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CLASS, STATUS AND POWER 4302.

001
The University of Texas at Dallas
Fall, 2010

Professor: Sheryl Skaggs, Ph.D. Lectures: MW 12:30-1:45 PM


Office: GR 2.531 Room: GR 3.606
Phone: 972-883-4460
E-Mail: slskaggs@utdallas.edu
Office Hours: Wed. 2:00 – 3:00 PM (or by appointment)

COURSE PREREQISITES:

SOC 1301: Introduction to Sociology OR


SOC 2319: Race, Gender and Class or SOC 3303: Social Theory

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Why do some people have more than others – more power, money, opportunities, etc.? In this course we will explore the
nature and extent of inequality primarily in the U.S. While most of the material is based on contemporary society, the course
will also examine topics in a historical perspective. The course presents both sociological theories and empirical research. We
will begin the course by investigating inequality based on race, gender and class and then cover such topics as the American
class system, poverty, and social mobility. The goal of this course is to understand the causes and consequences of inequality
and to assess ways in which particular societal discrepancies can be alleviated.

Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.
--Barry Switzer

STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES/OUTCOMES:

Upon completing this course, students will be able to:

1. understand the causes and consequences of social inequality through the examination of related theoretical concepts
and empirical research presented in course readings, films, and class discussions

2. assess ways in which particular social inequalities can be alleviated through policy application.

REQUIRED TEXTS:

Inequality and Society: Social Science Perspectives on Social Stratification. Jeff Manza and Michael Sauder. W. W. Norton &
Company, 2009.

Ain’t No Makin’ It: Aspirations & Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood. Jay MacLeod. Westview Press 2008 (3rd edition reissue).

Writing Literature Reviews. (Third or Fourth Edition) Jose L. Galvan. Pyrczak Publishing 2006. (Readings not included in exam
material but required for organizing and writing your Literature Review)

Reserved readings from McDermott Library.


*You will be responsible for the material covered in these readings as well as from the above texts.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

• This course is, in part, structured around informed discussions of the reading materials and films. As such,
attendance is vital and will comprise 10% of your course grade.

• There will also be one in-class examination* based on course readings, lectures, films and class discussions. The
exam will comprise 25% of your grade and will consist of a combination of short answer and essay questions.

*Make-up exams will be permitted only under extreme documented circumstances. If a make-up exam is
deemed necessary, it will be your responsibility to contact the professor within 24 hours of the originally
scheduled exam to make such arrangements. The make-up exam will be given no later than one week
following the originally scheduled exam.

• A second exam is required and will be given in a “take-home” format. This exam will consist of several complex
essay questions that will require you to bring together ideas presented throughout the semester, but will primarily
focus on topics discussed after exam 1. This exam will comprise 25% of your course grade and will be due no later
than Monday December 13, 2010 @ 10:30 AM. Absolutely no late exams will be accepted!
o These exams will be uploaded to eLearning in electronic format. You will also be required to submit an
electronic version of your exam to http://turnitin.com no later than 1:00 PM on December 13, 2010.
o You should type the exam using 1” margins all around and 12 point, Times New Roman font.

• A 7-8 page literature review ** (excluding a separate title page and reference page) will be required. The paper will
address a social inequality topic (e.g., differences in access to preventative healthcare among whites and African
Americans; differences in school readiness between low income and middle class kindergarteners; differences in
college enrollment between African Americans and Hispanics, etc.) or your choice (approved by the professor – see
below for due date and details).
o In this paper, you will state your research topic and explain why it’s important for study, include and
synthesize the relevant scholarly literature on the topic, and briefly discuss one area of research that is
needed to better understand the issues at hand (in other words, what is missing from the existing literature
that should be considered).
o The final paper will comprise 20% of the course grade and will be due in class no later than Wed. Nov. 10,
2010 (hardcopy version)—NO EXCEPTIONS.
o You must also submit an electronic version of your paper to http://turnitin.com no later than 10:00 PM on
Nov. 10, 2010.

