Social Inequality As The Reproduction Of Social Culture In Today’s Society Of Brunei

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Schwalbe’s book rigging the game book better explains how inequality is reproduced or created through the manipulation of specific group of people as the rulers of the game and how they are manipulating others with their power, therefore rigged the game in the context of American society. Inequality is the reproduction of social culture that has evolved around the world and has created greater problem in today’s society. Such social reproduction of inequality is mainly racism, religion, economic and class system. In light of the book that only focuses on American society, the reproduction of inequality can be similarly explained in the Brunei society point of view.

According to the World Economic Forum in 2011 (WEF) statistics, states that Brunei’s gender gap index is 0.678 % over 1 %. This indicates that there is also inequality happening in Brunei. With the help of Schwalbe’s analysis in the book, will further determine and explain the process on how Brunei society can also reproduce inequality in different context from the American society. The first point that of how inequality reproduced in the American society that was highlighted in the book was the concept of human capital. Human capital as explained by Schwalbe in the book was the concept that associated with status attainment, for examples credentials, skills and work experience.

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Status attainment is a process of an individual in order to put themselves in their position in the society of social stratification system (Encyclopedia). This process of creating and grouping oneself into a particular group can actually produce inequality. For instance, according to Daniel E. Brown, is the creation and division of noble and non-noble group in the Brunei stratification system. Those who are the descendants of the sultan are most likely be called as noble. Whereas for non-noble come from only ordinary people. Not only that, on some special occasion such as royal ceremonies, where the arrangement will indicate the limits and internal ranking of the ranking nobility.

The idea of seating arrangements can create the sense of belonging in a particular group of nobility and hence create group stratification. From overall, the inequality that reproduced through status attainment can gain individual’s feeling of belonging into the particular group and hence creating group division. Another point that was highlighted other than human capital is the cultural capital. The cultural capital that was discusses by Schwalbe was the involvement of knowledge, habits, values, skills and tastes that an individual obtains growing in the particular social environment. To illustrate given from the book was that poor children are not fully equipped with knowledge, habits, values, skills and tastes due to lack of capital. In context of Brunei society, it can only be expressed through the education attainment of an individual. Based on Organization for Economic Cooperation and

Development, education attainment is defined as the highest qualification completed within the most advanced attended in the educational system of the country where the education has received. The view that people who attended highest level education attainment will have the tendency to get highest paid job or high-ranking job. For example, in Brunei, the stereotype of people sees that students who are likely to have better future with good quality education is mainly from people who attended private schools, scholarship and even through the level of education here such as O and A Levels, Degree, Master’s or even Ph.D. According to Development and Planning Development statistics shown that, only 19.1 % people attended tertiary education in comparison to primary and below only 8.8 % in 2017.

There is a significant difference in the number of labour force by education attainment. This suggests that majority of people who are working in the labour force are with tertiary education background. This might be due to cultural capital. Where people with poor background group might not have enough resources to send their children to higher institution, and therefore only attain to certain education level. However, it is not the same case in Brunei, the education institutions that are mostly subsidized in terms of most of its school fees. To conclude, the view of cultural capital in terms of individual’s education attainment and quality education of oneself can create further social stratification and eventually resulted in inequality. A further explanation of the reproduction of inequality is the problem of race.

In Schwalbe’s book, point out the scheme of racial categorization. This case of racism was invented back then in Europe back in the late nineteenth. It is based on the idea that human groups had evolved at different rates. Such human capital of intelligence, creativity, industry and morality were the indication of human evolution. These principles of an individual are used to divide people from the least evolved to most evolved. For example, that was given from this book was the Europeans as the top race and other races such as Africa, Asia, North and South America, the South Pacific were the inferior groups. According to Daniel E. Brown article, the division of people to justify colonialism and slavery in Brunei. In this society, the view of “slaves” used in the household seem to have been called “ulun” or others would refer to it as hamba, which basically means follower, dependent, client, subject or servant). This concept of race inequality is still evolving into today’s society. It does not only subject to the colors, religion, economic injustice that involving in categorizing groups of people. Apart from that, another point that can be further discussed from the book would be through gender.

