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.
This course focuses on stratification in the United States. Stratification refers to systematic social inequality in the access of opportunities, resources, and rewards. It involves the uneven distribution of people across social categories based upon achieved and ascribed characteristics. Human societies differ greatly in the extent of stratification present within them. Thus, we will address how stratification has varied through US history and question why members of certain groups advance while others do not. The course is divided into two primary parts. Part I describes the processes and theories behind stratification. During this part of the course we will discuss the social construction of categories and the mechanisms behind the unequal distribution of rewards. Part II focuses on three bases of stratification: race, gender, and class. During this part of the course we will discuss the extent and trends of stratification in areas of education, work, credit, housing, and consumption.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading