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Inequality On The Sidewalk Essay

3260 words - 14 pages

The book Sidewalk, by Mitchell Duneier, touches on an extreme amount of social inequality issues and things that go on in an everyday urban society. He is a sociologist that wanted a personal inside look on what the people of the “sidewalk” go through in their mundane lives. The book itself, is a layout, better yet a portrait of these people’s or “vendors” experiences. Duneier wastes no time trying to dig deep into the problems that the people on the street have to go through. For instance, living conditions, hunger, and family issues while he also touches on bigger problems such as race, class, work, informal economy, social stratification, addiction, and gender issues. I believe Duneier's reasoning for writing and publishing this book is to try and change our views of these people that we constantly stereotype and group together as useless, stupid human beings.
The population of people Duneier interviews, films, and takes pictures of, are groups of people that society tends to forget about. One might not even realize the amount of inequality these people go through because they have never been in their shoes, and on the contrary, they might be the one causing the inequality. Duneier gets a close look at problems, that us people, with a place to live, a job, and a college education would never understand or know anything about. Duneier focuses on the relationships that these people have with each other, whether they be friends, enemies, mentors and last but not least, competitors. Duneier also brings up the interactions that the vendors have with the public that stereotype, and sometimes dismiss their very existence whether it be out of fear or discomfort. He discusses the idea that the public might be the very reason these people stay homeless because we view them as an entirely separate group of people. A group that smells, are always begging, and are always in the way.
If these people were given a chance to start over and get a real job inside a heated facility, I would be curious to see if they would jump at the opportunity. In reality however some of them couldn’t be in line for a job like that because of how society views them. Society doesn’t necessarily believe that they are fit for any job because of how they look or what their current status is. If they have criminal records or anything that has to do with law violations they are frowned upon and turned away. I believe that Duneier is trying to show us that they too are humans and people that are part of our society. They too have families and friends. We shouldn’t ignore or degrade what they’re doing because that is sometimes the only option they have. Social Inequality is a huge problem everywhere but is an even bigger problem to people on the streets. In this paper, I investigate the idea of social inequality and inequality in general from the views of 3 main theorists, Marx, Weber and Acker. I will discuss their views on things such alienation,______, and gender inequality...

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