a problem seems like a matter of life and death. At that time they must find a public health facility that accepts patients with little or no insurance.

Living in poverty brings chronic stress. Poor people live every day with the uncertainty of whether they can afford to eat, pay the electric bill, or make the rent payment. Members of the middle class also have stress but have more options for addressing it.

Poor people usually do not have jobs that offer them vacation time to let them relax.

High levels of unresolved stress, financial problems, and poor health can wreak havoc within a relationship. Poor people report more relationship problems than do people in other classes and have higher rates of divorce and desertion. The children of such families are more likely than their middle-class counterparts to grow up in broken homes or in single-parent, female-headed households.

The Culture of Poverty

Anthropologist Oscar Lewis coined the term culture of poverty, which means that poor people do not learn the norms and values that can help them improve their circumstances; hence, they become trapped in a repeated pattern of poverty. Because many poor people live in a narrow world in which all they see is poverty and desperation, they never acquire the skills or the ambition that could help them rise above the poverty level. Since culture is passed down from one generation to the next, parents teach their children to accept their circumstances rather than to work to change them. The cycle of poverty then becomes self-perpetuating.

Though the stratification system of the United States is based on class rather than on caste, some people claim that a racial caste system exists in this country. Slavery was outlawed after the Civil War, but some believe it was replaced by another prejudicial system—a caste system based on race. Though whites could no longer own slaves, they still considered themselves to be superior to people of African descent. They insisted on separate recreational, educational, and other facilities for themselves and their families and even prevented intermarriage between people of different races. Before this time, one’s race was a strong indicator of destiny, and some would say that there is still a racial caste system in the United States today

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In 2012, there were 46.5 million people in poverty, for a poverty rate of 15%

The Poverty Rate

The Poverty Rate in the United States,

1960-2012

The Poor: Who is at greatest risk?

Race: African Americans and Hispanics

Age: children

Gender: women

Family Patterns: single mothers

Region: the South and the West

Social Circumstances

The Working Poor

Despite common misconceptions, many adults below the official poverty line actually work for a living, often at low-paying or part-time work.

The Unemployed

The unemployed receive unemployment benefits for a time, but these are exhausted eventually.

Poor health, lack of skills, lack of jobs, lack of child care

Gender inequalities of this social phenomenon

Family composition: dissolution of marital unions, constitutions of families without these unions, higher male mortality

Family organization

Gender division of labor and consumption within the household, gender roles regulating the control over household resources

Inequality in the access to public services or in their quality

Barriers to education of girls, educational segregation by sex, lack of women specific health attention

Inequality in social protection

Contributory pensions systems reproducing previous labor market inequalities, lower access to pensions and social assistance by women, inequality in benefit concession or in benefit values in targeted policies

Labor market inequalities

Occupational segregation, intra-career mobility, differential levels of employment in paid work, wage discrimination, duration of work shifts.

Legal, paralegal and cultural constrains in public life

Property rights, discrimination in the judiciary system, constrains in community and political life, etc.

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Problems Linked to Poverty

1 out of 30 children or 2.5 million children

58K homeless veterans

Texas, California and Florida have the highest numbers of unaccompanied homeless youth under 18 (lgbtq 20% to 40%)

Homelessness affects men more than women 70%

Causes of homelessness can be found in recent social trends, such as

the decline in the number of industrial jobs that pay a living wage,

the flight of jobs from the cities where people live,

the contraction of social welfare,

increases in poverty, and

the decline in the amount of low-cost housing.

Other Causes: affordable housing, deinstitutionalization, redevelopment, US dept of VA, nearly half of foster children in the US become homeless (aging out of system), natural disasters, ex-cons and those hiding from authorities, fleeing domestic violence, teenagers who flee home, evictions, lack of social capital

College youth: FAFSA 2013 58K identified as homeless

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Poor health

Linked to a lack of good nutrition.

The infant mortality rate among the poor is twice the rate among affluent people.

Death comes earlier to the poor; more likely to die from infectious diseases and violence.

