Syllabus 2008-2009 NEW!

Here is the NEW! syllabus for the 2008-2009 Winter Semester:  dubrow_syllabus_social_stratification_oct2008_revised

University of Warsaw
Institute of Sociology
Winter Semester 2008-2009

Social Stratification and Mobility

Instructor:  Dr. Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow
Date and Time: Tuesdays, 16:00 – 17:30
Place:   Wydzial Filozofii I Socjologii – Instytut Socjologii – Okolice Kampusu
Centralnego, ul. Karowa 18, sala 304
Course Website:
Office Hours:  By appointment

Course Description:

The course is designed to cover the current state of the field of social stratification regarding academic and policy debates, theories, methods, and key research findings.  Among the subjects we will explore are class, ethnicity, gender, intersectionality, power, elites, poverty, social mobility and status attainment, children socialization and family structure, and processes of legitimation.  While most of the focus will be on the United States, we will also explore these subjects within comparative and historical frameworks.  The first quarter of the course is dedicated to social stratification and politics, focusing on the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections.


Grades will be based on the following:

Exam (20%): requiring written responses to a set of 20 to 30 multiple-choice and open-ended questions. The questions will cover the main issues raised in readings and lectures.

Assignments (40%): are short papers (2-3 pages) based on readings and lectures.

Term paper (20%): on social stratification issues and research. Specifics of term paper will be discussed in class.

Class participation (20%):  Students are expected to discuss all of the assigned readings on the due date and to participate in in-class projects.

Policies on Attendance, Late Materials, and Exam Make-Ups:

You are allowed a maximum of two absences.  Your overall grade will be reduced by 5% per unexcused absence after the maximum has been reached.  You are responsible for any and all in-class materials, including hand-outs and lecture notes.

I expect everyone to show up to class on time.  During class, beepers and cell phones must be turned off.  I will make exceptions to the “no beepers and cell phones rule” if you explain why you need them turned on during class.  You must inform me of this reason before class begins.

Please remember to be well-mannered and polite to one another during heated discussions.  We will be with each other for over three months and we all need a healthy and comfortable classroom environment to learn and discuss issues.

Assignments are to be handed-in to me personally at the beginning of class.  I accept late materials only if I am notified 24 hours prior to the deadline.  Late writing assignments will be assessed a penalty of 10% off per day.  For emailed assignments and papers: it is the responsibility of the student to be sure that I receive it.  Excuses and explanations regarding problems in handing-in emailed materials due to internet or computer issues of any kind are only accepted at my discretion.
Course Outline and Course Readings:

Most course readings are available at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology/University of Warsaw library,, Krakowskie Przedmiescie 3.  Readings available only on the INTERNET (not in the library) are marked with “I”.

Note:  There are two types of readings.  Those with an “R” are REQUIRED, or mandatory readings.  Those with “OP” are optional, or non-mandatory readings.  Students are expected to read the required readings; optional readings are suggested, but students are not responsible for having read them.

Week 1: October 7: Basic Concepts, Trends, and Dimensions of Stratification

R — Kerbo, Harold R.  2003.  Social Stratification and Inequality.  New York:  McGraw Hill: Chapter 1, pp. 11 – 14 (hereafter. “Kerbo”).
R — Grusky, David B. 2000.  “The Past, Present and Future of Social Inequality” pp. 3 – 8 in Social Stratification: Class, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective, edited by David B. Grusky.  CO: Westview Press.
R – I – Dreier, Peter.  2007.  “Just the Numbers: The United States in Comparative Perspective.”  Contexts 6(3): 38 – 47.
OP —  Sanderson, Stephen K.  1999.  “Chapter 1:  Sociology and the Scientific Study of Human Societies” in Macrosociology: An Introduction to Human Societies.  New York: Longman.  [focus on pp. 4 – 11].

Week 2: October 14: Political Inequality and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election

R – I — Skocpol, et al.  2004.  American Democracy in an Age of Rising Inequality.  American Political Science Association.

