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By Rob Webb, Hal Westergaard

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As Sociology (Instant Revision)

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There are two main ways of measuring the distribution of wealth: the survey method and the estates method. The survey method involves asking people how much they own, while the estates method looks at how much the dead have left in their estate. Both methods tend to underestimate the extent of wealth. Respondents to surveys may play down the true extent of their wealth and statistics about inheritance tax tell us little about the extent of wealth owned by people who are alive or the extent of tax evasion.

Lack of encouragement from parents), and poor housing conditions. Linguistic deprivation has also been identified as a cause. Bernstein distinguishes between restricted and elaborated codes of speech, suggesting that children from working class backgrounds are less successful in education because they lack the ability to understand and express abstract ideas. The above explanations reflect a functionalist point of view. Inadequate socialization by the family is seen as the main cause of failure.

The ruling class uses the media as an instrument to maintain its power. ● Structuralist In this view the media is tied closely to the structure of capitalism. Media corporations are part of big business and run along capitalist lines. They have to make a profit and are controlled by the advertisers and the banks that finance them. Curran’s findings support the structuralist explanation. For example, the popular press avoids serious discussion of politics because a formula of sex, sport and scandal is more attractive to advertisers.

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