Sociology 224: Social Class Inequality icon

Sociology 224: Social Class Inequality

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НазваниеSociology 224: Social Class Inequality
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Course Requirements
1) Log in to the internet and start your Web browser
5) You should see a list of WebCT courses that you are enrolled in, and click on SOC224 to access the WebCT component of this co
 Required Readings
Course schedule
Inequality & Social Research
Inequality in the Educational System
Presentations by Groups One, Two, and Three; Papers Due
Explaining Inequality
Spring break!
Midterm exam
Reading Response Three Due
Reading Response Four Due
The Working Class
Monday class schedule - no class
Reading Response Five Due

Sociology 224: Social Class Inequality

Spring, 1999
University of Massachusetts

Dr. Joya Misra

Office: Machmer W34, 545-5969

Office Hours: TuTh 2:30-3:30

Course Goals:

In this class, you will be introduced to a sociological perspective on social class inequality. Sociologists study inequality in society by focusing primarily on class differences, power differences, and status differences, such as race and gender. These elements are linked together inextricably to create and reinforce inequalities.

This course begins by exploring class, race, and gender inequalities in the educational system. Students groups research this topic and then present their findings in class. Next, we discuss some ways that sociologists explain class, race, and gender inequalities. The rest of the semester will be spent considering the different class positions of people in our society - the upper (ruling) class, the middle class, the working class, and finally the poor. Throughout the semester, we will pay particular attention to the impact of race and gender on class locations.

This course is interactive, and students will be expected to participate in every class session, take part in one group presentation, and lead discussion twice over the course of the semester. While most students will not spend the rest of their lives taking multiple choice exams, they will need to learn how to communicate effectively with others. Participating and leading discussions and taking part in class presentations help develop this skill.

Course Requirements:

(1) Class Participation. You are expected to attend classes and be prepared to enter into discussions of the material. This class focuses on discussion about the readings. This makes doing the readings imperative. You will be graded for overall quality of discussion and attendance, and penalized for missing class. Students are also required to use the WebCT component of this course (see below), and may choose to discuss readings over the Web boards. (15%)

(2) Research Presentation. At the beginning of the semester, you will work with a group of students to research inequality in the educational system. You will be provided with an assigned topic, and then you and your group will devise a way to research and present this topic to the class. In addition, each group member will write an individual short paper (3-5 pages) summarizing how your group researched this topic, and what you found. (20%)

(3) Discussion-Leading. Your group will also lead discussion about chapters from two of the books we will be reading this semester. Your grade on this will be based on its organization, coherence, and the way it relates the material to previous themes, theories, and readings discussed in the course. Each time your group leads discussion will be worth 7.5% of the final grade. (15%)

(4) Tests. There will be two tests. You must do the readings and attend class in order to be fully prepared for the exams. Exams will be made up of a number of multiple choice, matching, and essay questions. Each exam will make up 15% of the final grade. (30%)

(5) Reading Responses. You will be expected to write one to two page reading responses to the readings throughout the semester. The dates that these responses will be due and the readings that they cover are included in this syllabus. Only the five highest grades will be counted. Each response will be worth 4% of the final grade. (20%)

(6) WebCT Component. All students are required to use the WebCT component of this course. Students will be enrolled in the WebCT component of this course starting February 1, 2000. Your OITUNIX username will be your Login ID for WebCT; your OITUNIX password will be your password. If you do not have a OITUNIX account, you must get one. To use WebCT, you will need a computer with an Internet Connection (on-campus or off-campus) and an appropriate web browser (Netscape Navigator 3.0 or higher or Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher). You'll also need to make sure that Java and Javascript are enabled in these browsers. To get into WebCT and access the WebCT component of this course:

(1) Log in to the internet and start your Web browser

(2) Go to the WebCT URL, which is

(3) Click on the link on the right that says "my WebCT"

(4) Type in your User Name and Password, which are the same as your OITUNIX ID and password (if your email addres is, your user name will be johndoe, and your password will be your password for this account).


(5) You should see a list of WebCT courses that you are enrolled in, and click on SOC224 to access the WebCT component of this course.

For more information see If you read through all of this information, have an OITUNIX ID and password, and are still unable to get into WebCT, visit me during office hours. The also includes information about the different tools and icons you'll encounter on the course WebCT site.

 Required Readings:

All books and the packet for the course are available at the Textbook Annex. These materials are also on reserve on the 3rd floor of the main library.

Shapiro's Great Divides (GD)

Domhoff's Who Rules America?

