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Given Vessing's quote below, assess which social institution (media, political,...

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brigaither | Student | Honors

Posted July 4, 2012 at 1:49 AM via web

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Given Vessing's quote below, assess which social institution (media, political, family, educational, criminal justice, or medical), does not provide equal access to the public.

Vessing (2011) states, “a society needs a variety of social institutions in order to function adequately.However, it does appear that not all citizens have equal access to participation in them, and that one’s social class and ascribed characteristics may limit one’s ability to benefit from them. This disparity results in unequal access to all that the institutions have to offer” (p. 197).

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 4, 2012 at 2:41 AM (Answer #1)

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I think that an answer can be made to discuss how there is a lack of quality and superior access in all of these institutions.  For example, there is a lack of quality access in participation in the media and the political realm, where monetary wealth and social control exude powerful forces.  Yet, I am going to advance a topic that does not receive much in way of attention in our social discourse.  I think that the criminal justice system in the United States is one in which class and social stratification play a very large role.  It is not often discussed because political leaders recognize that there is less to gain and more to lose in seeking to remedy it and that the people it needs to directly assist are less likely to vote.  It is often a discussion that is guided by fear and apprehension more than openness and clarity in thought.  The rate of incarceration amongst people of color and poor people the lack of institutional support to remedy such a predicament is evident as representative of a social institution where equal access is not evident.  While there is a Constitutional theoretical premise of equality, the reality of practice is quite different.  People who have served time find that there reality after their sentence is not one in which there is the theoretical principle of equality.  Job access and housing access to former prisoners is appallingly absent.  In addition to this, the criminal justice advocacy system is predicated on the idea that those who have money can spend it on the best attorneys and defense teams, something not as likely for those who are poor.  In this, I think that the criminal justice system is one such domain where there is not a state of equal access.

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