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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Psychology and Sociology
Course Prefix and Number: SOCI 421
Course Title: Class, Status and Power
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Societal stratification systems and social inequalities, including the arenas of inequality, primarily class, race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, as well as the role of power in constructing and maintaining such inequality; at the creation of wealth and poverty, both in the United States and globally, consequences of racial and gender inequality, and the stratification system surrounding sexualities. Prerequisite: Junior standing.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): Junior standing.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Fall.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Dynamics of Inequality: Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality in the United States
By Gagne, Patricia and Richard Tewsbury (Prentice Hall )
The American Class Structure in an Age of Growing Inequality
By Gilbert, Dennis (Wadsworth )
Oppression, Privilege and Resistance: Theoretical Perspectives on Racism, Sexism, and Heterosexism
By Heldke, Lisa and Peg O’Connor (McGraw-Hill)
Privilege, Power, and Difference
By Johnson, Allan (McGraw-Hill)
Social Stratification and Inequality: Class Conflict in Historical, Comparative, and Global Perspective
By Kerbo, Harold R. (McGraw-Hill )
Social Inequality: Patterns and Processes
By Marger, Martin (McGraw-Hill)
The Meaning of Difference: American Constructions of Race, Sex and Gender, Social Class and Sexual Orientation
By Rosenblum and Travis (McGraw-Hill )
Inequality and Stratification: Race, Class, and Gender
By Rothman, Robert A. (Prentice Hall)
World's Apart: Social Inequalities in a New Century
By Sernau, Scott (Sage)
Great Divides: Readings in Social Inequality in the United States
By Shapiro, Thomas (Mayfield Publishers)
Race, Gender, and Sexuality: Philosophical Issues of Identity and Justice
By Anderson, Jami (Prentice Hall)
Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality
By Bullard, Robert D. (Westview Press)
Flat Broke With Children: Women in the Age of Welfare Reform
By Hays, Sharon (Oxford University Press)
Power: A Radical View
By Lukes, Stephen (Palgrave Macmillan)
Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality
By Oliver and Shapiro (Routledge)
The Working Class: America’s Best Kept Secret
By Zweig, Michael (Cornell University Press)
Course Objectives
  • To understand what sociologists mean by “social stratification” and the multiple arenas in which this occurs (race, class, gender, and sexuality).
  • To understand the role of power in constructing and maintaining inequality, as well as the effects of systematic inequality.
  • To evaluate theoretical perspectives on stratification.
  • To understand the differences between wealth and income.
  • To develop critical thinking skills.
  • To understand the intersection of race, class, gender and sexuality.
    Measurable Learning
  • Explain the various theories of stratification and inequality.
  • Describe the various arenas of stratification and the significant sociological perspectives on each.
  • Explain intersectionality and systematic inequality.
  • Differentiate between wealth and income.
  • Critically analyze and interrogate the role of power in creating and maintain inequality.
  • Evaluate stratification in multiple arenas: race, class, gender, and sexuality.

    Topical Outline:
  • Concepts and theories of stratification
  • Theoretical perspectives on inequality
    - Marx on class
    - Weber on status
    - Davis and Moore on the benefits of stratification
    - Lukes on power
    - Gans on the functions of poverty
    - C. Wright Mills on the power elite
    - Domhoff
  • Intersection of race and class
  • Racial inequality
  • Gender inequality
  • Intersection of race, class, and gender
  • Sexuality
    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
    During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Date: October 31, 2007
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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