Showing posts with label Social-global stratification. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social-global stratification. Show all posts

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Jan 14 (Sn) 2017 Do you like to put the "Shxxhxle" in a gentle perspective? Yes, I do...

Do you like to put the "Shxxhxle" (Axxxxle) in a gentle perspective? Yes, I do...

When the us leader condescended on some countries with a vulgar word of “Sxxxhxle”, the gentle and kind scenarios toward this nothing-"surprising"-event may look like these:

This person intentionally reinforces his base and the non-base with his “non-political innocence”, or “straight-forwardness” which is the non-existent attribute or character of the most career politicians, so both his supporters and dissidents may not fuss up a non-professional business-politician’s cute conducts. Thus, the American people will be saturated with these types of self-claimed genius-acts and loosen up the alert of the continuous narcissistic behaviors. Finally, everyone might as well just drop the potential Impeachments.

You don’t prosecute a mentally disturbed person, even so genuinely faked, do you?

Meanwhile, could you image if the other presidential candidate had won the game, how boring, and disappointed it might have been to the mushrooming media mouth-pieces, including the high time of all sorts of comedians, the booming political junkies and analysts, as well as the hype of Wall Street speculators ?

Furthermore, how the global politic-economic games might have lost its "dynamics", if not the highly demanded the "lime-lights" on the playfulness of the running bull in the china shop?

It manifests the limitation of the individual life experiences, such as, the ability to put oneself into others’ shoes. As a short story goes that a 2nd grader tells his/her teacher who discusses the concept of life styles between the rich and poor families. The kid raised his/her hand to express ideas, “I think my family is very poor, because our housemaids always wear the same old clothing, my tutors bring in lunch bags without fruits, and my father’s chauffeur’s shoes are so worn out…  I think my father does not have money to hire people who are not so poor. My poor daddy.... My family is really poor! ” Social class experiences are unique to each stratum.

Insiders have hard time to comprehend the outsiders’ situations. The empathetic simulations might only capture a glimpse of different life styles and conditions. Between Us and Them, there exists an invisible chasm unable to be crossed over. A good example is this: there was one of the brat emperors in the history when he heard the officials reporting the death tolls of people in a severe famine, “Your Majesty, the mass has no rice, wheat, nor corns to eat. They are starving to death…We need to work out a disastrous famine relief Act as soon as possible...” The emperor, then, absent-mindlessly raised his voice, “Why are you guys so stupid?! If they don’t have rice or wheat, why not just eat meat to stop the hunger?” (朱門酒肉臭, 野有餓死骨). There is a Taiwanese saying, “He who eats rice readily made every day, does not know how much costs a kilo of rice” (吃米不知米價). People taking many things for granted is a part of the habituated outcomes of conditioning.

Ask these questions and answer honestly - who and which generation truly work hard, if not work smart for the America? Who are those truly representing the US spirit - the land of the Free and the home of the Brave? Who are those living off the social programs, particularly, with their very own decadent downward social mobility, seeking rewards with the least efforts, exploiting those who have hard time to climb up the social ladder?

How does it look like in the US, if you cut off the immigrants of the high-end foreign "voluntary self-enslaving, intelligent labor forces” and the low-end INVOLUNTARY cheap-slaving laborers? What does the middle-end of mediocrity seek, if not comfort, easy life, without getting finger dirty, then what else? A proverb says that the lazy dogs in the manger, complain and force the hard-working, hard-hatted cats away from competing the food sources.
If you recall the history of immigrants, you might encounter the fact that the ONLY people in the US, who don’t take things for granted,  are,  the First-Generation Immigrants, and in the past, they were probably, your grand-grand-grand… mothers and fathers. They had/have to fight and work hard for everything with vitality infusing into the aging, deteriorating society with new blood. From the shamed native language and learning the new one, struggling and competing for jobs (not with the black, yellow or brown yet), protecting belongings, adapting the new living environment which, sometimes, could relate to life and death. In short, they needed to adapt, adjust, and relearn the new whole cultural package (even within the Caucasian Ethnic groups). But after the successful adaptation, the upgraded status separates them from the new comers. The story repeats itself from the day one of the Mayflower till today in the countries of immigrants, including, such as, Australia, Canada etc. white immigrated nations (WIN), ( those of which are not WIN in the Southeast Asia have different stories). Then, much later, the story was added with different colored classes into this competitive arena.

Is he qualified to be a typical Social Darwinist baby? The phrase “survival of the fittest” is best understood as "Survival of the form that will leave the most copies of itself in successive generations". Though the notion was originated from the Darwinism, in fact, Herbert Spencer was the first person who coined these words. 

Spencer after reading
On the Origin of Species of Charles Darwin, published in 1859, he used this phrase - “Survival of the fittest” in his Principles of Biology, published in 1864. He drew parallels between his own economic theories and Darwin's biological ones: "This survival of the fittest, which I have here sought to express in mechanical terms, is that which Mr. Darwin has called 'natural selection', or the preservation of favored races in the struggle for life".  This juxtaposed phenomenon of social and natural sciences might have presumed that human species has the similar evolutionary process to that of the non-human living organisms – those who are “stronger” are on the top of the human totem.

