Syllabus SOC 3210 Social Inequalities, Fall 2011

Professor: Stephen M. Marson, Ph.D., ACSW
Office: D. F. Sampson 221;
Phone: 521-6475 
Inclement weather: (910) 521-6888
Office Hours:  1:30 on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 4:00 Wednesday, Friday by appointment
Course Prerequisite: None
Course Description: This course examines contemporary and historical theories on inequality, the ways in which it develops and how it is sustained in society, using both local and global approaches.  Inequalities involving class, race, gender, age and sexual orientation are examined and ways to create social change to reduce social inequality will be considered..

Table of Contents
Academic Honor Code. Computer Usage Giving and Taking Help
Assignments Course Objectives Grading
Attendance Policy Course Content How I grade papers
Bibliography Course Outline Plagiarism
Blackboard Disabilities Religion Statement
Cell Phones Final Exam Text
Due date for interviews: September 19
Due date for research paper: November 21

Course Objectives

  1. Analyze the conflicting relationship between personal values and values entrenched within the social class structure in the US.
  2. Understand the basis of social inequality by understanding the structure of social class in American. 
  3. Understand the linkage between social position, prestige and the social conditions using traditional social science research methods. 
  4. Understand the relationship between producing social change and one's occupational prestige. 
  5. Based on social science research, understand the relationship between wealth and social advantages 
  6. Understand the relationship a variety of lifestyles (i.e., sexual orientation) and the acquisition of social advantages.
  7. Understand the social structural components that enable some and inhibit others to improve this social standing in society (including women, cultural [i.e. rural] influences etc.).
  8. Understand the relationship of a person's social background (i.e., sex, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, race) and social change.
  9. Analyze the characteristics of those who are considered to be the social elite and those with political power.
  10. Understand the concept of class consciousness as a frame of reference to understand the capacity for change and the absence of change.
  11. Understand class conflict. 
  12. Analyze the characteristics of those who are considered to be the underclass and those without political power. 
  13. Examine future trends of the American social class structure. 

Course Content and Outline of Presentation



Activities & Readings

Week  1

An Introduction to the concept of social class, social stratification, and injustice in the realm of economics and the social environment.
Explanation of the two assignment,
In addition, we will have two guest lectures:
Michael Alewine will meet with our class in the Library. Introduce students to cutting edge library search technology. Lecture will focus on searching for material that address term paper topics. Be prepared to ask questions regarding your selected topic. Emphasis will be placed on generating relevant scholarly material dealing with policy application, implementation, and service delivery in the rural environment. For the final paper, all students are required to use CQ Researcher, Congressional Universe, Criminal Justice Abstracts, NCLive (which includes EbscoHost, ERIC, First Search, Lexis-Nexis Universe, Proquest, PsycInfo and Social Science Abstracts) MEDLINE, Social Work Abstracts and Statistical Universe. Key sources include: Rural Routes and Human Services in the Rural Environment and the special bibliography with this syllabus. All of this material [and much more] is housed in the UNC-P library!

During this same time period, someone from the computer center will discuss Safe Assignment.

Guest Lecture
Click for details 
Chapter 1
Week  2

Film and Discussion: Crash

take notes
Week  3  We will examine social class by examining the historical development of the concept examining the works of Karl Marx and Max Weber.   They take divergent views of social class.  Part of our introduction is to examine the nine variables that are the key to understanding social class.  This information will lay the foundation for developing a deeper understanding of the social environment of individuals.

Chapter 2



Week  4

Oral Assignments and written reports are due on these dates. 

In our lecture, we will revisit the concepts of social position and social prestige which were first introduced in your sociology course.    The central focus of our discussion will be on occupation and we'll examine several occupational measures of occupational prestige.   Students will be given a homework assignment to measure occupational prestige.

Oral reports begin in alphabetical order

Week  5 Mid term grades will be based on 15% of the assignments which includes class reaction papers and participation (5%) and the oral/written assignment (10%). Although UNCP does not officially meet during October 12-15, most SOC majors have demanded we have class anyway.   Students will vote to determine if they wish to have class during their break.

Chapter 3


Week  6 For the oral report representation, complete the top part of the Oral Report Form and submit it prior to making your presentation.

What is social mobility? Social mobility is movement from one social class to another.  Can people move out of their social class?   How difficult is mobility within our class structure?  How difficult is social mobility for those in poverty or unemployment?

Chapter 4


Week  7 Social Change:  We will look at the social meaning and implications for social class.  This will be used as a spring board for understanding how and why some people get want they want out of life, while others are denied opportunities.
Wealth and Income: Where do people fit in the American class structure.   See page   to understand how people fit and the skewed distribution of wealth.   What is the difference between worrying about not having enough money and not having to give money a second thought?
Chapter 5
Week  8 Wealth and Income: Where do people fit in the American class structure.   See page   to understand how people fit and the skewed distribution of wealth.   What is the difference between worrying about not having enough money and not having to give money a second thought?

