Skip to main content
McMaster University Menu Search
Courses

Perspectives in Social Inequality

This course introduces students to issues in social inequality, both in Canada and globally. Though we live in one of the most advanced and successful nations in the world, as a nation, we have not been able to extend these privileges and successes to all members of society. Many Canadians, particularly those at the bottom-end, have not been able to share in the rewards of being part of an advanced industrial society. This course examines the way in which social inequality has been historically produced, situated, and reinforced. We cover the main tenets of social inequality, social class, and social stratification, from the view of the classical theorists such as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. We examine the ways in which power and privilege position different groups in society and justify particular social arrangements. After exploring the ‘cannons’ of sociology we examine some of the persistent structural conditions of social inequality in society from more contemporary writers who look at the interconnections of class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, and ability, which point to the processes producing inequality. In addition to the substantive lectures on inequality based on gender, race, class, we look at the ways in which these variables intersect in the lived experiences of individuals as they attempt to gain access to employment, education, health care and meaningful government support. In doing so, this course examines the intersections between individual agency and social structure, and the role of colonialism and post-coloniality.

SOCIOL 2R03

Perspectives in Social Inequality

Unit(s): 3.0 Level(s): II Term(s): Winter Offered?: Yes

This course introduces students to issues in social inequality, both in Canada and globally. Though we live in one of the most advanced and successful nations in the world, as a nation, we have not been able to extend these privileges and successes to all members of society. Many Canadians, particularly those at the bottom-end, have not been able to share in the rewards of being part of an advanced industrial society. This course examines the way in which social inequality has been historically produced, situated, and reinforced. We cover the main tenets of social inequality, social class, and social stratification, from the view of the classical theorists such as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. We examine the ways in which power and privilege position different groups in society and justify particular social arrangements. After exploring the ‘cannons’ of sociology we examine some of the persistent structural conditions of social inequality in society from more contemporary writers who look at the interconnections of class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, and ability, which point to the processes producing inequality. In addition to the substantive lectures on inequality based on gender, race, class, we look at the ways in which these variables intersect in the lived experiences of individuals as they attempt to gain access to employment, education, health care and meaningful government support. In doing so, this course examines the intersections between individual agency and social structure, and the role of colonialism and post-coloniality.


Prerequisite(s): SOCIOL 1A06