Nevertheless,  the questions are, how people are or become stronger, and stronger in what sense? Yes, we do see people like Shaquille O'neal growing up to the 7’1”, 325 lbs., or Michael Jordan being able to jump higher than the basketball hoop, or actress Audrey Hepburn, born with the natural beauty. These are biologically based or naturally endowed strength by human values, as in the animal kingdom, lions with stronger muscles, bigger claws and tougher fangs, will dominate the pride. These values are biologically pre-determined attributes (but determined by Whom, and what?) Nevertheless, if there were not the sport institutions, or the entertaining industries existing and demanding these biologically attractive attributes, then the supreme height, speed, and beauty might have not been discovered, cultivated, trained, or supplied.  For example, there was a short story about a traveler who visited Africa. During the trip, he accidentally found a boy who played soccer with kids in a poor neighborhood. The excellent skills of this boy shocked the traveler who, in the long run helped recruit him to the Europe. Then, the story ended with the success, money, and fame bestowed to this used-to-be a mini poor boy. The similar stories can also be found from many baseball stars from Lain America in the US. Major Leagues. Individual talents might count for nothing, or being buried, if not cultivated in the interconnected social institutions or systems.

As a cliché goes that it takes many villages for a long period of time to let a genius flourishing. In sociological terms, it refers to the accumulated, both positive and/or negative national/cultural capitals, and the inter-generational social mobility that nurture or hinder the individual's naturally endowed potentials, or given defects (i.e., the Ascribed Statuses, as mentioned in the previous article of life chance vs. life opportunity). 

A familiar setting of the writer’s: in the classroom, she observes that most students tend to agree to the notion of meritocracy. Most of them believe in those who are on the top of social ladder are smarter, work harder, and deserve the “merits” they earn/deserve “individually”. Even more interesting phenomenon is that students also reflect they earned every bit of their own “success” (most of them come from the working-class background). The playing field is leveled or not, which is not important, for oftentimes, it is not visible or out of thoughts, but how much efforts one puts into that counts. In fact, this mixed blessing individualism is quite inspiring that people need to believe in self-reliance to ask what oneself can do for the country, not the other way around confidently. Furthermore, most people believe opportunities (what kind of opportunity is not questioned) are available to everyone, “equally”, particularly, in the US. A good scenario in the classroom looks like this when the topic is focused on the social mobility:

John, “There are tons of job opportunities available. Some people are just lazy who don’t want to pull themselves up and prefer to stay home living off well-fare programs, or just beg for money, instead of sending their job application forms to the hiring companies. Today, on the way driving to the school, I saw both McDonald and Walmart are hiring people…” Jenny continues,” Ya, one of my neighbors, getting government checks monthly, purchases everything they want, and I, have to work my butt off…”. Finally, Jamie says, “O. K., this is my family thing. My sister got pregnant at the age of 17 and dropped out of school. Now she gets everything, from food stamps, to housing subsidy… Then I have to earn every penny to pay my tuition (in fact, 56% of it is from the local tax payers) and the rest of bills…”  As an instructor, in this situation, you cannot deny that there are the diligent, lazy and people between these two spectra with different dispositions from various social strata.  People with bootstraps to pull themselves up might not understand some, who might not have boots, nor bootstraps. You also think of Nickle and Dimed regarding how, some people are deeply trapped in the culture of poverty INVOLUNTARILY, unhealthy living conditions, lack of basic job-seeking capacities (e.g., the ability to pay the rent, get a car, and the rest of cost associated with it: the car insurance policy, gas, parking spot/fees, maintenance, and the rest of utility bills), just to name a few. Then, the lucky ones, believe in the just-world-phenomenon (you-get-what-you-deserve),  regardless the deeply intertwined social forces imposing on every individual with no exception, which, unfortunately, are invisible to the most people.Yes, god helps those who help themselves - the statement can get you and politicians no wrong.

Most of us are standing on the shoulders of giants, dwarfs, and the heights between them to begin our life journeys. On the giant’s, may give you broader horizon and inspire you with higher goals, but, some might not fully take such an advantage or use/be aware of the privilege to advance themselves or humanity. Whereas, on the dwarf’s, most exposed to the limited eyesight, and the thriving spirit may be left less inspired or under-developed, while some learn to stay put with unmotivated mindset via the scarce opportunities.  The downward social mobility, in this case, can spiral down, unless unusual conditions break up the cyclical conditions. Those in the between, there are various possible mobility for better and worse. General speaking, with necessary and sufficient scaffolds, the better well-beings can be achieved.

Within a society, or between societies, there are different shoulders of giants, dwarfs, and the heights between them to stand on. These giants and dwarfs are part of the global stratification system derived from the historical conditions: culture diffusion, invention, discovery, geo-political formation, imperialism, neo/colonialism, and the rest man-made ideologies shackle human mind via various power structures.

Are there potential solutions available to ameliorate the aforementioned conditions? Which of the following institution do you still believe in making the potential transformation possible - government/politics, military, economy, religion, family, health care, media, or education?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Jan 5 (F) 2017 How fascinating the phenomena they are : Life Chances and Life Opportunities (命 and 運) ?

Jan 5 (F) 2017   What are the similarities and differences between Life Chances and Life Opportunities (命 and 運). (This is not an academic writing).
Sun Lasting

Today is her father's (1910 -1993 ce.) Memorial Day.

She has been curious about how a man becomes a father (biologically) and then a dad (economic-culturally) since she was a little girl.  Coincidentally, on the top of the book bank along her bed was Richardson's William James, 1842-1910 ce. (including his equally renowned and respectable brother, accomplished so much like him), colorfully embellished with fascinating and endless, first of all, life chances, then, followed by the numerous opportunities and choices - compared to majority of his contemporaries, even those of today, to develop every bit of human potentials.

Her father was born in the same year when James passed away - an interesting sociological phenomenon to see the individual, societal, national, and global gaps separating these two men.