• A typed one page summary (double spaced) of your topic, along with a list of at least 3 citations you plan to use, will
be due on Wed. October 6, 2010. These should be uploaded to eLearning no later than 10 PM. The summary will
comprise 10% of your final grade.

• Finally, you will be given 2 in-class small group projects during the semester. These projects will involve discussion
and application of a particular topic assigned for that class period. A total of 2 projects will be assigned during the
semester but only 1 will count toward this grading component. This means that you will be able to drop one of the
in-class project grades and not be penalized. The small group projects will comprise 10% of your course grade. No
make-ups will be allowed for the small group projects.

If you wish to use the same basic paper topic for two different courses, you will need to obtain permission from both
professors. Please be aware that it is generally not acceptable to turn in the same paper for two different courses.

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**Literature reviews will be evaluated for both content and style; that is, they should present relevant information in
an organized and literate fashion. Remember, this is a formal academic paper, not a public interest article (e.g.,
Newsweek, Fortune, etc.) or opinion paper. Your ideas should be primarily supported by existing academic literature
through peer-reviewed journal articles and one or two academic books (see below for more details). You may also
supplement with one or two non-academic sources such as those in public interest publications (e.g., New York
Times, Wall Street Journal). If you choose, you may also include some reputable statistics (e.g., government
generated, research institution, etc.). Points will be deducted for misspellings, incorrect punctuation and grammar,
poor sentence structure, incoherent paragraphs and improper reference style (see below for details). You are being
asked to organize the literature by main points; within these points you should be synthesizing the literature – not
simply listing all the studies separately.
Additional requirements are as follows:
• Only one website reference (not related to an academic journal article) will be accepted; the
remaining must be a combination of scholarly books or peer-reviewed journal articles. You should
plan to use no fewer than 4 peer-reviewed journal articles.
o An exception to the website reference -- information obtained from a federal or state
government website will not be counted against your one website reference (e.g., the U.S.
Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, etc.).
• Papers should be typed and double-spaced—using 1” top and bottom margins and 1” left and
right. Use a staple to secure your paper—no binders or paper clips, please.
o Either APA or ASA style for references are to be used. The references should be listed in
a separate section at the end of your paper.
o When citing references, please beware of plagiarism and incorrect format:
 You must cite the reference for any idea, quotation, or factual information you get
from an article, book, or website.
 Any statements copied directly from a source must be put in quotation marks (a
page number should also be included in the in-text reference that follows).
 To cite a source within the body of the paper, you may use either a footnote or a
parenthetical reference such as (Brown 2000, p. 118) or (118: Brown 2000). You
only need to use page numbers if it is a direct quote. Otherwise the author’s
name and year of publication will suffice.
 In the reference section, you should include the full citation (see attached
example).
 If you are uncertain of the rules regarding proper citation, please ask the
professor.

If you need additional help with your writing, you should contact the writing lab in McDermott Library several weeks prior to the
due date.

COURSE EVALUATION/GRADING:

Evaluation of the student will be based upon performance on examinations, class participation, attendance and a term paper.
The grade will be determined on a percentage of the total points earned. If the student earns 93% of total points or more, the
grade will be an A; 90% - 92% will be an A-; 87% - 89% = B+; 83% - 86% = B; 80% - 82 % = B-; 77% - 79% = C+; 73% - 76%
= C; 70% - 72% = C-; 69% - 67% = D+, 66% - 63% = D, 62% - 60% = D-, 59% and below an F.

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COURSE-RELATED POLICIES:

• All students are expected to attend class on a regular basis. If for some reason you are unable to attend a class, it will
be your responsibility to obtain class notes, announcements, assignments and handouts prior to the next class
session.
• Participation in class discussions is an important part of the learning experience but should remain relevant to the
particular readings and lecture materials.
• Students are expected to always be respectful of other’s opinions and beliefs in the classroom. Personal attacks and
racially/sexually harassing behaviors are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Anyone involved in such behaviors
will be asked to leave the class session.
• As a courtesy to your fellow students and professor, all cell phones should be turned off before class begins. If,
however, you are expecting an important call during class, you should place your phone on vibrate mode and find a
seat near the door for that session.

