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Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2017/2018

SOCI 421: Class, Status, And Power

Course Description

Emphasis on social stratification systems and social inequalities, including the areas of economic class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Analysis of theories of power in constructing and maintaining systems of social inequality. The creation of wealth and poverty in the United States and globally. Sources and consequences of ethnic and gender inequalities. The stratification system surrounding sexualities.

Prerequisite: Junior Standing

Proctored Exams: Midterm



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Gilbert, D. (2015). The American Class Structure in an Age of Growing Inequality (9th). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc..
    • [ISBN-978-1-4522-0341-6]
  • Manza, J., & Sauder, M. (2009). Inequality and Society: Social Science Perspectives on Social Stratification.New York: W.W. Norton.
    • [ISBN-978-0-393-97725-7 ]

Course Overview

This course is an exploration of social stratification and the manifestations of social inequalities in the United States and globally. We will read and discuss major sociological theories of stratification along the primary axes of inequality: class, race, gender and sexuality. An understanding of intersectionality and how social systems work to maintain inequality will be analyzed. Students will learn about the creation and perpetuation of wealth and income inequalities and how this intersects with race and gender in the U.S. The examination of power is a central focus, and how power relation’s work to create and actively maintain status inequities.



Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the various theories of stratification and inequality.
  2. Describe the various areas of stratification and the significant sociological perspectives on each.
  3. Explain intersectionality and systematic inequality.
  4. Differentiate between the impacts of wealth and income inequalities.
  5. Critically analyze and interrogate the role of power in creating and maintain inequality.
  6. Evaluate stratification in multiple arenas: race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 450-500 90-100%
B 400-449 80-89%
C 350-399 70-79%
D 300-349 60-69%
F 0-299 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (17) 100 20%
Papers (3) 200 40%
Midterm Exam 100 20%
Final Exam 100 20%
Total 500 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion 4 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 1 6
Discussion 2 6 Friday/Sunday
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 4 6 Friday/Sunday
Paper 1 50 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 6 6 Friday/Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 8 6 Friday/Sunday
Midterm Exam 100 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 10 6 Friday/Sunday
Paper 2 50 Sunday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 12 6 Friday/Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 6 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 14 6 Friday/Sunday
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 6 Wednesday/Saturday
Discussion 16 6 Friday/Saturday
Paper 3 100 Friday
Final Exam 100 Saturday
Total Points 500

Assignment Overview

Discussions

In Week 1 you will provide an introduction to the class. The introductory discussion post is worth 4 points.

Each week you will participate in 2 discussions. Each discussion is worth 6 points. The initial post, which answers the discussion question, is worth 5 points. Each response to other student’s posts is worth .5 each, or 1 point in total. Initial posts should be completed by the respective deadlines of each discussion for that week: 11:59 p.m. CT Wednesday and 11:59 p.m. CT Friday. All initial posts should be 2-3 paragraphs in length or approximately 500 words.

You must respond to at least two of your classmates’ posts per discussion. All response postings are due by 11:59 p.m. CT Sunday during Weeks 1 – 7, and 11:59 p.m. CT Saturday during Week 8. Responses to classmate’s postings should be approximately 1 paragraph in length for each discussion. Responses should be engaging and further the discussion. Please go beyond “good job” or “I agree with you.”


Papers

Papers 1 and 2

You will write two shorter papers in this course, each are worth 50 points each. Each paper will be graded on the basis of analytical and critical thinking skills, completeness, correct spelling, correct formatting and citations, and neatness. The same formatting guidelines apply to both papers. Papers must be four pages, double-spaced, in 12 pt. font, and with normal margins. All research should be cited, including articles and the textbook that are required in class. All citations should be in ASA format. In other words, when you cite authors, include their last name and year of publication. At the end of the paper, you will have full references. You don’t need to include a title page or abstract.

These papers are due Sunday 11:59 p.m. CT of Week 2 (Paper 1) and 5 (Paper 2).

Paper 3

The third paper in this class is a research paper. The paper must be eight pages, double-spaced, written in 12 pt. font and with normal margins. The title, abstract and reference pages are not included in the eight page count. Use ASA formatting, which includes a title, abstract, and reference page. Write a well-developed thesis statement that summarizes your entire paper in one clear and concise sentence. Your thesis should come at the end of the introductory paragraph and it needs to be in BOLD.

Because this is a research paper, you must do library research, which can include but must go beyond the class textbooks. You must use at least six academic sources - books or journal articles. Popular press articles (such as Time magazine) or online sources other than academic journals, are not included as part of your six academic sources. You may use them as supplements, but you must have at least six academic sources in addition to such supplemental sources. You must also incorporate and cite at least two required course readings as part of the six required sources.

The topic of your research paper must fall within one of three primary areas: Class, Race and Segregation, Class, Race and Education, or Class, Race and Food.