Her father, without education (so as his wife, the writer's mother, of this article, who was purely a so-called, illiterate), but fortunately, a cooking skill he learned from a Japanese (Japan occupied/colonized Taiwan from 1895 to 1945) restaurant sustained his survival and attracted her mother, an eldest daughter who needed food sources to support her adoptive parents and their seven children - her mother's siblings. Yes, coincidentally, but not accidentally, both her parents were orphans. You have to be pulled back to a time to imagine how the gender ideology powerfully ingrained into various socio-economic conditions of different walks of lives to grasp the behaviors in inducing or forcing a woman to put one leg into her casket for a pregnancy, not to mention, enduring the multiple births (often time, demanded to give birth a male offspring). Then, men, most of time and most of them were part of the victims of politic-economic ideology, who could not afford to do anything to mitigate the suffering, if not reinforcing it. 

As she grew up, she realized her father had a good brain even though her mother (who also owned a good brain, if not better than her father's) denied every bit of his merits. The couple struggled through a miserable marriage with ten children, which, unexpectedly, made some of their offspring stronger.

Fortunately, born as a middle child among many siblings, she cherishes the birth-order (yes, her best life chance that she has ever gotten from her parents) that provided her much more advantages than the siblings older and younger than she. Her mother gave birth of her when she was in her prime of 35, while her youngest sister was born when mother was very ill at age of 45. One of her siblings, once sourly joked about, "Ar-may-a (the writer's nickname) is the luckiest child in the world. She got the best birth condition among all!" when mom was in the good shape of health. And this event became the most unfair privilege happening in this family.  But, things always have, at least, two sides of stories. No one could argue that mother almost lost her life through this child-birth during the hottest day of the year without fans, any cooling devices, or any medical assistance available. In other words, her coming to this world was not so much welcomed, because she almost took away her dear mother's life - an unconscious un-filial pious scar hidden inside her mind.  This is the main reason why the root beer is the only pop that she could accept in the US that her mother advised not to drink any soda when she left for the US for a study via a national scholarship. In fact, she likes root beer very much. The reason was that mother told her, during the difficulty of giving birth of her, a bottle of root beer (黑松沙士) resuscitating her diminishing energy to push her out to the world!  Root beer saved the lives of her mother and her!

Then she grew up with a minor autism. But that was O.K. to her life chances except one thing. She does not bear any resemblance to her beautiful mother, but duplicated with every bit of unattractive facial features from her father - a wrong combination of eyes, notes, mouth, teeth, and the shape of the whole face (how wrong? It takes another article to write about why the facial canvas becomes the best practice of her drawing and painting. So, stay tuned :D).

As a little girl, the neighbors knew that there was an ugly child in her family. How could this family secret  spread out  through the neighborhood? Then you had to know a son of her mother's adoptive parents (a strange type of adoption you could have ever heard about. Another book needs to be written about it).  He is uncle Yoshi whom her mother supported the most during the hardest time of all folks.   Since she could understand the human language (yes, she was still unable to talk until about 3 years of age), she was repeatedly instilled with the notion, "Ar-may-a is the ugliest girl in the world. She is so ugly that she scares away the train that she hopes to have opportunity to board on," uncle Yoshi proclaimed inside and outside the family all the time.  This statement was well disseminated among her relatives. She was a fun, laughing stock of uncle Yoshi, while mother could not say anything about her adoptive brother's indulgence. Mother could not deny the "FACT" she brought her to this world. From these trivial events, you might  also be able to empathize how caring, loving, and responsible as an adoptive (eldest) sister/daughter her mother was! What the hack in the world does any mother allow people to criticize, not to mention- make fun or ridicule her lovely, adorable, and beautiful babies??

The conditions depicted above  have never had effects on her appreciation of her life chances that her parents gave to her. The older siblings suffered "legacies" passed down from her parents, that had tremendous impact on their life conditions, while the younger ones, her parents were old enough, and older siblings had their own life engagements, attention and care were not much available to them.  (For these, there could be a couple of books needed to be written out). The "just-make" adversities, challenges, and joy facilitating her life opportunities are  so precious to her.  She appreciates everything happening in her life. Thanks, dear mom, dad, brothers, and sisters!!! She is the luckiest child among the ten! This appreciation triggered her to write about events that she has the first-hand experience (and fortunately, being a sociologist) to probe into the fascinating human phenomena of  Life Chances and Life Opportunities.

After the above fluffy trivia, now  let's gear toward the serious things. 

Some of the great or not-so-great biographies or autobiographies written till today, tend to interest socially conscious audience and readers, such as, like her, to view from the sociological perspective of Life Chances (comprising Life Opportunities/Choices) to get into the vicissitude of the protagonist's life journey. A positive effect of this approach may reduce a potentially biased perception on the disparity between the notion of success vs. non-success, and re-defines the idea of merit-talent vs. fault-mediocrity. It may also redeem the value of the Genteel or the Leisure class (i.e., the aristocrats/intellectuals/elitists) in human society if so called the "refined advancement" or the "progress of civilization" is destined or desirable.  In this sense, sociology shares some of the philosophical beauty in seeing patterns and chaos through the human kaleidoscope, but sociology also would have had more limitations in explaining (engineering, or fixing) the fundamental questions and problems, such as, the most obvious one, what determines human beings to be born with different skin colors "at the first place"; why faiths, religions are so deeply ingrained in human psyche, if not assisted by the interpretations of the bio-psych-evolutionary (and once in a while, via "Buddhism") theories.

So, what is "chance"? At the factual value, it is the opposite of determinism. It refers to the possibility of something to happen - accidentally or fortuitously, or it refers to probabilities of an event occurring or taking place in future. For example, the writer of this article was born in Taipei, Taiwan, female (yes, a type of ugly baby with a minor autism by uncle Yoshi's standards :)!), in a family depicted above. It was is on chance, not opportunity, unless certain type of "enlightenment", technology, social-engineering, and the rest of man-made mechanisms intervene.

