Sociology | Social Inequality
S217 | 4099 | Alderson


In this course we ask “who gets what and why?”  How are power,
privilege, and prestige distributed among individuals and groups in
society and why do some enjoy more than others?  We will examine how
various inequalities (e.g., in income, wealth, property) have evolved
over time and ask how these inequalities shape the life chances of
individuals in different socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and gender
groups.  Throughout the course we will give particular attention to
the experience of the contemporary U.S. and to the challenges that
recent developments pose for American society.

We will begin by trying to “get the facts straight,” describing the
contours of inequality in the U.S. (and in other societies).  Next,
we will examine some classic sociological treatments of inequality
along with more recent applications of these theories.  We will then
return to the topic of inequality in the U.S., examine the fortunes
of different groups, and dig even further into the processes that
generate inequality.  My ultimate goal in this course is to help you
develop a better understanding of inequality in contemporary
societies.