Once you choose a primary area then you will need to narrow down your topic. In other words, if “Class, Race and Segregation” is the primary area you are researching, your topic must be more specific. Is your focus on urban segregation or housing segregation? Which specific racial grouping and class grouping are you researching? Once you narrow down, narrow down again. Do you want to look at home ownership in urban areas? Or public housing in urban areas? What city or region are you researching? My point is: do not make your paper broad, make it specific. It is important that you go in-depth in your research. Papers that are too broad and do not get specific enough will lose points.

Paper 3 is due Friday 11:59 p.m. of Week 8.


Exams

Midterm Exam

You will take a proctored midterm exam in week 4 that is worth 100 points. The midterm comprises 75% multiple choice and 25% short essay questions over topics covered in Weeks 1-4. The midterm is to be taken online in the D2L course environment. Two hours are allowed to complete the exam. The exam opens on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. CT, and closes on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. CT.

You must submit the “Student Proctor Information Submission Form” to the Proctor Information Dropbox by the end of Week 2. This form and additional information about Proctoring is located in the Content area of the course.

Final Exam

You will take a final exam in week 8 that is worth 100 points. The final exam comprises 75% multiple-choice and 25% short essay questions over topics covered in Weeks 5-8. The final is to be taken online in the D2L course environment. Two hours are allowed to complete the exam. The final exam is not proctored.

The exam opens on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. CT, and closes on Saturday at 11:59 p.m. CT of Week 8. 



Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Social Stratification
Readings
  • Gilbert text 
    • Chapter 1
  • Manza/Sauder text
    • Karl Marx
      • “Wage-Labor and Capital”
Introduction Discussion

Please introduce yourself. Give us more than your name. Include your profession, hobbies, interests, background in sociology, and any other information that can help us get to know you. Be sure to tell us what interested you in this course.

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday.  Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 1

What is social stratification? Describe Karl Marx’s theory of social stratification. What are the two main social classes and how are classes defined according to Marx? What is the superstructure? What did he think might happen in the future amongst the proletariat class? Finally, have you heard of Karl Marx’s theories before this class? What was your impression before reading his work in this course? Has it changed?

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 2

Describe Max Weber’s theory of social stratification. What two special contributions did he make to Marx’s work? Describe the importance of the concepts of life chances and status in Weber’s theory.

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Friday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Week 2: Power
Readings
  • Gilbert text 
    • Chapter 8
  • Manza/Sauder text      
    • C. Wright Mills
      • “The Sociology of Stratification”
Discussion 3

Before reading this week’s required readings, how did you define power, in your life and in society? Where do these views of power come from? Describe a social institution that has power in your life. How does this institution maintain its interests? Which of the three types of power described in the Gilbert text does it fit into? Why and how?

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 4

After reading about the national capitalist class, describe at least two ways this class participates in government. What are the indirect mechanisms of capitalist class influence? Describe the implications of the business-confidence veto.

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Friday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Paper 1

Describe the three perspectives of power as described in Chapter 8 of the Gilbert textbook. Describe Mills’ concept of the national power elite and the criticisms of this idea. Provide an example of a powerful institution that fits into Mills’ national power elite. How does this institution maintain its power? Provide theoretical examples of class and pluralist understandings of power.

Paper 1 is due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday in the Dropbox.

Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Week 3: Class Stratification
Readings
  • Gilbert text 
    • Chapters 2 and 3
  • Manza/Sauder text      
    • Claude Fischer and Michael Hout
      • “What Americans Had: Differences in Living Standards”
Discussion 5

W. Loyd Warner studied prestige class in “Yankee City.” Describe the four conclusions of the Warner study about class structure. What is occupational prestige and how is it ranked? What occupation do you currently have or seek to have with your college education? Where does it fit in the occupational ranking?

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 6

Discuss the “sunny side” and “dark side” interpretations of postindustrial society.  Describe the conclusions made by Fischer and Hout about the postindustrial economy in the U.S. since the 1970s. Does it support the sunny or dark interpretations? Using the current condition of the United States, explain whether you support the sunny or dark interpretation?  Illustrate why by using real life examples.

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Friday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Week 4: Social Mobility
Readings
  • Gilbert text 
    • Chapter 6
  • Manza/Sauder text      
    • Richard Breen and David Rottman
      • “Social Mobility”
Discussion 7

What is social mobility? What are the two main types? What two basic factors contribute to mobility in the occupational hierarchy? Why have sociological studies of social mobility focused on occupation as opposed to other stratification outcomes such as income or wealth? Have you experienced social mobility? If so, explain.

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 8

Explain what impact a father’s occupation has on his son’s life success. Explain why sociologists studying social mobility more commonly compare fathers and sons. What special problems arise when they study the social mobility of women? Why do Breen and Rottman, in “Social Mobility,” argue the neglect of women in social mobility analysis is not a problem?

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Friday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Midterm Exam

You will take a midterm exam in week 4 that is worth 100 points. The midterm comprises of questions from topics covered in Weeks 1-4 Each exam consists of 75% multiple-choice questions and 25% short essay questions. The midterm is to be taken online in the D2L course environment. Two hours are allowed to complete the exam. The midterm is proctored.

