Social Stratification

Spring, 2003

Sociology 4035 – 001 (UC Boulder)

Tuesday/Thursday 3:30- 4:45 pm - Hale Science 240


Instructor:         Willard Uncapher, Ph.D.

Office/Tel.        Ketchum 8F (By Basement Stairs & I); 492-8626; also Soc Dept.

Office Hrs:        T/Th 4-4:50 pm; and by appt. / Mailbox: Soc. Dept Office [open M-F, 8-5]

Email:      ; Website: <>


Course Description

We live at a pivotal time in human history in which we need to develop our understanding of the nature of social conflict.  Changes in technology, the global and regional distribution of wealth, power, access continue to impact the organization of society.  The following course will help you recognize, evaluate, and address issues of social, economic, and other kinds of hierarchy and stratification.  Our look at social stratification spans a period from classic analysis of pre-industrialization to contemporary issues of power, access, and employment associated with globalization. We will cover the basic theories, terms, and approaches, as well as examples from the class systems of different societies, as well as different approaches to address inequality. 


Required Texts and Access

Kerbo, Harold. (2003). Social Stratification and Inequality.

Supplemental Reading Package will be made for Norlin Reserve Online.

University Computer Account


Paper Requirements

We will have two papers, and I will hand out additional material.  Paper 1: Examines the context, consequences, and solutions of any ‘social stratification theorist or analyst.’ 6 pages or so. Paper 2: Will take a more extended analysis of an instance of social stratification. Ethnographic research is possible but not required. 12 pages.



Midterm exam/Final


Grading Break-down

Attendance 5

Participation 5

Short Paper 10

Long Paper  25

Midterm Exam 20

Final Exam 25


Disability Statement

If you have specific physical, psychiatric, or learning disabilities that require accommodations, please let me know early in the semester so that your learning needs may be appropriately met. You will need to provide documentation of your disability to the Disability Services Office in Willard 322 (phone 303-492-8671).


Academic Honesty

All work done for this course must be the original work of the student submitting it and should be undertaken exclusively for this course.  Assisting in academic dishonesty (e.g. letting someone copy your assignments) can retroactively lower your grade. Violations of academic honesty will result in appropriate action under the University's rules.


Course Outline and Readings


1. Week of Jan 14/16 - Theory and overview

Jan 13 Introduction and Course Overview. Readings- 

Jan 16 Kerbo Ch 1. 


 2. Week of Jan 21/23rd  - Models of Stratification / Stratification in History

Readings: Kerbo Ch 2-3

*Diamond: Guns, Germs, and Steel, Epilogue [link]

*Wittfogel: Oriental Despotism [link]


 3. Week of Jan 28th/30th – Classic Theoretical Models

Readings: Kerbo Ch 4

*Marx and Engels – Manifesto of the Communist Party / Part 1-2 [link];

*Marx, [Wage Labor] "On Classes" [link]"

*Weber, "Class, Status, and Party" <Link>"


 4. Week of Feb 4rd/6th   Transitional Models

Readings: Kerbo Ch 5

*Parsons, “Equality and Inequality" <Link>

*Dahrendorf. Selections <Link>

*Not being used - Gramsci Selections


 5. Week of Feb 11/13   Contemporary US Inequality

Readings: Kerbo Ch 6-7

*Not being used - Domhoff, "The Ruling Class and the Problem of Power"

“The CEO Under Fire” – Selected article from Fortune 11/18/02


 6. Week of Feb 18/20 – Middle and Working Classes [Paper 1 Due Feb 18th]

Readings: Kerbo Ch 8


 7. Week of Feb 25th/27th   Poverty

Readings: Kerbo Ch 9


 8. Week of March 4rd/6th – Gender

Readings: Kerbo Ch 10

* Mitchell, "The Position of Women"

* Lockwood, "Class Satus, and Gender"


9. Week of March 11th/13th – Race and Ethnicity

Readings: Kerbo Ch 11

*Du Bois, "Double-Consciousness and the Veil" Levine


10. Week of March 18th/20th[Emergency Snow Days officially cancel classes]


[Spring Break]


Guide to Final Paper - html version 1.0.


11. Week of April 1st/Apr 3rd Social Mobility [Rechedulued Mid-term April 3rd]

Readings: Kerbo Ch 12


12. Week of April 8th/10th    Media, Education, and Legitimization

Readings: Kerbo Ch 13

*Herman, Edward S. and Noam Chomsky (1988). Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. NY: Pantheon. Selections

*McChesney, Robert W.. (1999). Rich media, poor democracy : communication politics in dubious times. Urbana: Univ. of Ill. Press. Selections


13. Week of April 15th/17thGlobalization and Control

Readings: Kerbo Ch 14

*Castells, Manuel. 1996. The rise of network society. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers. Selections

*Barnet, Richard & John Cavanagh. (1994). Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order. NY: Simon & Schuster. Selections


14. Week of April 22st/ 24th – Globalization and Poverty [Paper 2 Due April 24th]

Readings: Kerbo Ch 17

*Sklar, Holly. (1995). “Competing for Global Corporations.” In Chaos or Community. Boston: South End.

Ong, Aihwa (1999). Flexible Citizenship. Selections


15. Week of April 29th/May 1st – Review/Presentations

Last Class

16. Exam. May 3rd.


Have a great break!