In my assignment TMA01 I will introduce some inequalities on City Road in Cardiff. First of all I want to start by explaining what inequalities actually means. Later on I will pick two examples from the Learning Companion 1 and the Making Social Lives DVD to give a deeper understanding of inequalities in our society. After that I will summarize the examples and give you my opinion to what I have learned so far in this course.
“Inequality refers to the unequal distribution of valued social resources within a society or between societies.“ (Blakeley et al., 2012, page 24) These resources can either be money, time, education or different cultural backgrounds. You may think, that inequality is the same as differences, but in the social sciences these two terms are not the same. The term differences is used for groups of people for example regarding to the age, the gender, the sexuality or the ethnicity. “Difference is not the same as inequality although some differences are often associated with inequalities. Difference in age may be linked to inequalities in mobility and access to places. Racial and gender differences may be linked to inequalities in salaries and access to education.“ (Blakeley et al., 2012, page 24) As you can see, the two terms are related to each other, but they are not the same.
The first example that I want to show is Colin Buttwell, a newsagent on City Road who is introduced in the Making Social Lives DVD in scene 3. He talks to Lloyd Robson about his shop. Colin Buttwell owns this shop since 1965 and before his father was the owner of the shop. His business has changed since the big stores like Tesco or Spar opened a few blocks from him. People tend to go to the big supermarkets to buy everything they need and Mr. Buttwells business suffers from that. He still sales the same things that he did over 40 years ago, but the customers are getting less and less. The opening of big supermarkets like Tesco or Spar creates inequalities in the society. For most of the people it is a positive thing, that a big supermarket opened only a few blocks away. They can easily reach it and buy everything they need without going into several little shops. But for shop owners like Colin Buttwell the opening of Tesco is a bad thing for his business.
The second example that I chose is the Mackintosh Centre. It is a sports centre on the City Road and it is introduced in the Making Social Lives DVD in scene 7. This centre once was farmland but nowadays it is a sports club. John Cooksley, the head coach of the sports centre tells us, that most of the members are not from this area but from areas further away. People from the local area are taking a look at it and because the sports centre is very modern, they think it is a private club which seems to be expensive, but in fact it is not. This fact leads to an imaginary inequality. The local residents are feeling excluded because they think that this sports centre is expensive and that they cannot afford a membership.
Inequalities are often related to the unequal access of money to different people like in the two examples above, but inequalities do not have to be related to money. They can for example also be related to mobility or the access to different shops or something like this. If for example somebody who has to use a wheelchair, wants to enter a shop but there are stairs and he has no access to a ramp or an elevator, he is not able to enter this shop. The society is constantly changing and through the changing there are always winner and looser, which leads to further inequalities.
The best example to prove this is Mr. Buttwell the newsagent on City Road. Due to the change of the society, which prefers going into one big supermarket with long opening hours, parking spots directly in front of it and probably even better prices, Mr. Buttwell became a victim of inequalities and the looser of the change. Inequalities can relate to various things and they can be found everywhere. You can not only find them in the City Road in Cardiff, like in the examples, but also in nearly every bigger street all over the world.