It is lucky or lacks luck. It can be a state of randomness which lacks patterns or predictability. The sociological jargon, it calls "ascribed statuses", which individuals are born with or involuntarily pick up in the later life. Thus, people are born with ascribed conditions that they have no control over, whether positively and/or negatively.  They have significant impact in the later "achieved statuses", accomplished positively and/or negatively as well - with various life opportunities ascribed into.

Generally speaking, a universally popular saying, "Gods help those who help themselves" has positive effects to help people with power, privileges, and authority in guiding the mass to believe in themselves, for the ascribed statuses (both positive and negatives) tend to be invisible, or intentionally neglected and ignored by both the aware, keen, unaware, and the uninformed people. The Horatio Alger syndrome flourishing in the early stage of a capitalistic society will be discussed later in this article.

Though, individual random events are unpredictable, through the law of large numbers, the cumulative frequencies of different outcomes over a large number of events (or "trials") is predictable. This interesting phenomenon provides sociology with convincing power in explaining structures, patterns, dynamics, and entropy in social role, status (ascribed vs. achieved), institutions, social stratification, social mobility, intra/inter-generational mobility, and social reforms/revolutions. For example, a person to be born into poor, rich, black, white, male, female, healthy, congenitally diseased and so on bio-attributes, if without the intervention of technological or social engineering, it is based on chance as mentioned in the previous section with a real example of the writer's.  At the individual level, it is an effect of randomness. Majority of people may take the personal choices as their freedom or "free will" to decide their destiny, such as believing in the choice to decide whom they want to marry, job chosen for living, place selected to live, the type of moral compass they carry... and so on. A typical example frequently happening in the sociological classroom at a two-year tech college setting with a student body of a majority working-class would look like this:

John shared his idea about social mobility covered on that day of stratification topic, " I have the absolute freedom to choose joining the military to climb up my social ladder.  Why, because it is I making such a choice. No one else could influence me about such a decision."  Then, as an instructor under such a political climate (particularly when students know that she is a retired female Captain who served 8 years in the military, and she is a minority, in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, age, language/accent..), she nodded with her head, and positively appreciated the student's courage and patriotism to serve this country with so much confidence in believing in oneself.  Then the instructor shared an event happening yesterday, " A news reporter visited a university of the Ivy Leagues. S/he participated in a student government meeting with sizzling energy filled up the Auditorium. A student leader harangued at the end of a topic related to the current issue, " ... our nation is facing unprecedented crisis. The enemy determines to destroy our life style, our democracy, and the rest.... Support our troop!!!"  The rest of audience boisterously shouted it loud "Hurray!! Support our troop..."  After a short while, the reporter got the student speaker for a brief interview,
" In this case, would you like to enlist the military to serve our country when so much needed? "  The student speaker, paused, and then reluctantly answered, "Oh, well, my parents encourage me to go for an MBA degree..." The instructor asked students to comment on this event, including John. Not surprisingly, most students would say, "Here is America. You absolutely have freedom to make your choice to be whatever you want to be. That's!"  The pattern of these recurrent comments throughout years from most of the students, make her re-think of the power of myth to keep the Horatio Alger's "optimism" alive - what a mixed blessing!! Do you blame the always on the rise of Individualism being a Nemesis of Sociology? Why does sociology have to go through these "Much ado about your teaching which even cannot compete with a myth...", the instructor scratched the head with doubt of the "authentic" effect of sociology learning, for most of them would earn the passing or better grades through a type of necessary shallow learning. What is so called authentic assessment of the learning outcome? Does she expect too much from these one-shot-of sociology students? This course is not required by many degree programs. Furthermore, this could be the only opportunity that students get to taste the flavor of sociology. She constantly rolls up all her sleeves, wipes out the last drop of the sweat to get them to like, appreciate, embrace, even, take sociology as a major or minor if they plan to transfer to a 4-year college, and hopefully, remember the motto from day One of the course, " Sociology is not just a mirror reflecting reality, but with hammer to re-shape it"!

SOS!! Help her! Are there better pedagogic approaches to debunk all sorts of myths (in jargon, false consciousness, or ingrained ideologies) at this level of teaching and learning? She cannot afford any dislike or misunderstanding toward sociology from students!  Even though she developed variety of teaching strategies and learning activities, including a daily ritual to make students connecting to the bigger society, writing letters to a personified Society in an intimate manner, and expect that connection could exist after they complete this course. But a 3-credit, 48- hour course (equivalent to 2 days' official learning), how much can she get and expect?

Here is her personal note: "Indeed, the ultimate and the most challenging task for being a sociology instructor at a 2-year tech college setting, from my humble bias, is not debating and discussing those tons of sociological jargon, theories and practices. It is making that thin, fine, ephemeral line invisibly connecting individuals and the larger society/institutions tangible or palpable that brands sociology with exciting and perplexing flavors. What a daunting task!!! Mills' sociological imagination may be cultivable among some of the determined sociologist students, but it might not be a nice or necessary thing to have among students from certain social classes - and because this, it makes sociology teaching and learning complicated and fascinating".

Returning to the main topic, nevertheless, at the institutional level, the interlocking of the pivotal social structures, such as family, government, education, religion, health care institutes, media, economic systems, imposes circumscriptions on individuals with certain amount of opportunities depending on different social strata (class) they are born into. For example, a function of the law of large numbers expresses the predictability of pattern of those who are "randomly" born into wealthy, powerful, and prestigious family tend to possess higher probability to live healthier, longer with higher socioeconomic success than those who are not. This strand of research is popularized in the sociological field and other relevant disciplines.

