Social stratification is the grouping of people based on income, wealth, political influence and other characteristics. Widely recognized categories such as upper, middle and lower class reflect the presence of social stratification in all societies. Inequality refers to the inevitable disparities in people's positions in this structure. The research presented in this book ranges from studies of income and wealth disparities to analyses of the nature of the class system. This textbook reflects a hybrid approach to studying stratification. It addresses the knowledge accumulated by stratification scholars and challenges students to apply this information to their social world. The authors include a wide range of topics and provide current research to round out their discussions. Each chapter includes a list of key concepts, questions for thought, suggested exercises and multimedia resources.
Lisa A. Keister is a professor of sociology and the Director of the Markets and Management Program at Duke University. She conducts research on wealth inequality, asset accumulation and the causes of each. She is the author of Getting Rich: America's New Rich and How They Got There (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Wealth in America (Cambridge University Press, 2000). Her research on Chinese corporations and the country's economic transition appeared in her book Chinese Business Groups (2000) as well as various articles. Darby E. Southgate is an assistant professor of sociology at Los Angeles Valley College and a research consultant. Her primary research interests are poverty, education and culture. Her research investigates the intersection of socioeconomic status, education and culture. She has authored numerous entries on culture, specifically on music and society. She also consults for agencies aiming to reduce homelessness and poverty through education.
1. Social stratification and opportunities; 2. Explaining stratification: theories and ideas; 3. Understanding stratification: methods of evaluation; 4. Class and the structure of inequality; 5. The upper class and the elite; 6. The middle class and workers; 7. The working poor and the underclass; 8. Social mobility; 9. Education and inequality; 10. Women and their changing positions; 11. Race and ethnicity; 12. Culture; 13. Inequality across the globe; 14. Public policy and social stratification.