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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2019/2020

Social Structure and Social Stratification

Type: Compulsory course (Sociology and Social Informatics)
Area of studies: Sociology
When: 2 year, 3 module
Mode of studies: Full time
Instructors: Daniil A. Alexandrov, Alla Loseva, Natalya V. Pecherskaya, Larisa Leonidovna Shpakovskaya
Language: English
ECTS credits: 4

Course Syllabus

Abstract

That people have unequal sets of choices available to them is probably the key message of social science. We welcome you to the course where you will learn how social inequality is structured, reproduced and experienced. A complex of social institutions that generate the inequalities in valued goods, including but not limited to income, wealth and power, is what we call a stratification system. During the course, you will become equipped with analytical and methodological tools to study stratification. In the first weeks, you will learn the concepts and categories that guide our perception of inequality. Then we will discuss how the inequality can be measured empirically. Afterwards, you will study the mechanisms behind stratification systems, and their different aspects. The final weeks of the course are devoted to the theories putting together the previously studied concepts, measures, and mechanisms.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Сhoose appropriate theoretical concepts to describe real-world manifestations of social inequality
  • Select optimal indicators to study inequality
  • Produce coherent explanations of the mechanisms behind stratification systems
  • Use theoretical models to interpret the results of empirical research
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Ability to choose appropriate theoretical concepts to describe real-world manifestations of social inequality and stratification; Ability to produce coherent explanations of the mechanisms behind stratification systems; Ability to use theoretical models to interpret the results of empirical research
  • Ability to support theoretical arguments with empirical data
  • Ability to elaborate collectively on the mechanisms of social stratification
  • Ability to select optimal indicators to study inequality; Ability to identify social and cognitive mechanisms that bias one’s perception of social structure
  • Ability to develop conceptual models of social and individual processes that reproduce social structure; Ability to operationalize the concepts and categories of social structure using appropriate indices
  • Ability to critically evaluate empirical data to argue on the matters of social stratification
  • Ability to apply theoretical concepts to the analysis of the real-life manifestations of social inequality
  • Ability to suggest mechanisms of mitigating the effects of social inequality through analyzing social processes on multiple levels
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Categories of Social Structure
    Lecture 1. Categories of Social Structure Studies. Privileges Inequality. Sameness and equality. Stratification. Structure. Typification and categories. Social cognitive science. Age. Gender. Race. Socio-economic groups. Estate, caste, class as generic categories. Institutes and norms. Inequality, discrimination and privileges. Asymmetry of perception of inequality and privileges. White privilege. Male privilege. Residential privilege. Gender inequality in historical perspective. Liberation of women and everyday gender inequality. The pressure on boys. Seminar 1. Course Introduction. Topic overview. Seminar routines. Course policies. Seminar 2. Individual and Group Inequality. Privileged groups. Experiencing privileges. Unequal gender pressure and privileges. Seminar 3. Perceiving Social Inequality. Signals and cues for social perception. Language markers of class. Stereotyping. Seminar 4. Inequality is Relational. Categories, bounded categories. Charles Tilly on durable inequality: social configurations and scripts in everyday life.
  • Operationalizing Inequality
    Seminar 5. Socioeconomic Status Scales. Education, income, wealth, professional status. Discrete and continuous measures of status. Constructing composite scales. Seminar 6. Within-Country Inequality. Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient. Why these measures differ across the world?
  • Social Stratification Analysis
    Seminars 7-8. Class and Status Structure. T. W. Chan and J. H. Goldthorpe vs. M. Savage on class and status structure. Stratification analysis using Weberian and Bourdieusian class schemas.
  • Faces and Effects of Inequality
    Lecture 2. Poverty Poverty. Defining poverty. The poor as a category and a group. Extreme forms of poverty and destitution. Poverty traps. Social capital as a poverty trap. Lecture 3. Inequality and Health Inequality and health. Health, development and happiness curves depending on income. Status and health. Effects of poverty. Loads, cognitive load. Long-term effects of poverty. Poverty and children development. Lecture 4. Racial Disparity Racial and socio-economic inequality in relation to each other and in dynamics. Changes in American ghetto. Wealth and its effects: wealth vs. income in explaining racial disparity. Seminar 9. Crossing Class Boundaries. Middle class and opportunity hoarding. Seminar 10. Effects of Inequality: Wealth. Cumulative advantages of upper classes. Ideologies of merit in reinforcing inequality. Thomas Piketty on the rich in history and at present. Elites in Russia and abroad. Seminar 11. Effects of Inequality: Poverty. Absolute, relative, subjective poverty. Impaired performance of lower classes. Urban poverty experiences in the UK, Europe and Russia. Seminar 12. Why Inequality Persists? Course recap.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Home assignments (summary and thematic task)
    The whole assignment is graded with 0 if it contains plagiarism. Assignments are accepted up to 48 hours after the deadline, the grade for the late submission is halved.
  • non-blocking In-class tests
  • non-blocking In-class participation
  • non-blocking Written exam
    Экзамен проводится в письменной форме. 15 июня в 15.00 мы вышлем студентам на корпоративную почту экзаменационное задание. До 17 июня, 15.00, студенты должны подготовить письменный ответ на задание и отправить его в текстовом файле ответом на письмо. Для ответа на задание студентам разрешается пользоваться любыми материалами, на использованные материалы следует ссылаться в тексте ответа. Специальное ПО для выполнения задания не потребуется. Процедура пересдачи аналогична процедуре сдачи.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (3 module)
    0.3 * Home assignments (summary and thematic task) + 0.3 * In-class participation + 0.2 * In-class tests + 0.2 * Written exam
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Levine, R., Acker, J., Baca-Zinn, M., Collins, P. H., Cox, O., Davis, K., … Wright, E. O. (2006). Social Class and Stratification : Classic Statements and Theoretical Debates (Vol. 2nd ed). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=634844
  • Tilly, C. (1998). Durable Inequality. Berkeley: University of California Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=6819

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Bottero, W. (2005). Stratification : Social Division and Inequality. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=116686
  • Romero, M., & Margolis, E. (2005). The Blackwell Companion to Social Inequalities. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=147324