On the other hand, opportunity, by a general definition, is a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. Opportunity in this sense refers to the extent to which one has access to resources, both tangible ones such as materials to sustain life, and intangible ones such as education and aesthetic values. Circumscribed by chances, opportunities operate within the boundary of the chance which provides. Individuals put efforts to grab the available opportunities to achieve their goals. Thus, opportunities to be fruited require actions to make them happen. Nevertheless, to take actions, the opportunities have to exist (whether created or blocked) at the first place.   There are many types of gatekeepers gingerly guard all sorts of opportunities. For example, there are higher pay with specific hard and/or soft skills required job opportunities available if one gets a college or professional degree to meet with the requirement to apply to.

This means that the opportunity is opened to those who are qualified to participate in the job competition. In this case, educational opportunity has to exist prior to the job opportunity, similar to the notion that equality needs to be ready before the equity to be worked out.  
There is less likely to leave merely for chance or probability, unless the human intervention happens, such as nepotism, favoritism, and the rest of unfairness hindering the equal opportunity idealism, such as sexism, racism, ableism, classism and the rest of exclusivism. 

Opportunity, in sociology, is an essential goal of "socio-teleology". To beat the odds (circumscribed chances), individual's effort has limitation.  Government's policy making and collective movements in social reforms/revolution are to aim at broadening or equalizing the opportunity to each individual.

Now juxtaposing chances and opportunities, here is a brief review about these two terms. A life has a chance to be born as a black, white, brown, or mixed race, but saying that one has an opportunity to be born into rich or poor family makes no sense, because chances happen in the future (most of time, randomly), while opportunities require actions to generate consequences both in beneficial and/or disadvantaged ways. Thus, one has opportunities to climb up or slide down from the social ladder, due to one's effort/talent, or laziness/lack of education/motivation...etc., which, again, are not independent events, but correlated to one's generational SES conditions - an institutional phenomenon.

So now you might understand there is a sociological base for this idiom: Some people are born to destine for success, others, struggling on the road of less traveled, while the rest of 95%, have the "privilege" to watch both the success and struggle of the previous two categories. This is what she mentioned above that meritocracy, talent, failure, and fault might not be so clear cut without discrediting some individuals' glorious achievements. Furthermore, this phenomenon might also help  decode a myth puzzling her for a while, which the Buddha proclaims in the 5th century BCE. He says, All Lives Are Equal (I think, including both sentient and non-sentient beings) in a society where the Caste system was the norm.

In short, it is enhancing the availability and accessibility of opportunities that drives humanity going and thriving. But in order to increase life opportunities to ensure equity, the conditions (in particular, the disadvantages) embedded in the life chances have to be examined and reduced.

Max Weber coined the term - "Life chances" (Lebenschancen in German) which is a social science theory of the opportunities each individual has to improve their quality of life. According to this theory, life chances are significantly correlated with one's socioeconomic status (SES). Since the 100 % self-made man (rarely speaking, woman) does not exactly exist in the human society, SES tends to be accumulative through generational built-up or built-down.  Factors of race/ethnicity, gender, ancestry, nationality, religion, language, physicality, and sexual orientation comprise the possibility of upward, downward, and horizontal social mobility, which in terms contribute to the inter-generational social mobility. Both Weber and Marx emphasized that economic factors were important in determining one's life opportunities. Inspired by Marx, Weber's concepts of life chances are more complex than Marx's views on the dichotomy of  social class (Bourgeoisie vs. Proletarians).  Weber stressed the link between life chances and the "non-random" factors of the tripartite – wealth, power, and prestige affecting each individual's life chances, and in terms, life opportunities. Individuals' group membership and in the specific social institutions have in common for enhancing their life chances as well life opportunities, for example, practicing endogomy/homogomy with exceptional demands on exogomy, either for politic-economic alliance, or bio-genetic concerns; to re-create better life "chances" for the offspring, and later, life opportunities; inner networking for career opportunities; and keeping outsiders at bay, to name a few.

In life chances, cultural capitals are the invisible resources (both positive and negative: wealth, power, prestige, stigma, poverty, marginalized status and so on) passed down in family through generations. Most sociologists argue that education (the authentic type) is the major mechanism to enhance upward social mobility. In her classroom, she tends to differentiate cultural capitals into (1) social capitals, (2) financial capitals, (3) and emotional capitals (can be more). These invisible capitals run behind the door of a family through generations, positively, negatively, and often time, both. That explains how different social classes comprehend parental styles, consumption pattern, health conditions, social/economic issues (and the intertwining of both), political ideologies, voting patterns, and the rest of socioeconomic behaviors.

Regarding agency and structure, life chances represent the structure (stratified) of  people's ascribed statuses that individuals have no control over; whereas one's achieved statuses are the agency based on one's values and beliefs, risk taking, social skills, and choices (which, correlated to one's/family's SES conditions) comprising one's behavior which one has control over.  According to Weberian theories, together ascribed and achieved social statuses of life chances and life opportunities are responsible for one's lifestyle.

Enhancing life chances (social engineering) involves in systemic and systematic changes, such as ameliorating poverty, ensuring a leveled playing field for individuals, and reducing the inequality of the ascribed statuses that one has no control over, such as class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, and the rest of stratified or socially constructed conditions hindering a personal life opportunities.  In short, a person's achieved statuses are hinged on the ascribed conditions. Therefore, reducing the various disparity at the birth (the gaps among class, race, ethnicity, gender, class, disability, national origins, religion and so on) through social policies is a government's fundamental responsibility. This is also the ultimate meaning of sociology.

Thus, early intervention is necessary in improving life chances. “No child should endure poverty and no child’s life chances should be shaped by the accident of birth" is not an idealistic notion but a reality necessarily to reduce inequality in the early stage of a child's life.  Early intervention, particularly in health care and education is a practical measure to ensure equity.

