University of Notre Dame

All Society’s a Stage: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Poverty

Course Number: SOC 13181-3
Instructor: Megan Andrew

Have you ever heard of The Rolling Stones? Now, have you ever heard of Merry Clayton?

This course introduces students to the concepts of social stratification based on answers to these two seemingly irrelevant questions. We use these questions and their typical answers as a backdrop for understanding how societies and the inequalities that can occur in them work from a sociological perspective. We treat societies as clusters of positions with attached rewards and consider the differences in these positions and the links between them based on race, gender, and social class. We pay special attention to poverty as a social position in a hierarchically arranged, or stratified, society. We will develop this sociological perspective through popular music, readings, group and class discussion and activities like the $2 Challenge, and written essays.

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