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 sexualitieSP 5,
Nov 1 Colonization: Regional and national inequaliSS 7
8 Fall Break --- No Classes
15 Stigmatization: Consequences for health SP 8, 9
29 Punishment: Consequences for crime SP 7
Dec 6 Destruction: Consequences for politics SP 10/SS
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) Grading Scheme:
Two term tests (25% each)..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. 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 ?
o explain the creation, performance, and
preservation of social inequalities, we need to
develop some sociological concepts. The intersection of
In fact, the course is largely organized
around understanding the key
processes of inequality
As we will see, a number of social
characteristics for example, class,
gender, race, and age significantly
affect peoples well-being.
Intersectionality makes it hard to
predict the effects of inequality
simply adding together individual
Consider the status
inconsistency of women
Though women tend to have lower status
woman will have a different experience of
around discrimination in the workplace or in
respect to domestic violence, for example.
Sociologist Gerhard Lenski showed that
status consistency matters.