The following video and picture illustrate the above phenomena based on race and gender (surely, intertwine and intersect with class) two factors:


The whole politic-economic system correlated to people's life chances and opportunities, such as from James' to her father's, are part of the universal phenomena of social stratification. Just like in the sinking Titanic, some people were on the top deck, near the life boats; others, in the middle deck, struggling for surviving took efforts; and the rest, at the bottom of the ocean liner, death was much closer to reality.  Facing life and death, social class mattered, and no one was to blame for why, what, and how it happened to an unsinkable boat equipped with 700 life boats for 2400 passengers boarded on the 3 levels of deck!    

Now, time for relax. Song for tonight: The House of the Rising Sun...  


Sun Lasting
Sun Lasting Pop quiz for today:
In this case, Class and Race (most of time, they intertwine, though. Gender is another big factor, plus the rest of variables), which one you think has more impact on an individual's life chances?


Sun Lasting  When I don't post, it continuously sends me reminders.
Then I come back with sympathy for this volunteering job to a profiteering Giant Inc.
(See all the information you and I generously give away to feed these Cloud, Big Data businesses).
We co-re-create the 1984!!
See what I got !

Crystal Curriculum Vitae

Teaching Experience:

Fall 2003 to present, Faculty, teaching Art Appreciation, American Government, Diversity Studies, Psychology, Sociology, and Social Problems via multiple delivery formats (course designer and facilitator for the face to face, online, hybrid, ITV -High School Youth Option, Web-conference, and Accelerated/Evening alternative methods) at the Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC)

Spring 2000 to spring 2003, Lecturer, Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Stout

95-97, TA at the Wayne State College, NE

1. Taught “Introduction to Visual Arts” sections
2. Assisted Design, and Painting studio courses
3. Conducted workshop for Information Literacy and Library Automated System

Professional Experience:

2000 to 2003,
adviser of Undecided Student Advisement Program, UW-Stout

1999 to 2000, program coordinator at the Undecided Student Advisement Office,

College of Arts and Sciences, UW-Stout

Nov.1997 to Jan.1999, Computer Layout Specialist in the Composing Department and

lifestyle columnist in the Editorial Department of the Dunn County News, Menomonie, WI

1992-93, library assistant, UW-Madison

Civil Servant:

1. Congressional aide at the Legislative Yuan (首屆立法院 國會助理 Congress of Taiwan), Taipei

Job including: coordinating election campaigns, Congressional speech writer and serving constituencies.

2. Taiwan-China policy researcher at the Executive Yuan (大陸工作會報 - 陸委會前身 of the Central Government), Taipei.

1. Journalist at the Ta Hwa Evening News, Taipei.

2. Cultural/English tour guide at the Ministry of
Transportation, Taipei, Taiwan.

3. Military educator, and English/Japanese instructor.


Ph.D. Learning Technologies (previous Instructional Systems and Technology) , Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Dissertation: Preferences, Pedagogical Strategies,
and Challenges of Instructors Teaching in Multiple Delivery Formats within A 2-Year College Context

M.S. Ed., Art Education, Wayne State College, Nebraska with a minor in Computer Science.
Research Project: Integrating Multimedia Technology into Art Curriculum with Classroom Implementation, 1997.

M.S. Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Major: Social Psychology focusing on Social Movements
Minors: Journalism and Women's Studies. Thesis Title: Multilevel Analysis of A Social Movement-1947, 228 Social Uprising in Taiwan, 1993.

M.S. Socio-political Science (the Graduate Institute of National Development), National Taiwan University. Thesis: Social Ideology and Gender Roles- Women's Issues in Contemporary society, 1986.

Special Training. Major: Military Education. Political Warfare Academy, Army of Taiwan (due to a national crisis, I joined the Army Academy).

B.A. Sociology, National Taiwan University.

Taipei Municipal First Girls' High School.

Areas of Interests

Innovation in Online Education Programs

TPACK Integration of Emerging Technologies

Equity and Quality of Diverse Learning in the Digital Age

Learning Technologies in the post-secondary educational setting

Interdisciplinary collaborative (Education, Social Science, and Technologies) Learning


Interpersonal, enthusiastic, and helpful with strong work ethics

Multiple language ability: Taiwanese, Mandarin, English, and Japanese

Have taken computer science as a minor.
Knowledgeable of C++, JAVA, Assembly language and Web Design
General Software application: Multi-aid, QuarkXpress, Pagemaker, Microsoft Office
2010,Hyperstudio, Inspiration and variety of social media applications
CMS/LMS: BlackBoard, WebCT, E360, Moodle, Joomla.
Authorize tools: Macromedia (DreamWeaver, and Flash)
Web 3.0, Blog 2.0., Cloud Computing, Photoshop/Photodeluxe, Premiere, Illustrator

PC and Mac proficiency

Visual-art making (2-D: Calligraphy; drawing, traditional ink/painting and mixed media;
3-D: mainly, ceramics and other mixed media

Trained quantitative, qualitative and mixed research methods

Statistic software: Spssx, MaxQDA2, and Minitab


WebCT/BlackBoard/E360 (LMS) Teaching Certificates from UW-Stout and CVTC

Hybrid and Web-conference training Certificates from CVTC

Quality Matters Certified Peer-Reviewer

Web Design and ITV Certificates from UW-Stout

General and Special Higher Civil Service Certificates from Taiwan

Academic Activities and Professional Development

Research, Papers, Posters, Projects, publications, and Professional Development


1993, Title :The February 28, 1947 Uprising in Taiwan:
A Multi-leveled Analysis of Collective Actions Author Li-Chin (Crystal) Huang
Publisher: University of Wisconsin--Madison, 1993
Digitized Feb 19, 2008. Length 172 pages

2004, Title: The Wonder of Tao: A Meditation on Spirituality and Ecological Balance.
Author: James Eggert.
Illustrations and Calligraphy by Li-chin (Crystal) Huang
Green Dragon Publishing. Printed in the United States of America and
the United Kingdom.