Course Packet (CP)

Albeda & Tilly's Glass Ceilings and Bottomless Pits



January 27

Welcome, Overview

February 1

Shapiro "Introduction" (1-6 in GD), Ryan "The Equality Dilemma" (23-28 in GD)

^ Inequality & Social Research

February 3

Mantsios "Class in America" Henslin "How Sociologists Do Research"
Group Meetings

^ Inequality in the Educational System

February 8

Cookson & Persell "The Vital Link" (389-401 in GD), Karabel "Community Colleges and Social Stratification" Group Meetings
Reading Response One Due

February 10

Kozol "The Savage Inequalities of Public Education in New York" (401-418) in GD, Sidel "Conflict Within the Ivory Tower"
Group Meetings

February 15

Sadker & Sadker "Failing at Fairness" (418-428 in GD), Krupnick "Meadows Colleges Prepares for Men"
Group Meetings

February 17

Group Meetings - Presentations Next Week!

February 22

^ Presentations by Groups One, Two, and Three; Papers Due

February 24

Presentations by Groups Four, Five, and Six; Papers Due

^ Explaining Inequality

February 29

Harger "Theories of Class and Social Inequality" , Marx & Engels "Manifesto of the Commnity Party" (31-38 in GD), Marx "Classes" (38-39) in GD, Weber "Class, Status, and Power" (39-49 in GD)

March 2

Davis & Moore "Some Principles of Stratification" (79-88 in GD), Tumin "Some Principles of Stratification: A Critical Analysis" (88-96 in GD)

March 7

Kerbo "Theoretical Explanations of Gender, Race, and Ethnic Inequalities"

March 9

Hartmann "Capitalism, Patriarchy, and Job Segregation by Sex" (49-53 in GD), Bonacich "A Theory of Ethnic Antagonism" (53-66 in GD)


March 21

McIntosh "White Privilege and Male Privilege" (327-335 in GD)
Reading Response Two Due

March 23


The Upper Class

March 28

Domhoff "Power and Class in the United States" (Chapter 1 - led by Group One), "The Corporate Community and Growth Coalitions" (Chapter 2 - led by Group Two)

March 30

Domhoff "The Corporate Community and the Upper Class" (Chapter 3 - led by Group Three), "The Policy Formation Network" (Chapter 4 - led by Group Four)

April 4

Domhoff "The Role of Public Opinion" (Chapter 5, led by Group Five), "Parties and Elections" (Chapter 6, led by Group Six), "How the Power Elite Dominates Government" (Chapter 7)
^ Reading Response Three Due

The Middle Class

April 6

Cassidy "Who Killed the Middle Class" , Johnson "Family Struggle to Make Do After Fall from Middle Class"

April 11

Massey/Denton "The Continuing Causes of Segregation" (272-287 in GD), Feagin "The Continuing Significance of Race"
^ Reading Response Four Due

April 13

Harrison and Bluestone "The Crisis of the American Dream" (179-191 in GD), Gerson "No Man's Land" (354-369 in GD)

^ The Working Class

April 18

Schwartz and Volgy "Economic Self-Sufficiency in Present-Day America" (159-173 in GD)

April 20


April 25

Rubin "The Transformation of Family Life" & "'When You Get Laid Off'" , "Race and the Rise of Ethnicity" (173-179 in GD)
^ Reading Response Five Due

The Poor

April 27

Albeda and Tilly "Women, Income, and Poverty: There's a Family Connection" (Chapter 1), "Who's Poor? Patterns of Poverty" and "All in the Family" (Chapter 2 and 3 - led by Group One), and "The Glass Ceiling and the Sticky Floor" and "Bottomless Pits" (Chapter 4 and 5 - led by Group Two), "What's Wrong with Current Antipoverty Policies" (Chapter 6 - led by Group Three)

May 2

Albeda and Tilly "Lean, Mean and Ineffective" (Chapter 7 - led by Group Four), "Creating Real Welfare Reform" and "It's Not Just Welfare" (Chapter 8 & 9 - led by Group Five), "The Power to Win Women's Economic Equality" (Chapter 10 - led by Group Six)

May 4

Wilson "The Truly Disadvantaged" ( 221-237 in GD), Oliver and Shapiro "A Sociology of Wealth and Racial Inequality" (240-250 in GD)
Reading Response Six Due

Social Change

May 9

FILM: The Milagro Beanfield War

May 11

Hout & Lucas "Narrowing the Income Gap Between the Rich and the Poor" , hooks "Feminism: A Transformational Politic" Krauss "Women of Color on the Front Line"



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