Syllabus 2009-2010

The Social Stratification and Mobility Syllabus 2009-2010 in Microsoft Word Document Format

Interactive Syllabus

University of Warsaw
Winter Semester 2009-2010

Social Stratification and Mobility

Instructor:  Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow
Date and Time: Mondays, 16:00 – 17:30
Place:   Wydzial Filozofii I Socjologii – Instytut Socjologii – Okolice Kampusu Centralnego, ul. Karowa 18, sala 401
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, race and 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. 


Grades will be based on the following: 

Assignments (30%): are short papers (1-2 pages) based on readings and lectures.  

Exam (20%): A multiple-choice and short-answer exam based on lectures and readings. 

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

Class participation (30%):  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 can 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, cell phones and other electronic devices with noise-capacity must be turned off.  I will make exceptions to this 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 courteous 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 submitting 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 marked with an “R” are REQUIRED, or mandatory readings.  Those with “OP” are optional or non-mandatory readings.  Readings available only on the INTERNET (not in the library) are marked with “I”.  TBA is a reading “to be announced” at a later date.  Students are expected to have read the REQUIRED readings on the date they are assigned; optional readings are suggested, but students are not responsible for having read them.

Week & Date




October 5

Basic Concepts, Trends, and Dimensions of Stratification

OP — Kerbo, Harold R.  2003.  Social Stratification and Inequality New York:  McGraw Hill: Chapter 1, pp. 11 – 14 (hereafter. “Kerbo”).   OP — 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.  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].


Basic Concepts in Social Stratification and Mobility hand-out available on the course website.



October 12


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



OP – I – Smeeding, Timothy M.  2008.  “Poorer by Comparison:  Poverty, Work and Public Policy in Comparative Perspective.”  Pathways.  Winter. 

OP – I – U.S. Census. 2008.  “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008.”

 For more on health care, see here.



October 19

Symbolic Interactionism, Power and 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 City Times Square Reader  




OP — Yamokoski, Alexis and Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow.  2008.  “How Do Elites Define Influence?  Personality and Respect as Sources of Social Power.” Sociological Focus 41(4): 319-336.


OP — Schwalbe et al. 2000.  “Generic Processes in the Reproduction of Inequality: An Interactionist Analysis.”  Social Forces, 79 (2): 419-452

 Assignment 1 Due


October 26

Theories of Social Stratification, Part I: Marxism, Neo-Marxism and Conflict Theory


R —  Kerbo, Chapter 4, pp. 87 – 97 and Kerbo, Chapter 5, pp. 131 – 142.   


R —  McCullers, CarsonThe Heart is a Lonely Hunter.  Pp. TBA




November 2

Theories of Social Stratification, Part II: Weber and Functionalism


R — Weber, Max. 1946. “Class, Status, and Party” in Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Edited by Hans Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press     R — Davis, Kingsley and Wilbert Moore. 1945. Some Principles of Stratification. American Sociological Review 10(2): 242-249. 



November 9


Social Class

R – I – The New York Times.  2005.  “Shadowy Lines That Still Divide.”   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.  R — Slomczynski, Kazimierz M. and Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow.  “When and Where Class Matters for Political Outcomes: Class and Politics in a Cross-National Perspective.”  Forthcoming in Handbook of Politics (Springer). 


 Assignment 2 Due 


November 16

Social Mobility and Status Attainment, Part I

R — Kerbo (2003) Chapter 12, “Social Mobility: Class Ascription and Achievement.”  Read sections on Social Mobility    OP – Hauser, Robert M. and John Robert Warren.  2003.  “Socioeconomic Indexes for Occupations: A Review, Update, and Critique.”   



November 23

Social Mobility and Status Attainment, Part II

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


November 30


Exam on Social Class, Social Mobility and Status Attainment


December 7


Gender, Intersectionality and Disadvantage


R – McCall, Leslie.  2005.  “The Complexity of Intersectionality.”  Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 30(3): 1771 – 1800.    OP – I – Dubrow, Joshua Kjerulf.  2008.  “How Can We Account for Intersectionality in Quantitative Analysis of Survey Data?  Empirical Illustration of Central and Eastern Europe.”  ASK: Society, Research, Methods 17: 85-102.     



December 14








Race and Ethnicity, Part I

R – I – Feagin, Joe.  1991.  “The Continuing Significance of Race: Antiblack Discrimination in Public Places.” American Sociological Review 56: 101-116.    R —  Obama, Barack.  1995.  Dreams from My Father.  Chapter TBA.   


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

Assignment 3 Due



January 11


Race and Ethnicity, Part II



January 18

Social Stratification and the Family

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



January 25


Term paper Due

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