2015, Dissertation: Preferences, Pedagogical Strategies,and Challenges of Instructors Teaching in Multiple Delivery Formats within A 2-Year College Context. Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction, Learning Technologies (previous Instructional System and Technology), University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

1997, Thesis Research Project: Integrating Multimedia Technology into Art Curriculum with Classroom Implementation. Wayne State College.

1986, Thesis: Thesis: Social Ideology and Gender Roles- Women's Issues in Contemporary society. Socio-political Science (the Graduate Institute of National Development), National Taiwan University.

Research Papers/Publications, Posters, and Projects

2017, Internationalizing the Curriculum Conference, Panelist, 2017

Apr 13, 2017 publication description Crystal Li-chin Huang Learning-Teaching-Sharing Blog

Title: “The Voice of Faculty and Staff”

2012, title: Integrate Learning Technologies into A Social Science Course-Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Studies
Presented at the 28th Distance Teaching and Learning Conference
at UW-Madison, Aug, 2012.
Paper published in the Conference proceedings.

2012, Project Presentation- STEMSS
Project presentation to the future- STEM scientists for the local district.

2009, Title: “What is the Lived Experience of Designing and Teaching Multiple Delivery Methods -Live Meeting, Hybrid, Online, and Face To Face (f2f) within a Semesterat a Technical College Setting”?
Paper presented at the 2009 AECT International Convention, Louisville, KY
Published in the Convention Proceedings, and in the ERIC

2009, Title: Learning Information Technologies as Empowering Tools to Narrow the Gender Gap in the Rural-Urban Spectrum - a Review from Global to Domestic Perspective (Project Leader: Dr. Susan Walker)
Paper presented at the 2009 AECT International Convention, Louisville, KY
Published in the Convention Proceedings, and in the ERIC

2008, Title: Beauty and Artistic Beauty
Presented at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, 2008

2008, Title: Green and Dao
“The Wonder of the Tao-Six Meditation on Science, Spirit,
and the Future of Economics”
Presented at University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, 2008

2008, Title: Freedom Writers
Presented at University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, 2008

The next 5 accepted research projects, due to my job descriptions (mainly, as hired in a Non-Research Institution of the 2-year college setting, the school budget supports attendees, but not the researcher-presenters at that time), I was unable to attend/present to the conferences.

2015, Research proposal: Title:
“How Could It Be, Two Identical Online Deliveries in One Composite, and One Did So Well,
While the Other… ,
accepted by Association of Educational Communication and
Technologies (AECT) for presentation
at the 2015 International Conference.

2010, Research proposal. Title:
“Struggles and Triumphs– A Female Minority Social Science
Instructor’s Reflection on Sociology Web-conference Course in
Facilitating Disadvantaged Learners”,
accepted by Association of Educational Communication and
Technologies (AECT) for a presentation
at the 2015 International Convention.

2010, Research proposal: Title:
“From Quantity to Quality - Quality Matters! But, What and How Does It Matter?
– Pursuing Online Courses Quality Assurance One Step at
A Time!” accepted by the Association of Educational
Communication and Technologies (AECT)
for a presentation at the 2015 International Convention.

2010, Research proposal. Title:
“Live Meeting: Web-conference Triumph in Sociology Course
facilitation”, accepted by the League of Innovation for a
presentation at the 2010 Maryland Conference.

2010, Research proposal. Title:
“Constructing a Bio-ecological System of Teaching and Learning Environment for 2-year College”, accepted by the League of Innovation 2010 Maryland Conference

-----------------------------------------2008, Quantitative Research Project. Title:“Do The Knowledge Of Using The Internet And The Annual Income Level Affect The Total Life Skill Assessments Of Rural Low Income Mothers”? University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (as part of my collaborative research projects)

2008, Co-presenter: The 16th Midwest Quality Research Conference
Topic: “The Lived Experience of Relocated Teachers in Korea”,
at St. Thomas University.

2008, Co-presenter: “A Brief Introduction to the Multimedia
Enhancer” at UW-Stout.

2008, Co-presenter: “A Mini-presentation: A brief of CMS”
at UW-Stout

2007-8, Collaborative Research Project: Joined the “Rural
Families Speak”
– A Multistate, Longitudinal and Multidisciplinary research
project, focusing on low-income women’s using information
technology, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.

2007, research project presentation. Title: “Reflection on the Pedagogies of the Oppressor and the
Oppressed”, at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

2007 The Four Asian Dragons.
Presented at Professor Husby's International Business program

2006, Research paper: Exploration of PCTMK Model of Hybrid Teaching.
Published as an Op-Ed in the Dunn County News.

2004, Collaborative project.
Assisting professor emeritus Jim Eggert as a translator and
illustrator of the Book-
“The Wonder of the Tao- A Meditation on Spirituality &
Ecological Balance”. FL: Brumby Holding, Inc.

2004, Panelist, UW-System Women's Study Consortium
Topic: “A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study of Childless
Issues in Contemporary American Society”, at UW-Stout.

2003, Keynote speaker:
Annual Spring Awards and Recognition of Multicultural Student
Services at UW-Stout.

2003, Presenter, “A Cultural Sojourner's ‘Courage to teach’ in
Intro-Sociology”, at UW-Stout.

2002, Poster presentation, Student and Faculty Research Day:
”An Action Research Report on a Spontaneous Thematic
Pedagogy in Intro-Sociology”, at UW-Stout.

2002, Panelist- International Forum
AAUW Midwest Regional Conference Presentation:

1.“The Trajectory of Women's Transformation via Education
- 3 Women's Stories”, at Rapid City, South Dakota calligraphy/

2. Story-telling

2001, Teaching Day Display,
“Sociological Pedagogy-Blending Teaching Strategy to Empower Student Active Learning”, at UW-Stout.