Week 3: October 21: Race and Ethnicity and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election

Assignment 1 Due
R — Feagin, Joe.  1991.  “The Continuing Significance of Race: Antiblack Discrimination in Public Places,” American Sociological Review 56: 101-116.
R —  The New York Times.  2008.  “Talk about Race.”

R – I — Obama, Barack.  Speech on Race.  Philadelphia March 2008.

Week 4: October 28: Gender and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election

Assignment 2 Due
R – Gender and Elections selected readings
R – I — Gender and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election reader
OP – Reskin, Barbara.  1991.  “Labor Markets as Queues: A Structural Approach to Changing Occupational Sex Composition.”
OP – England, Paula.  2004.  “Devaluation and the Pay of Comparable Male and Female Occupations.”

Week 5: November 4: Social Class and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election

Assignment 3 Due

R – I — The New York Times.  2005.  “Shadowy Lines That Still Divide.”

R – I — The New York Times.  2008.  “Change Comes to Levittown.”

R – Chan, Tak Wing and John H. Goldthorpe.  2007.  “Class and Status: The Conceptual Distinction and its Empirical Relevance.”  American Sociological Review 72(4).  Pp. 512-515.

OP — Manza, Jeff, Michael Hout, and Clem Brooks. 1995. “Class Voting in Capitalist Democracies Since World War II: Dealignment, Realignment, or Trendless Fluctuation?” Annual Review of Sociology 21:137-62.


Week 7: November 18: Social Mobility

R — Kerbo (2003) Chapter 12, “Social Mobility: Class Ascription and Achievement.”  Read sections on Social Mobility

R – Hauser, Robert M. and John Robert Warren.  2003.  “Socioeconomic Indexes for Occupations: A Review, Update, and Critique.”

Week 8: November 25: Status Attainment

R — Kerbo (2003) Chapter 12, “Social Mobility: Class Ascription and Achievement.”  Read sections of Status Attainment.

R – Lin, Nan.  2003.  “Social Networks and Status Attainment.”

Week 9: December 2: Modern Theories in Social Stratification

R — Kerbo (2003) Chapter 5

Week 10: December 9: EXAM

Exam will be based entirely on Weeks 7, 8 & 9.

Week 11: December 16: Elites

R — Mills, C. Wright. (1957). The Power Elite. Pp. 202-211 in Social Stratification: Class, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective, edited by David B. Grusky.  CO: Westview Press.

R – I — The New York Times.  2005.  “Old Nantucket Warily Meets the New.”

Week 12: January 6: Independent Study

Students are to conduct independent study for their term paper.

Week 13: January 13: Poverty in the U.S.

R – Rank, Mark.  2003.  “As American as Apple Pie: Poverty and Welfare” Contexts 2(3): 41 – 49.

Week 14: January 20: Social Stratification and the Family

R – Lareau, Annette.  2003.  “Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race and Family Life.”

Note: social class is also important in child care options.  See Hiring a Nanny: The Limits of Private Solutions to Public Problems

R – Kerbo (2003) Chapter 8, pp. 236-237 (Childhood socialization).

OP — Rainwater, Lee and Timothy M. Smeeding.  2003.  Chapter 2 in Poor Kids in a Rich Country: America’s Children in Comparative Perspective.  Russel Sage Foundation: New York.

OP – Downey, Douglas B. 1995. “When Bigger Is Not Better: Number of Siblings, Parental Resources, and Educational Performance.” American Sociological Review 60:746-761.

Assignment 4 Due

Week 15: January 27: Finals Week

Term Paper due


01.10.2008 – 15.02.2009

w tym:

zajęcia dydaktyczne

01.10.2008 – 21.12.2008

wakacje zimowe

22.12.2008- 04.01.2009

zajęcia dydaktyczne c.d.

05.01.2009 – 25.01.2009

egzaminacyjna sesja zimowa

26.01.2009 – 08.02.2009

przerwa międzysemestralna

9.02.2009 – 15.02.2009

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