According to Schwalbe, the idea of categorizing individual can also happen by dividing gender using reproductive anatomy. The view of males is supposed to be boys and females are supposed to become women in the American culture. This belief or cultural view of differentiating men and women threats could produce sexism ideology. It is the view that men as the dominating group while women as the inferior group in the society. This can be explained through the institutional power that only focusing on men. It is seen that the valued of the cultural things and qualities can only be concentrated with men. For example, in relation to Brunei, most of the high-ranking ministry officials are mostly dominated by men. Therefore, this suggesting the kind of belief that only men could rule and therefore boost the stereotype and view that men is the dominating group. Furthermore, another point that can be deduced from the book that explain the inequality process is class. The book suggesting the term “class” refers to a “ruling class” or in other meaning is the dominant group in the whole society. For instance, that can be deduced from Brunei would be the seven indigenous ethnic groups or to be known as “puak jati”, namely; Brunei Malay, Belait, Bisaya, Dusun, Kedayan and Tutong according to the Constitutional Act 1961. These groups representing the pillars of Brunei. According to World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples statistics, shows that Malay is the highest of the main ethnic groups which is 66.0 %, followed by Chinese 10.1 % and the indigenous group of people only recorded as 4 per cent of the population.

Above all, the majority of population and dominant is Brunei Malay. This idea of creating people according to their ethnic group could create inequality through dividing individuals into class divide. This has been explained from the book about the power relations. The idea of dominant group has the ability to direct and influence the life of others. As explained using Marxist approach to power, the theory is basically focusing on the relation of power to class domination in the capitalist societies in economics, politics and ideology. According to Miguel, this theory explains how class is dispersed throughout the society. To sum up, the idea of majority and minority and the ruling class of which the most dominant people are more likely to create a power relation in the society.

The idea of gender and sexism can be extended that causes the reproduction of inequality as opposed by Schwalbe in the book, which is the patriarchy system or belief. A belief or system of the society or even government, that men (father, husband, leader) is the head of the family or in a government system as the leader in the hierarchy group. According to Schwalbe, the idea of categorizing individual through gender using their reproductive anatomy. According to Eisenstein (2015), patriarchy can be defined to as the power in terms of sexual system where male is the group of superior in controlling power as well as economic advantage. This belief that is rooted from the cultural system can constitutes of social arrangement in the view that men dominate women. This might in illustration according to the book of hegemonic masculinity, where men are distinguished as more or less worthy of full manhood status. In Brunei society viewpoint, the patriarchy system is mostly practiced in a family or household and in government system. A role in which father in the family or any male descendent in line after the father passed away will be seen as the breadwinner. This model introduced the idea that the “breadwinner” mostly father will be responsible in the household of the family, this includes the welfare of the people in the family.

In addition of what Schwalbe has discussed in the book that in this patriarchal system, some women are the supporting actors. In other word, some women seeing their sex counterpart to be the protector against the predations of other men. This can be related back previous point of the cultural belief, based on Brunei’s society, the view of some cultural belief of Brunei that seen men as men; women as women, therefore the expectations they need to fulfill in a cultural that are set and determined. As a result, through some of the cultural views of patriarchy in the social system of a society could give power to the male the sense of power and dominance over their sex counterparts, hence producing inequality. Another point to be highlighted in the process of the reproduction of inequality is through political perspective.

The political view in Brunei society is an absolute monarchy. Political system lacks of representational government, implementing total monarch where the Sultan serves as both prime minister and defense minister. In Brunei context of Brunei political system is the concept of Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) is put stressed into the living hood of the community. Such concept must be implemented in people’s daily life, as well as in school environment, where the implementation of MIB subject is made as a core subject in every sector of education, mostly primary and tertiary in Brunei such as in Primary School Assessment (PSR) and in university. Such MIB subject is made compulsory to pass to all students in the new SPN 21 strategy. This could put stress to people who are not Bruneians to obtain the subject matter. This matter could also be related into the working environment especially under the public sector or government, where one must obtain and have to pass MIB subject in the resume in order to work as civil servant. For example, the SPA assessment that has to undergo further assessment Malay and interview. in conclusion, the implementation of such political concept can only be generalized and focused into one society. In conclusion, the concept of how inequality can be reproduced can be explained through various aspects of factors.

Firstly, is through the concept of human and cultural capital. Both explaining how individual’s knowledge, skills, abilities and values can create such status attainment as well as education attainment and thus reproducing inequality. Secondly would be the problem of social inequality, that basically defining the class matter and how class can create inequality through racial categorization for such human capital were seen as the hallmark of human evolution and thus creating race division of least to most evolved. Thirdly, another social inequality that can be deduced is the gender gap and by using the idea of sexism specifically, to show and explain how inequality can actually reproduced through the belief that men is dominating group. Another than social inequality, economic inequality also plays a prominent role in reproducing inequality in the society through the class division. Such class division could create the idea of dominating group in the society. Further point that is related to sexism is the patriarchy system that explains the cultural and religious belief that men are the breadwinner of the family and responsible for the welfare of the family. And lastly, through the political point of view, where political concept can only focus and concentrated in one group in the society.


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