social closure

social closure

the process by which groups seek to increase the advantages of their situation by monopolizing resources and restricting recruitment and access to their group. Examples of this are found in all privileged groups, e.g. marital ‘eligibility’ in European aristocracies; the system of apprenticeship for skilled manual trades; systems of accreditation and formal membership of professional associations for doctors and lawyers.

The term was first used by WEBER, and, in recent sociology, is particularly associated with the work of Frank Parkin (1979). Following Weber in the critique of Marxism, Parkin argues that property is only one basis for power, and only one form of social closure. The characteristics associated with different STATUS GROUPS, e.g. ethnicity, gender, skill level, religion, etc., can all be bases for closure strategies.

Parkin describes two types of closure strategy or process: exclusion and usurpation. Exclusion refers to practices which separate the group from ‘outsiders’. The examples above, of aristocracy, professions and skilled artisans, are cases in point. Usurpation is a strategy adopted by low status or less privileged groups to gain advantages or resources which others are monopolizing; CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENTS illustrate this, or, in the Indian CASTE system, the process of sanskritization.

The two strategies should not always be regarded as alternatives, or as mutually exclusive. Protestant workers in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, for example, formed the Loyalist Association of Workers essentially to retain their privileges, i.e. they adopted an exclusion strategy with regard to Catholics. At the same time they continued normal processes of collective bargaining, involving occasional conflicts with employers, i.e. they attempted to increase their share of companies’ profits (the usurpation of employers’ and shareholders’ privilege). Parkin calls this type of joint strategy a process of dual closure. It is particularly associated with intermediate groups in the class or status systems.

References in periodicals archive ?
Kinross Kettle River-Buckhorn Mine and Mills Social Closure Plan, Republic, Washington, winner of the Hardrock Mineral Community Outreach and Economic Security Award, which highlights concern for community responsibilities and includes such actions as preparing communities for the social and economic impacts after mine closure; and
Brubaker (1992) theorizes citizenship as an instrument of social closure that enables modern states to regulate conditions of entry; these conditions are shaped by ideals and traditions of elite-driven "idioms of nationhood.
The topics include roots in the cultural politics of 19th-century Britain, swinish classics or a conservative clash with cockney culture, classics and social closure, classically educated women in the early Independent Labour Part, and Labour's modernizing elite from the 1960s to classical times.
Cambior did a resettlement in 2000, and then BHP Billiton did a social closure, which included returning land to the families that had been relocated.
Through processes of formal regulations and the importance of taste, social closure modestly affects employers to prefer workers with matching qualifications.
They explore class reproduction through social closure and achievement, as well as modalities of class mobility.
I have shown in my works that the institution of indigenous Indian education evolved and worked on the principle of social closure as revealed by, among other things, its discriminatory dimensions, and that Gandhi's metaphor of a beautiful tree to describe it and the subsequent efforts to vindicate it were seriously misplaced.
Productive skills, positional good and social closure should be the mechanisms along which educational qualifications are rewarded.
Adopting a Bourdieuian lens in understanding inequality, Hanser maintains that the "unequal access to and distribution of resources and opportunities" are results of the practice of social distinction that translates "perception of groups of people as different or distinct" (symbolic boundaries) into "forms of social closure and exclusion" (social boundaries) (p.
She argues that social closure triggers different configurations of relationships among established social groups and newcomers.
Social closure brings each actor together into a collective experience.
Schurmann and Johnston assess NGO-run microcredit programmes as a tool for social closure (11).