 Chapter 6

Week  9 Film and Discussion: You Jump, I Jump Jack Chapter 6
Week  10 Socialization, Association, Lifestyles and Values: Based on social class, what can a person do, what can a person get out of life.  Is domestic violence related to social class?

Chapter 6

Week  11 Family, Education and Career: Who gets to go to college?   Why do some go to college and others don't?   What percentage of those facing poverty or employment have an opportunity to attend college? Chapter 7
Week  12 Elites, Class and Political Power: What is social power?   The basic ideas are presented.   How do people get to be leaders in our country (i.e., President of the United States)?   What in the social class structure affords some people power? Chapter 8
Week  13 Class Consciousness and Conflict: Marx coined the term "class conflict."   Do we have class conflict in the United States?   The answer to this question lies in our ability to understand the concept of "class consciousness."   Do middle and lower class people  have "class consciousness"?  Understanding class consciousness is the key to understand social inequality. Chapter 9
Week  14 Social Policy and the "Underclass":  What social policy issues prevent social work clients from achieving their economic goals?  What are the definitions of poverty, relative poverty, welfare, and poor.  What poverty future trends to we see.  What is the difference between rural poor and urban poor? Chapter 10
Week 15 American Class -- Growing Inequality:  What is the future implications for the study of social and economic justice?   How does this effect social work practice? Chapter 11
Week 16 Final Exam. Term papers returned.  All students are required to be present.  Failure to appear constitutes an F for the paper.  

Final Exam: Papers will be returned on exam day.
Required: Gilbert, D. The American Class Structure
Optional: American Psychological Association. Publication Manual

About Computer Usage: Sociology majors are required to have an email account to submit and receive assignments.  Students may apply for an account on Snappy (name of our computer) at no cost.  Merely complete the  "New User Account" form found at  

I. Each students must demonstrate that he/she is reading the text by completing a reaction paper for each chapter.   These reaction papers must be handwritten (NOT typed) and will be collected in class on the due date as indicated in the course outline.   If the reaction paper does not clearly reflect that the student read the material, zero credit will be given.  Half credit will be given for late reaction papers.   Any students who fails to complete all assignments will not receive a letter of recommendation from me.


II.  Collect a sample of five people who are currently employed between the age of 40 and 65 and are members of a population at risk and interview them. Issues in the interview to address:

  1. Estimate their socioeconomic class by the scale provided (thus you cannot interview someone who is not presented on the scale)..

  2. Ask if he/she has been subjected to discrimination. If the person says no, tactfully prod.

  3. If yes, ask him/her to describe the situation.

  4. Ask him/her to imagine if being a wealthy person faced with the same situation

Your final report must include:

  • The results (3) of the scale, the name of the population at risk of the interviewee.

  • A discussion of patterns or lack of patterns of your findings..
    Must be typed and submitted on hard copy and disk copy.  Maximum of two pages per interview. Should be one page per interview.


    III.  Students will present an oral report on the process of their research paper.   Included in this report will be:

    1. a rough outline of the research paper

    2. a bibliography of relevant citations -- MUST be in APA style

    3. an report on the library data bases used and an problems using them


    IV. Write a 10 to 15 page term paper on the relationship between wealth and populations at risk.   Must use at least 20 scholarly citations.  Your paper is to be typed, double spaced, conform to APA style [your professor will note exceptions in class]. Each student must word process his/her own paper! No newspaper paper articles, news magazine articles, Bible, etc. will be counted as part of the citations.  All written work is to reflect appropriate college level work and demonstrate attention to grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and neatness.  Students MAY NOT use this paper for any other class nor use a paper from another class for this assignment. Doing so, constitutes cheating!

    Student presentations on the final term paper (students will be called in alphabetical order starting with Z)  Student will submit typed tentative bibliography, and detailed outline of paper.   Students must complete the top section of the Oral Report Form to receive a grade.   Students who fail to complete this form will be dropped 5 points.

    You are required to submit in a duplicate hard copy, a disk copy and the original. The original will be returned to you on the day scheduled for finals.  Your paper must include a cover/title sheet [no page number], an outline page or table of contents [no page number], an abstract [no page number], and a reference page at the end of the paper.

    I have grown tired of hearing the statement: "There is not enough scholarly material to write a paper." Such statements indicate that students do not know how to use the library. This is an unforgivable offense for any college student. In addition, student need to consider technology problems.  Helpful hints: 1) While working on your paper save it and alway create a backup.  2) Give yourself at least two days to print your paper before you are required to submit it -- particularly if you are depending  on a campus printer.  Students will be dropped a letter grade, even if they face a technology problem.  Thus plan to have a technology problem.

