Overview of Course
Social stratification and the resulting social inequality are fundamental organizing principles of all societies and social processes. An individual’s location within the stratification system is a consistent predictor of their behaviors, attitudes, and life chances. Analyzing social stratification allows for a greater understanding of experiences at the individual level and change at the societal level.
This course takes a critical look at the layers of society that shape, construct, and inhibit the basic pursuit for equality of opportunity followed by examining the global stratification system, world systems theory developed and dependency theory. Learners will be asked to examine how the most fundamental elements of social stratification function both separately and in tandem to organize systems of inequality. The course evaluates how social constructions of difference shape and are shaped by social institutions and social policy. Additionally, class discussions will also consider how the forces of racism, sexism, and classism impact the attainment of basic needs, such as wages, health care, and housing. This enables learners to see inequality within local, regional, and national contexts and to link these contexts to global forces, permitting them to make connections to the larger social worlds that they inhabit.