Sociology | Social Problems & Policies
S101 | 4803 | Semu

Topic:   Rich & Poor:  Inequality in America and Beyond

Are the poor in that situation by choice?  Is poverty a reflection of
individual/moral failure or of systemic failure of society’s
institutions?  This course introduces students to the broad area of
Sociology known as “Social Inequality.”  Social Inequality is the
study of the systematic social forces that shape the distribution of
wealth, power, status, and privilege in society.  Social Inequality
is universal.  However, it is played out differently in various
cultures and over time.  Social Inequality has a direct bearing on
every person’s life chances.  Thus, as college students, the
relative “worth” of your degree and your ability to find a job in
your chosen career following graduation is intimately tied to
contemporary issues of inequality.  This course is designed to
provide you with a general understanding of inequality, how it
impacts individual lives in the US and abroad, and how it is measured
and understood by social scientists.

The course is divided into three sections.  The first section will
introduce you to the major theoretical perspectives and concepts in
social stratification.  The second and third sections will explore
the systematic social forces that shape the unequal distribution of
wealth, power and prestige in American society and throughout the
world, A variety of readings, lectures, movies and class discussions
will be used to illustrate concepts of inequality.