Substandard Housing

decline in availability of low-rent apartments

housing crisis starting in 2007

Homelessness

About 610,000 people are homeless on a given night

Up to 2.3 million people are homeless at some point during the year

Average monthly income for homeless families is $475

Problems Linked to Poverty

Limited schooling and education

Poor children are less likely than rich children to complete high school.

Poor counseling

Unresponsive administrators

Overcrowded classes

Irrelevant curricula

Tracking/grouping

Dilapidated school facilities (click for video)

Several can be addressed with more funding

Some are stalemated by disagreements

The Rising Cost of Education

Fewer poor children enter college; they have less chance of completing an advanced degree.

Education

One determinant of socioeconomic status is education. People with a high school degree are classified in one group. People with college degrees are put into another. Using educational attainment levels to indicate SES is problematic for two reasons:

School systems in this country are not uniform in quality.

Not everyone has equal access to primary, secondary, and higher education.

Free, compulsory education has existed in the United States since the beginning of the twentieth century, but some school systems are better than others. The American public education system tends to be highly decentralized, with decisions about what to include in the school curriculum being made at the state or local level. School systems differ widely in what they choose to teach and when.

Disparity of Resources Among Public Schools

Some school systems produce graduates who are prepared for higher education, while others turn out people whose basic math and language skills are so poor that they qualify for only a few types of jobs. The quality of the education a school provides depends largely on its budget, which in turn relies heavily on the tax base of the town or city in which it is located. Wealthy cities can afford better teachers, newer materials, and superior technology, whereas poor cities can barely afford basic supplies.

Poorer communities also tend to have a higher dropout rate than wealthier communities. Therefore, while establishing a profile of a typical high school graduate is difficult, the assumption remains, for the purposes of social classification, that all high school graduates are equally prepared for either the workplace or for higher education.

Disparity in Higher Education

The reliance on educational level as an indicator of social class becomes more problematic when one considers the huge variety of colleges in the United States. There are vocational schools, junior colleges, four-year colleges, and universities. Some colleges prepare individuals for specific careers, whereas others emphasize the development of intellectual and life skills. Religiously oriented colleges focus on development of the spirit and the teaching of theology as well as academic material. Some colleges encourage their students to pursue graduate degrees, whereas others assist middle-aged people in returning to college after long absences from the academic sphere.

Cost of Higher Education

As the quality of higher education varies, so does the cost of attending college. Even if our federal government completely subsidized the cost of a college education, as governments in some countries do, the financial circumstances of some individuals would preclude them from seeking higher education.

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Problems Linked to Poverty

Crime and Punishment

A focus on “street crime” means the poor are more likely to face arrest, trial, conviction, and prison.

The poor depend more on public defenders and court-appointed attorneys.

Conviction of a crime increases difficulty of finding a good job.

Political Alienation

Voters in 2012: 54% of people earning less than $40,000; 80% of people earning at least $100,000

“The Metropolis and Mental Life”

The intensity of stimuli in the urban environment

its consequences for the psychology of the city dweller.

The metropolitan person is bombarded with sensory impressions that lead him to adopt, out of necessity, an intellectualized approach to life.

Void of emotional investment (click for video)

What does it mean to be a homeless?

•According to the National Health Care for the Homeless Council a homeless is an individual who lacks housing and any other resources to have a comfortable living.

•These individuals may live on the streets; stay in a shelter, mission, single room occupancy facilities, abandoned building or vehicle; or in any other unstable or non-permanent situation.

Why do people become homeless?

•Poverty #1

•Unable to affordable Housing

•Health problems

•Substance Abuse

•Domestic violence

•Veterans

•Mentally Ill

Misconceptions about homeless population

#1. Homelessness is a choice

#2. They are all lazy

#3. All homeless are addicts

#4. Homeless people are dangerous

#5. Homelessness will never happen to me

Homeless Women

Feminist Standpoint Theory

Homeless women represent about 32% of the homeless population

Feminist Standpoint Theory is certain socio-political positions occupied by women that can become starting points for asking questions about not only those who are socially and politically marginalized but also those who, by making a dent in social a

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