2001, Presenter, Professional Development Day:
“Enhancing Active Teaching/Learning Via Electronic application” at UW-Stout.

2001, Research paper:
“A Thematic Approach of Teaching Sociology during September
11th Crisis”, accepted to the Midwest Sociologist Conference


2014 Diversity Pedagogical Project
-The Gettysburg Address recorded in English, Mandarin,
and Taiwanese

Affiliations /Associations

American Education and Research Association (AERA)

Association for Educational Communications and Technologies (AECT)

International Society for Technology Education (ISTE)

Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)

Wisconsin Association for Career and Technical Education (WACTE)

National Educational Computing Conference (NECC)


American Sociological Association.

Member of American Association of University Women (AAUW)

Governance Involvements

Executive Secretary of Li-ling Huang Gender Equity Memorial Endowment at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC). (2016 to present).

Sponsor of the Tsai-Huang Memorial Endowment Scholarship at CVTC. (2007 to present).

Adviser of Art Club at CVTC (2016 to present).

Adviser of Diversity Student Organization at CVTC (2011-2013).

Co-chair of Professional Development Committee of
Chippewa Valley Technical College Career and Technical Education Association (2009-2011).

Chair of the Chippewa Valley Technical College Education Association Scholarship Foundation (2010 to present).

CVACTE Event/Year Book Coordinator (2010-11).

Representative of ALC (Academic Leadership Council –WTCS).

Representative to the Advisory Committees of Renal Dialysis, Surgical Technician programs.

Course representative of Art Appreciation and Diversity Studies.

Nominations and Awards

2013, nominated to the Teaching Excellent Award at Chippewa Valley Technical College.

2010, nominated to the Teaching Excellent Award at Chippewa Valley Technical College.

2006, nominated and the recipient of the Regional Outstanding Teacher of Chippewa Valley Technical College.

2001, nominated and the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to UW-System and Women of Color representing UW-Stout in 2001.

Activities in Taiwan

- 1988: Elected as the Supervisor
of the National Congressional Assistant Association, Taipei.

- 1987-88: Delegate of Taiwan, invited

by both Congresses of Taiwan and the U.S. to observe the

Primaries and Causes in New Hampshire and Iowa as well as

followed the Presidential campaign trails.

- 1984-85: Summer and Winter Camp Speaker. (奉派執行冬令夏令營巡迴演講)

- Twice Campaign Coordinator and Speaker, and later,
the Speech Writer in the Congress. (問質詢總主筆, 競選文宣策劃, 選民服務)

- Executive Secretary and member of Taipei Women Rescue Foundation. (台北婦女救援會執行秘書長)

College and Graduate School at National Taiwan University

- Vice Chairperson

of the Graduate Association of National Taiwan University.

- Due to a National Crisis, I joined the Army Academic.
A retired Captain since 1985.

- Four semesters top 3% students of Sociology Department,

National Taiwan University.

- Selected, members of softball and volleyball varsity teams,
National Taiwan University.

Non-Academic Publications/Writing:

· Calligrapher and illustrator

of The Wonder of the Tao-Six Meditation on Science, Spirit,

and the Future of Economics by Jim Eggert.

A Human Trade Group Publisher, FL., 2004.

· Karma Ode, Burning Snow-Poetry, 2002, (in process).

· "Introductory Miao (Hmong) History and Culture by Tinqgui Li":

Translation,(collaborated with Steve Vang.) Wisconsin, UW-Stout. 2001.

· A Comprehensive History of the Chinese Miao (Hmong) by Xingfue Vue.

Translation. (collaborated with Steve Vang.), Wisconsin, UW-Stout, 2001.

· 10 articles related to cultural phenomena
for the Dunn County News, 1998-1999:

1. A thought to the Humane Society.

2. Homeopathy- a look from a tradition medical perspective.

3. The sociocultural perspective to Mulan.

4. Gua Sha-the traditional home remedy.

5. Halloween in the U.S. vs. Ghost Festival in Asia.

6. Organic products and its co-op practice.

7. Bosnia first hand report-Military sisters.

8. A cultural-sojourner's multicultural perspective.

9. Mini international house-visit the "Sharon the ambassador".

10.The legends behind Chinese New Year in Taiwan.

Selected writing/proposals as A Congressional Aide:

· “Women and Social Order,”

The Research and Assessment Monthly, Taipei, Taiwan, 1990.

· “The Interpellation to the Central Government”

- a compilation of 3 volumes (300 articles) relating to social welfare

and political system reformation drafted by me when working at


Some articles related to Women's issues are:

1. A proposal for "Equal Right, Equal Pay and Equal Opportunity of Employment

for both genders." September 29th,1987, the 80th session Legislative Yuan.

2. A proposal to Establish the "'Ministry of Women's Affairs'

to implement the Social Welfare for Women."

January 6th, 1988, the 80th, session, Legislative Yuan.

3. An interpellation on the issue of the Dilemma of

Single Parent and Divorced Women. January 19th,

1988.the 80th session, Legislative Yuan.

4. An interpellation on the issue of "the Myth of Marriage and

Increasingly Dysfunctional Families in contemporary society."

January 18th, 1987, the 80th session, Legislative Yuan.

· Personal Quantitative Research Project:

"Gender and Political Tolerance-The Study of Dane County,

Wisconsin." UW-Madison, 1992.


Enjoy reading, writing, poetry, music, cooking, visual art-making, nature and pet-caring.

Like to play basketball, ping pong, volleyball, tennis, softball, swimming, and hiking.

Li-chin (Crystal) Huang

Chippewa Valley Technical College

620 W. Clairemont Ave.Eau Claire, WI 54701



Learning and Teaching of Crystal Li-chin Huang