Department of Sociology

Daniel Jaster

M.S., University of Oregon

Daniel Jaster



Political sociology; social movements; comparative and historical sociology; rural sociology; theory


SOC S321Q • Social Inequality

85503 • Summer 2017
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM GAR 3.116


Social inequality is the unequal distribution of both material resources and symbolic power among individuals and groups within a society. This course provides an in-depth exploration of social inequality, ranging from its causes, its consequences, and strategies individuals and groups utilize to reduce it. The main goals of the course are: 1) to provide an overview of the social structures that maintain and exacerbate social inequality within one society and between societies on a global scale; 2) illustrate the phenomenological dimensions to social inequality, notably the experiences of the disadvantaged; 3) to understand the variety of ways that both individuals and organizations work to either reduce social inequality or to mitigate its effects and aid in social mobility.

The course is organized thematically. First, we will discuss the major structural features that create and maintain social inequality. These include, but are not limited to, gender, race/ethnicity, economic class, and the intersections between these categories, as well as broader social systems. From there, we turn to the lived experience of inequality, focusing on those disadvantaged within the social system. We will see how the experience of being disadvantaged makes it difficult to improve one’s life chances, due to both the structural barriers in one’s way as well as the way the subjective experience of inequality interferes with attempts to better one’s life. We end with a discussion of the ways in which groups work to reduce social inequality or alleviate its negative effects. These include protest movements and social policy.

By the end of the course, students should be able to understand some theories on social inequality, understand the experiences of individuals and communities subject to its negative consequences, and understand how to combat its effects. They should also understand the links between various forms of social inequality, and apply these lessons to their understandings of their own backgrounds as well as other communities.

Required Text

Social Inequality: Forms, Causes, and Consequences. By Charles E. Hurst, Heather M. Fitz Gibbon, and Anne M. Nurse. 9th edition. New York: Routledge.

 Exams and Grading

The grading breakdown consists of three portions: exams, reflection essays, and a final presentation.

There will be three multiple choice exams. While not strictly comprehensive, principles from the first exam will appear on the second and third exams. Each exam is worth 25% of your grade.

Additionally, there will be three reflection essays. Each essay should be about one page long. The purpose of these essays is to apply material learned in class to your own experiences. Each reflection essay is worth 5% of your grade.

Finally, students will present on a topic related to social inequality of their choice. The presentation will consists of a brief description of the topic, a discussion of why this social inequality is important for us to address, and one potential way to address it. This assignment is worth 10% of your grade.

Grading Scale

 A       93-100

A-      90-92.99

 B+     87-89.99

B       83-86.99

B-      80-82.99

 C+     77-79.99

C       73-76.99

C-      70-72.99

 D+     67-69

D       63-66.99

D-      60-62.99

 F        0-59.99


SOC 308K • Social Change And The Future

44907 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 0.102


This course provides an introduction to using the past to inform understandings of the future via the historical-comparative sociological method. The main goals of the course are: 1) to provide students an introduction to sociological theories about the origins and implications of change in social structures; 2) to teach students how to use these theories through historical case studies; 3) to apply lessons from the past to predict the effects of contemporary changes for society in the near future.

The course is organized thematically, not chronologically. First, the theoretical foundation will be built. Various schools on social change will be illustrated and compared, ranging from Marxism to cultural accounts of change. From there, case studies will illustrate these varying perspectives. We will focus on three types of change: economic, political, and cultural. After case studies illustrate how to analyze past events using theory, we will end with illustrating how these theories are used to predict the future. This will be accomplished by examining how prominent sociologists use current trends to predict the future.

By the end of the course, students should be able to: 1) understand some theories on social change, 2) use them understand historical cases, and 3) understand how to apply these skills in making informed predictions about the near future using long- or short-term trends. They should understand the links between economic, political, and cultural changes and how each affects a wide variety of social structures.


Course Packet

Grading Policy

There will be three multiple choice exams. While not strictly comprehensive, principles from the first exam will appear on the second and third exams. Each exam will be worth 1/3 of the total grade.

The grading scale will be as follows:

A 93-100

A- 90-92.99

B+ 87-89.99

B 83-86.99

B- 80-82.99

C+ 77-79.99

C 73-76.99

C- 70-72.99

 D+ 67-69

D 63-66.99

D- 60-62.99

F 0-59.99


Curriculum Vitae

Profile Pages

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    The University of Texas at Austin
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