SOC 203 Social Class & Inequality 9/5/2013 3:07:00 PM
Chpt 1 Theories of Social Inequality: An Introduction
Social Inequality can refer to any differences among people (or the socially
defined positions they have) that are consequential for the lives they lead.
-rights or opportunities they have and privileges they enjoy.
What are the main bases for inequality in society?
-Difficult to answer as some argue central bases for inequality are individual
differences in natural abilities. While others argue that inequality is based on
the differential treatment people are use to because of socially defined
characteristics (economic class, race, age, gender, ethnicity, religion)
-Discrepancy in the importance attached to some criteria across different
places and historical periods.
-disagreement that exists over how many bases for inequality are truly
important and which is most consequential.
-Why are some human differences viewed as significant but others not. (eye
colour, skin colour)
Class & Social Inequality:
-Class is a key concept in social inequality
-Classes are perceived as social groupings that differ mainly in their
command of economic or material resources, such as money, wealth or
-Most basic of life’s inequalities: the differential access of people to the
material means of existence.
-Debates over what class really is. (p. 4-5 GRABB)
Power & Social Inequality:
-Power is another key concept in most major theories of social inequality.
-Like class, power is recognized as an important idea but at the same time
has generated debate over its exact meaning/significance.
-Many theorists accept that power occurs where some people are able to
control social situations as they see fit, whether other people accept or
oppose this control.
-Many now believe that power is more concentrated than once thought. The State & Social Inequality:
-Is the economic structu