The midterm exam, with an approved proctor, is to be taken between 12:01 a.m. CT Tuesday and 11:59 p.m. CT Sunday of Week 4.

Week 5: Wealth & Income
Readings
  • Gilbert text 
    • Chapter 4
  • Manza/Sauder text      
    • Lia Keister
      • “I’d Rather Be Rich”
    • Dalton Conley’s
      • “Forty Acres and a Mule”
Discussion 9

Compare the differences between wealth and income. What is the relationship between women and the distribution of household income? How do age, marital status, and contributions toward household status factor into this discussion?

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 10

Describe the distribution of wealth in the U.S. Where is most of it concentrated? How does race factor into wealth acquisition? According to Gilbert, what four factors explain why the wealthier keep getting wealthier?

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Friday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Paper 2

In this paper you will explore aspects of wealth and income. Explain and define the differences between these two concepts. Using Keister’s essay, “I’d Rather Be Rich,” describe the contemporary distribution of wealth in the U.S. Describe the different types of wealth and who has them. Using Conley’s research in “Forty Acres and a Mule,” describe wealth inequality between whites and blacks in the U.S. What historical factors contribute to the black-white wealth gap?

Paper 2 is due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday in the Dropbox.

Week 6: Intersectionality
Readings
  • Gilbert text 
    • Chapter 5
  • Manza/Sauder text      
    • Patricia Hill Collins
      • “Race, Class, and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection”
    • Annette Lareau
      • “Invisible Inequality: Social Class and Childrearing in Black Families and White Families”
Discussion 11

Patricia Hill Collins argues that we must recognize race, class, and gender as interlocking categories. She suggests that social analyses shift away from an additive analysis of oppression and more toward an understanding of institutional and symbolic dimensions of oppression. What does she mean by this? What is the problem with additive analysis? 

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 12

Describe Lareau’s study on families in “Invisible Inequality.” What were the differences in child-rearing practices between parents in middle class families and parents in working-class and poor families? What did she observe about the impact these practices had on children in each group? What did her research say about the intersection of race and class in family life?

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Friday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Gender Inequality
Readings
  • Gilbert text
    • Chapter 10
  • Manza/Sauder text
    • Arlie Hochschild
      • “The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home”
    • Jerry Jacobs
      • “Detours on the Road to Equality: Women, Work, and Higher Education”
Discussion 13

According to Gilbert, what is the relationship between gender and poverty? How might the restructuring of welfare under the Clinton administration in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (1996) have impacted the number of women and children in poverty? How might Jacobs in “Detours on the Road to Equality” explain the persistence of female-headed households living in poverty?

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Discussion 14

According to Hochschild, what is the “second shift” and the “extra month of the year”? Why and in what ways do women feel more strained in the problems of juggling work with family life? How do gender ideologies and family myths factor into these dynamics?

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Friday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Sunday.

Week 8: Race Inequality
Readings
  • Manza/Sauder text     
    • William Julius Wilson
      • Jobless Poverty: A New Form of Social Dislocation in the Inner-City Ghetto”
    • Douglas Massey and Nancy Denton
      • “The Perpetuation of the Black Underclass”
Discussion 15

Compare Wilson’s essay with Massey and Denton’s. What is each essay trying to say about the perpetuation of race inequality? How are they similar? How do their arguments differ? 

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Wednesday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Saturday.

Discussion 16

Reflect on the concepts learned in this course and then write a letter to people living in North America in 100 years. Address the letter to “Dear Future North America.” Explain stratification and inequality in the U.S. and the intersectionality of race, class, gender and sexuality. Describe who gets what and why.  Who are the powerful and wealthy? Who are the poor? Why is the gap between the wealthy and the poor growing at this time? What personal experiences have you had that bolster these ideas? Finally, what is your hope for the future?

Initial post is due by 11:59 pm CT Friday. Response posts are due by 11:59 pm CT Saturday.

Paper 3

The final research paper should analyze the relationship between class and race inequality and stratification in the U.S. Choose one specific area to focus your research (segregation, food, or education) to describe how class and race intersect to create and maintain inequality. You must consider the role of income inequality, wealth inequality, power, status, access to resources, racial inequality, and the intersectionality of multiple factors throughout the paper.

After choosing a topic, do outside research to narrow down the topic. For example, you can study “ghettos and gated communities” or “access to healthy food in low-income areas” or “comparative levels of higher education between blacks and whites” among many other options.

Paper 3 is due by 11:59 pm CT Saturday in the Dropbox.

Final Exam

You will take a final exam in week 8 that is worth 100 points. The midterm comprises of questions from topics covered in Weeks 5-8 Each exam consists of 75% multiple-choice questions and 25% short essay questions. The midterm is to be taken online in the D2L course environment. Two hours are allowed to complete the exam. The final is not proctored.

The final exam is to be taken between 12:01 a.m. CT Tuesday and 11:59 p.m. CT Saturday of Week 8 at your convenience.



Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late assignments are accepted in this class.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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