Social life is a complicated process that is connected with a lot of relationships between the representatives of different classes into which the society is divided. It is not surprising, therefore, that these classes are in constant struggle with each other for power and wealth. However, such members of each of the social classes as women and elderly people are subject to various oppressions and multiple-jeopardy more than other representatives of such classes as bourgeoisie, working class, etc. This can be explained from various perspectives of social life, especially from the point of view of the conflict and functional perspectives. Consequently, this paper will focus on the issues that place women and elderly people in the American society under multiple-jeopardy through the perspectives of conflict and functional relations of these social groups with the whole society.
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The issues that women face in the modern society are rather various but their essence is limited to oppression and discrimination based on the sexual, social or racial principles. Consequently, if a functional perspective is taken into consideration, these discriminations of women can be viewed as the misinterpretations between the functions that women are expected to fulfill in the society, i. e. be housekeepers, mothers and wives, and the functions they actually fulfill nowadays, i. e. being successful careerists, business people and entrepreneurs. Accordingly, the social attitude towards such changes is dual for some people understand the necessity of change, while others still struggle against them causing women discrimination. Consequently, poverty and unemployment are the results of the misinterpretation of the functional perspective of the social life (Kornblum, W. & Julian, J., 2008).
The same can be said about the situation with elderly people in the society. The only difference between the issues women and elderly people face in this respect is the expectations of the society towards them. If women are viewed as the social group breaking the traditional boundaries of their functions in the society, elderly people is viewed as the ones that can not fulfill any useful function in the society, and therefore they are discriminated. In other words, traditional public opinion can not find any application of the functions that elderly people can fulfill in the society, and due to this discriminated these groups of people providing them with less means for existence, wealthy living, means for health care, social services, etc. These are the major factors that cause social problems of those who constitute the groups of women and elderly people in the society (Kornblum, W. & Julian, J., 2008).
Moreover, if viewed from the point of the second most important social perspective, conflict, the social problems and multiple-jeopardy of women and elderly people can be explained by other arguments. First of all, the conflict perspective of social science claims that different social groups and classes are in a constant fight between each other for power, wealth and domination in the society. Thus, the oppression and discrimination of women, according to this point of view, can be considered as the attempt of men directed at preserving their dominant position in the society. In other words, males dominate in the society since ancient times, and the modern trend towards emancipation of women and their access to the functions that were formerly fulfilled exclusively by men, is perceived hostilely by men. Accordingly, men controlling the major spheres of human activity and profit earning in the society, create for women worse working and living conditions artificially. For example, this is manifested in the lower wages offered by male employers to their female employees, rejection of female applicant for some positions, etc (Kornblum, W. & Julian, J., 2008).
For the elderly people, the conflict perspective is also applicable. First of all, the conflict between the elderly population that occupies the most important and powerful positions in the society and the younger people willing to substitute them on those positions is evident. Secondly, the inner family conflicts based on the struggle of the elderly and younger generation are often as far as the elderly people are willing to have care while youngsters are busy with building their own careers and have no time and desire to care for their elderly family members. Thus, from the point of view of the conflict perspective, the social problems and especially the multiple-jeopardy experienced by elderly people are viewed as the natural consequences of the conflict of interests which accompanies the existence of every two social groups when one of the possesses social influence and another one is eager of obtaining that influence (Kornblum, W. & Julian, J., 2008).
To conclude, the issues of social discrimination and multiple-jeopardy experienced by women and elderly people have their roots in two fundamental perspectives of social life – functional and conflict perspectives. Nowadays, aging of population is viewed as one of the most serious social problems and the understanding of the above considered perspectives should add to creation of the ways for its solution.
Kornblum, W. & Julian, J. (2008). Social Problems: (13th edition). Prentice Hall.
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