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Social Inequality: Contemporary Theories, Debates, and Models

Опубликовано на портале: 22-11-2005
Факультет: Department of Sociology
Дисциплина: Social stratification
Язык: Английский
Язык оригинала: английский
Тематические разделы: Социология, Экономическая социология, Экономическая социология: Социально-экономическая дифференциация. Бедность, Социальная стратификация

This course reviews classical and contemporary approaches to understanding the differential distribution of valued goods and the social processes by which such inequality comes to be seen as legitimate, natural, or desirable. Although egalitarian values are a fundamental feature of postmodernity, these values exist in tension not only with massive departures from perfect equality but also with historic and unprecedented increases, at least in some domains, in the extent of these departures. Moreover, the processes that generate and maintain inequality appear to be changing, as are the consequences of inequality for lifestyles, consumption practices, and life chances. The foregoing changes invite fresh study of the structure of social inequality and how it varies by time and place.

We will be discussing questions and issues of the following kind:
 (a) What are the major forms of stratification in human history? Is inequality an inevitable feature of human life?
 (b) How many social classes are there? What are the principal fault lines or social cleavages that define the class structure? Are these cleavages strengthening or weakening with the transition to advanced industrialism?
 (c) How frequently do individuals cross occupational or class boundaries? Are educational degrees, social contacts, or individual luck increasingly important forces in matching individuals to jobs and class positions?
 (d) How are the lifestyles, attitudes, and personalities of individuals shaped by their class locations? Are there identifiable class cultures in past and present societies?
 (e) What types of social processes and state policies serve to maintain or alter racial, ethnic, and sex discrimination in labor markets? Have these forms of discrimination weakened or strengthened with the transition to advanced industrialism?
 (f) Will stratification systems take on new and distinctive forms in the future? Are the stratification systems of modern societies gradually shedding their distinctive features and converging towards some generic post-industrial or postmodern regime?


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