Syllabus 2012 – 2013

Download the Syllabus 2012 – 2013

University of Warsaw

Winter Semester 2012 – 2013

Social Stratification and Mobility

Instructor:                   Dr. Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow

Date and Time:           Mondays, 14:00 – 15:30

Place:                          Wydzial Filozofii I Socjologii – Instytut Socjologii, ul. Karowa 18, sala 303

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.  We will explore these subjects within comparative and historical frameworks.



Grades will be based on the following:

Short Assignments (10%): Two short writing assignments (1 – 2 pages) on readings.

Term Project (50%): on social stratification issues and research. In the main, the term project will be original content for a webpage within a website devoted to student projects on the topic of inequality.  The website is: Students may choose any topic they wish, so long as the focus is on inequality.  Feel free to be interdisciplinary.  Students can create a short film, conduct an interview or participant observation, or collect data for statistical analysis or graphical representation.  Be creative.  Try to incorporate video, audio and pictures: they may be from YouTube or other such content sharing websites.  Specifics of term project will be discussed in class.

Class Participation (40%):  Students are expected to discuss all of the assigned readings on the due date and to participate in in-class projects.

Policies on Attendance and Late Materials:

You are allowed a maximum of two unexcused 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.

It is the responsibility of the student to be sure that I receive emailed assignments and papers.  Excuses and explanations regarding problems in submitting emailed and other electronic materials due to internet, computer or affiliated electronic device issues of any kind are only accepted at my discretion.


Course Outline and Course Readings


Readings marked with an “R” are REQUIRED, or mandatory readings.  Those with “OP” are optional or non-mandatory readings.  TBA is “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.



Basic Concepts, Trends, and Dimensions of Stratification

OP – Grusky, David B. and Manwai C. Wu.  2008.  “Gloom, Doom and Inequality,” pp. 2 – 29 in Social Stratification: Class, Race and Gender in Sociological Perspective edited by David B. Grusky.  CO: Westview Press.

OP – Lenski, Gerhard.  1966.  Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratification. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.  Chapters 1 and 3.

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

See also: Stanford University Center on Poverty and Inequality’s “Inequality in the United States” Slideshow


Economic Inequality and the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

R – Kenworthy, Lane. 2011.  “How Rich Countries Lift Up the Poor.”  Pathways, Fall: 28 – 32.

R – Rosenfeld, Jake.  2010.  “Little Labor: How Union Decline is Changing the American Landscape.”  Pathways, Summer: 3 – 6.

R —  Burtless, Gary.  2010.  “Crisis No More: The Success of Obama’s Stimulus Program.”  Pathways, Summer: 24 – 28.

OP—Barro, Robert J.  2008.  “Inequality and Growth Revisited.”  Asian Development Bank Working Papers Series


Social Class and 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

R —  The Social Class in America Reader

R —  The Health Care in America Reader

OP – 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 — Slomczynski, Kazimierz M. and Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow.  “When and Where Class Matters for Political Outcomes: Class and Politics in a Cross-National Perspective.”  in Handbook of Politics (Springer).


Political Inequality and the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

R — APSA Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy.  2004.  American Democracy in an Age of Rising Inequality.

R —  The Occupy Wall Street Reader


The Daily Show: Wednesday November 16, 2011, Occupy Wall Street Divided:  Samantha Bee visits Zuccotti Park to report on class division within the Occupy Wall Street movement.

OP — Dubrow, Joshua Kjerulf.  2010.  “Cross-National Measures of Political Inequality of Voice.”  ASK: Research and Methods 19: 93-110.


Gender Inequality and the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

R — Paxton, Pamela, Sheri Kunovich, and Melanie Hughes. 2007. “Gender in Politics.” Annual Review of Sociology 33: 263–284.

R–  Gender and the 2012 U.S. Presidential Elections Reader

OP —  Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Women in Politics [website]

OP – International IDEA Women in Politics [website]


What Connects Social Origins to Social Destinations?

Part 1: Social Mobility and Status Attainment

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

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



What Connects Social Origins to Social Destinations?

Part 2: Childhood Socialization

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.


Why Poverty?  And Can It Be Eliminated?

R– Selected chapters from Bornstein, David.  2007.  How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas.  Oxford University Press.

R – I — Berlin, Gordon and James Riccio.  2010.  “Paying for Good Behavior:  Does New York City’s Experiment with Conditional Cash Transfers Offer Lessons for the Safety New in the United States?”  Pathways: Summer 2010.

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


Did the Election of Obama in 2008 Herald a Post-Racial America?

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 4.

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



R —  The New York City Times Square Reader


The Digital Divide

R — Barlow, John Perry.  A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace.See also “Imagining the Internet”

R — Pew Internet Survey: The Digital Revolution and Higher Education

OP — Pew Internet Survey: College Students and Technology 

OP — Pew Internet Survey: Wikipedia, Past and Present

See also: World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report 2012 and their Networked Readiness Index

and Digital Differences about the digital divide in the U.S. 2000 – 2011 from Pew

R — Evgeny Morozov: How the Net aids dictatorships


Symbolic Interactionism and Inequality

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


Intersectionality and Inequality

R – I – 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.  A version is available online.


The Inequality Project