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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jonathan A Lind
SOC 360
Seattle Campus

Introduction to Social Stratification

Social class and social inequality in American society. Status, power, authority, and unequal opportunity are examined in depth, using material from other societies to provide a comparative and historical perspective. Sociological origins of recurrent conflicts involving race, sex, poverty, and political ideology.

Class description

Social stratification is everywhere. In every human society, present or past, some individuals have preferential access to valued resources or opportunities. While social stratification itself is not inherently laudable nor pernicious, its consequences are far reaching. Differential access to resources and opportunities implies that two, otherwise similar, individuals may be accorded vastly different life chances on the basis of how they are categorized by a society writ large. In a nutshell, the study of social stratification seeks to untangle the mysteries of differential access to rewards and opportunities what we must ask ourselves is: who gets what and why?

Student learning goals

Students should have a solid understanding of the basic ways social stratification can influence people's lives.

Students will learn how wealth and income are differently distributed across various categories of race, gender, occupation and education in addition to learning how inequalities in income and wealth have changed over time.

Students will be able to comprehend the ideas of the classical sociological theorists (especially Marx and Weber) as they relate to social stratification.

Students will explore a variety of theories relating social stratification to the contemporary United States, including Functionalism and Conflict Theory.

Student's will have a good understanding of how the term "class" is interpreted by sociologists and how class is expressed in the United States.

Students will be able to understand how ascription intersects with achievement in the context of the process of stratification.

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites required.

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jonathan A Lind
Date: 06/14/2011