    WWith their term papers, students must print and submit their Safe Assignment in Blackboard.  Use the draft protocol first and assess your own paper.  Make changes and then use the final draft protocol.

  • Cell Phone Policy: Students are not permitted to conduct phone conversations during class time.  Students are not permitted to have cell ring during class time.   Students who use conduct a phone conversation or allow their phones to ring during class time will be drop 10 points on the next quiz or 5 points for their final term paper.

    Attendance Policy

    Attendance and class participation are critical to the learning and integration of materials. There are no excused absences.   Students are therefore encouraged to be mindful of absences and make every effort to be in attendance. Students are expected to have read assigned material prior to the class. Students are also expected to participate in class discussion, exercises, and any Blackboard discussions that may be announced.  Students are considered in attendance only if present for the entire class. Arriving late or leaving early is disruptive will be dealt with by the instructor.  Attendance will be used as a criterion in determining the final grade.  (Present 1 point; Tardy 1/2 point; Not present 0 points)  For more details see Class Attendance in The University of North Carolina at Pembroke..

    Grading: attendance and reaction papers -- 5%; first oral report and paper -- 10%; second oral report -- 15%; final term paper 70%

    Grades are not negotiated.   A grade will not be changed after the grade is given to the student.   On the other hand, if the professor makes a calculation error, students are expected to immediately report the error to the professor.  /p>

    A 92-100

    B 82-86

    C 72-76

    D 62-66

    A- 90-91

    B- 80-81

    C- 70-71

    D- 60-61

    B+ 87-89

    C+ 77-79

    D+ 67-69

    F 0-59

    Giving and Taking Help

    Two important ethical concepts exists: “process” and “outcome”. Outcome is the degree of success in achieving a goal. Process includes the hard work and self-discipline an ethical person employs in achieving a goal. The faculty feel that the “process” is as significant as the “outcome”. When one student assists another by sharing projects, term papers, book reports, reaction papers and other assignments, the benefit of the “process” are usurped.  The student who recycles the assignments is denied the opportunity to enhance his/her self-discipline and work habits. Simply stated: Don’t share your work with other students. Students have the responsibility to know and observe the UNCP Academic Honor Code.


    The Sociology Department does not permit plagiarism   All students enrolled in SOC 3210 courses are required to use the APA citation style, anyone caught plagiarizing automatically receive an F.  You will loose points on assignments if you do not use APA citation style. APA manuals can be purchased in the bookstore. There is a copy on closed reserve in the library. Also refer to the Library resource for APA You may also get help from University Writing Center hours during the spring semester are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday. For an appointment, stop by the Writing Center, Dial 131, call 910.521.6168, or email

    Students With Disabilities

    Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments is requested to speak directly to Disability Support Services and the instructor, as early in the semester (preferably within the first week) as possible. All discussions will remain confidential. Please contact a style Disability Support Services, DF Lowry Building, 910-521-6695.

    Religion Statement

    The University of North Carolina at Pembroke has a legal and moral obligation to accommodate all students who must be absent from classes or miss scheduled exams in order to observe religious holidays; we must be careful not to inhibit or penalize these students for exercising their rights to religious observance.    To accommodate students religious holidays, each student will be allowed two excused absences each semester with the following conditions:

    1.      Students, who submit written notification to their instructors within two weeks of the beginning of the semester, shall be excused from class or other scheduled academic activity to observe a religious holy day of their faith.  Excused absences are limited to two class sessions (days) per semester. 

    2.      Students shall be permitted a reasonable amount of time to make up tests or other work missed due to an excused absence for a religious observance.

    3.      Students  should not  be penalized due to absence from class or other scheduled academic activity because of religious observances.  

    A student who is to be excused from class for a religious observance is not required to provide a second-party certification of the reason for the absence.   Furthermore, a student who believes that he or she has been unreasonably denied an education benefit due to religious beliefs or practices may seek redress through the student grievance procedure.  

    Bibliography: Click Heree

    Blackboard Although SOC 3210 is not designated as a BlackboardĀ course, Blackboard is used under two circumstances. First, if the course is cancelled or the professor is unable to attend class and cannot find a replacement, lectures and assignments will be posted on Blackboard. Second, depending on the nature of the course, some quizzes will be posted on Blackboard. Under most circumstances, students will be given a three day window of opportunity to compete the quiz. If a student is kicked off Blackboard during a quiz, he/she is required to immediately email (steve.marson@uncp.eduu/a> or or call the instructor (521-6475).