GENERAL POLICIES

For information regarding the following University policies go to: http://go.utdallas.edu/syllabus-policies

• Off-campus Instruction and Course Activities


• Student Conduct & Discipline
• Academic Integrity
• Email Use
• Withdrawal from Class
• Student Grievance Procedures
• Incomplete Grade Policy
• Disability Services
• Religious Holy Days

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TENTATIVE COURSE OUTLINE AND READING ASSIGNMENTS

Aug. 23: General Course Introduction

Aug. 25: Introduction to Social Inequality Manza & Sauder: Inequality and Society: An Introduction

Aug. 30: Separate and Not Equal Hurst : Separtism and Status (pp. 63-75 only)

Sept. 1: Theories of Social Inequality Marger, Chapter 2 (McDermott course reserves)

Sept. 6: Labor Day holiday (no class)

Sept. 8: Theories of Social Inequality (continued) Marger, Chapter 2 (McDermott course reserves)
1st In-Class small group project

Sept. 13: Economic Advantage and Disadvantage Hurst: The Polarization of Economic Resources
(pp. 132-141 only) McDermott course reserves;
Manza & Sauder: Reading 10 “What Americans Had:
Differences in Living Standards”

Sept 15: Film: People Like Us

Sept. 20: What it Means to be Poor Manza & Sauder: Reading 16 “The Changing Face of
Poverty;” Reading 17 “What Does it Mean to be Poor in
America?”

Sept. 22: What do Jobs Have to do with Inequality? Manza & Sauder: Reading 31: “Jobless Poverty: A New
Form of Social Dislocation in the Inner-City Ghetto;”
Reading 20 “The American Jobs Machine: Is the New
Economy Creating Good Jobs?”

Sept. 27: Invisible Inequality Manza & Sauder: Reading 44 “Invisible Inequality:
Social Class and Childrearing in Black Families
and White Families”

Sept. 29: Families at the Bottom New Report: The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict
http://www.americanprogress.org/pressroom/releases/2010/01/three_faces.html
(download full report) read Pp. 11-31

Oct. 4: What it means to be in the middle New Report: The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict
http://www.americanprogress.org/pressroom/releases/2010/01/three_faces.html
(download full report) read Pp. 32-49

Oct. 6: EXAM 1 – You will need to bring a Blue Book


Literature Review Summary Due – upload to eLearning

Oct. 11: Film: People Like Us – The Elite

Oct. 13: Being at the Top Manza & Sauder: Reading 14 “ I’d Rather be Rich;”
Reading 15 “Forty Acres and a Mule”

Oct. 18: Power Elite “The Power Elite”


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/opinion/19brooks.html
Domhoff: “The American Upper Class” in Great Divides:
Readings in Social Inequality in the United States by
Thomas Shapiro (McDermott course reserves)

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TENTATIVE COURSE OUTLINE AND READING ASSIGNMENTS (continued)

Oct. 20: Power Elite continued Handout “The Governing Class”

Oct. 25 - 27: Inequality in Education Neckerman: “School Inequality: What Do We Know?” in


Social Inequality (Pp. 467-511)

Nov 1 - 3: Inequality in Education Kozol: Handout “Savage Inequalities”


Kozol: “Excluding Beauty” (McDermott course reserves)

Nov. 8: Film: I am a Promise

Nov. 10: 2nd In-Class small group project – Educational Inequality


LITERATURE REVIEW DUE!

Nov. 15-17: Aspirations and Attainment MacLeod: Ain’t No Makin It (chapters 1, 3-7)

Nov. 22: Aspirations and Attainment continued MacLeod: Ain’t No Makin It (chapters 9-11)

Nov. 24: No Class

Nov. 29 – Dec 1: Aspirations and Attainment continued MacLeod: Ain’t No Makin It (chapters 12-14)

Dec. 1: Take-Home Exam Questions provided

Dec. 6: Tying it all Together Manza & Sauder: Reading 61 “Does Inequality Matter?”

Dec. 13: Exam 2 Due – upload to eLearning (DO NOT FORGET TURNITIN.COM)

These descriptions and timelines are subject to change at the discretion of the Professor.