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Social Reproduction In Society Essay

1124 words - 5 pages

Social reproduction is the reproduction of cultural, human, and social capital in society. Therefore languages, traditions, cultural values, education, food security, and social circles are passed down from one generation to the next through Karl Mannheim’s concept of “fresh contact” and through society as a whole. Social reproduction is effective when social structures and equality within society are maintained. Inequality, poverty, and social changes that force society to adapt can impede the process of social reproduction causing what is known as a “crisis in social reproduction” (Wells, 2009). Born into Brothels demonstrates a crisis of social reproduction that negatively impacts the lives of children living in Sonagachi as a result of globalization, neoliberal policies, poverty, lack of adequate education and social structures to pass down capital, and the stigma of prostitution. Additionally, it shows the need for children to make economic contributions to their families that prevent them from leaving the brothel.
The globalization of ideas and policies has consequences that hinder social reproduction. The effects of globalized neoliberal policies are apparent in Sonagachi. Neoliberal policies influence free market economies, individualism, and privatization, which contradict previous existing structures in their society. Dominant cultures view poverty as a result of weak government that can be fixed by neoliberal policies. International organizations such as the World Bank pressure less developed countries to implement market economies, which privatizes the family and reverses social policies that citizens rely on. The lack of social policies and government assistance force children into the working sphere to help provide for the family and perpetuates poverty. In turn, families struggle to support their children, and reproduce society. Forcing other societies to adapt politically and economically to dominant policies disrupts their culture, values, and existing systems. These effects are evident in Sonagachi especially in regards to the focus on individuals and the need to make money, poverty, and reliance on children to make economic contributions.
The effects of poverty can be seen in individual children, families, and all of society in the red light district. Poverty is passed down through the generations and is a social norm. In accordance with Bourdieu’s reproduction theory, the social norms in Sonagachi reproduce social inequality. Poverty limits their opportunities, which makes it difficult to escape. Some of the children in Born into Brothels realized the stronghold of poverty and inequality and decided to accept it rather than use their social agency to try and make a change. Therefore they reproduce the norm. The reproduction of poverty and norms within Sonagachi contradict the concept of a universal childhood. Since they must work, are exposed to poor living conditions, prostitution, and “immorality,” they experience a...

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