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SOC102H1 Lecture Notes - Gerhard Lenski, Social Inequality, Ageism

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Lecture 1
What is social
Sociology 102 Social Inequality
Tuesdays 6-8, fall term
Class Topic Readings
Sept 13 Inequality: A real or imaginary problem? SP 1
20 Racialization: Race and ethnic inequalities
SP 3/SS 5
27 Domination: Gender inequalities SP 4/SS
Oct 4 Exploitation: Class inequalities SP 2/SS 6
11 TEST #1
18 Exclusion: Age relations and ageism
SP 6/SS 4
25 Victimization: Neighbourhoods and sexualities SP 5,
Nov 1 Colonization: Regional and national inequalities SS 7
8 Fall Break --- No Classes
15 Stigmatization: Consequences for health SP 8, 9
22TEST #2
29 Punishment: Consequences for crime SP 7
Dec 6 Destruction: Consequences for politics SP 10/SS
Assigned readings:
Tepperman, Lorne, The Sense of Sociability (Toronto: Oxford University
Press, 2010) ……………………………. (SS)
Tepperman, Lorne and Josh Curtis, Social Problems, 3rd edition (Toronto:
Oxford University Press, 2011)………… (SP)

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Grading Scheme:
Two term tests (25% each)…………………..50%
Final examination……………………..………50%
Life is a stacked deck
Life is a gamble – everybody knows that.
In that sense, this course is also about heavy
odds – the chances against most people
People who start life rich, powerful or famous
are more likely to finish life that way.
Life is a poker game – a game of skill and
cunning -- played with a stacked deck
Inequality: why some
people always win
The dictionary defines inequality as the
quality of being unequal or uneven
Inequality is about hierarchical (i.e., better-
worse) differences between any two people
(or things), A and B.
Sociology is dedicated to explaining how this
inequality game works and the reasons
most people face heavy odds
It also means showing social inequality leads
to crime, sickness, addiction, violence and
sometimes even war for society as a whole.

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Natural inequalities
Our personal experience tells us there are
many natural inequalities between people
We know that simply by looking around us
and talking to other people.
The question for sociologists is, how do these
natural inequalities become social
inequalities, and with what results?
Finally, sociologists are interested in how
people invent or construct (unnatural)
The example of
Consider for example the staging or
performance of inequalities in connection
with physical beauty.
Why do some societies reward beauty –
especially in women – more highly than they
reward, say, intelligence?
Flipped around, what are the unwelcome
consequences of being plain looking ?
To explain the creation, performance, and
preservation of social inequalities, we need to
develop some sociological concepts.
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