Syllabus University of Warsaw

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University of Warsaw

Semester II: 2008
Comparative Social Inequality
Instructors: Dr. Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow and Prof. dr. hab. Kazimierz M.


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

Main Email:

Course Description:
Using a cross-national approach, the course focuses on two dimensions of social inequality: class relations and the distribution of goods. In addition, historical aspects of social inequality are assessed on the basis of long-term changes in the labor market structures and intergenerational mobility. Topic agenda includes:
1. The advantages of studying social inequality from a cross-national and historical perspective

2. Cross-national conceptualization and measurement of class relations and social stratification.

3. Mapping class divisions for various historical epochs and world regions.

4. Status attainment processes in countries of America, Europe, and Asia.

5. National social mobility patterns and their economic, political, and cultural determinants.

6. Links among stratification, work and personality in various parts of the world.

7. Status inconsistency and its psychological effects. Poland, Japan, and the United States.

8. Class relations and social stratification in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Post-communist societies.

The course is taught mainly in an informal lecture style. It is designed to assess the research strategies and empirical findings pertaining to the diversity of class relations and stratification systems around the world, focusing on post-communist and less developed countries. About 70% of the materials pertain to Europe and half of that to Eastern Europe.

The course provides students with an opportunity to develop their original research interests under the instructor’s guidance. The use of the European Social Survey is recommended.

Grades will be based 20% on Test I, 20% on Test II, 45% on the term paper, and 15% on class participation.
Test I requiring written responses to a set of 10 to 12 questions. The questions will cover the main issues raised in readings and lectures.
Term paper examining correlates or consequences of social inequality on the basis of the European Social Survey (or other survey data source). The paper should be based on a prospectus developed and finally approved during instructor-student conferences.
Test II requiring written responses to a set of 30 to 40 multiple-choice and open-ended questions.  

The questions will cover the main issues raised in readings and lectures.

Class participation. Students are expected to discuss all of the assigned readings on the due date and to participate in in-class projects. Each week, two students will be designated as discussion leaders, whose job is to provide a short summary of the required readings and at least one debatable issue stemming from these readings. These are not written assignments (i.e., they do not have to be submitted in written form) but the oral presentation must reflect the discussion leaders’ scrupulous preparation based on the readings and, advisably, additional materials.
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.

We expect everyone to show up to class on time. During class, beepers and cell phones must be turned off. We 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 the instructor of this reason before class begins.

Please remember to be well-mannered and polite to one another during the period of hot 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 the instructor personally at the beginning of class. The deadline for writing assignments is the beginning of the class period on the day they are due.

We will accept late materials only if we are notified 24 hours prior to the deadline. Late writing assignments will be assessed a penalty of 10% off per day.

If the instructor permits the assignment to be emailed, then it is the responsibility of the student to be sure that the instructor received it. Excuses and explanations regarding problems in handing-in assignments due to internet and computer issues of any kind are only accepted at the discretion of the instructor.
We only give a Test I make-up in extreme circumstances. To qualify as an extreme circumstance, you must provide written documentation of the event (e.g. doctor’s note, towing receipt, etc.). Make-up for Test I will be assessed a penalty of 10% off per day.
Course Outline and Course Readings
Course Readings are available at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology/University of Warsaw library,, Krakowskie Przedmiescie 3.
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.






Introduction, and 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.



The Logic of Comparative Inquiry into Inequality

R – Kohn, Melvin L. 1987. “Cross-National Research as an Analytic Strategy: American Sociological Association, 1987 Presidential Address.” American Sociological Review 52(6): 713-731.
R -- Slomczynski, Kazimierz M. and Irina Tomescu-Dubrow. 2006. “Representation of European Post-Communist Countries in Cross-National Public Opinion Surveys.” Problems of Post-Communism 53 (4): 42-52.



Economic Inequality

R – Brandolini, Andrea and Timothy M. Smeeding. 2006. “Patterns of Economic Inequality in Western Democracies: Some Facts on Levels and Trends.” PS: Political Science and Politics 39(1): 21-26.
R – Dreier, Peter. 2007. “Just the Numbers: The United States in Comparative Perspective.” Contexts 6(3): 38 – 47.
OP – Firebaugh, Glenn. 2000. “The Trend in Between-Nation Income Inequality.” Annual Review of Sociology 26: 323-339.



Class Relations

R – Slomczynski, Kazimierz M. 1989. “Are Social Classes Consistently Stratified?” Pp.11-31 in Social Structure and Mobility: Poland, Japan, and the United States, by Kazimierz M. Slomczynski. Warsaw: Polish Academy of Sciences.
R -- Wight, Erik Olin. 1997. “Class Structure in Comparative Perspective.” Pp. 45-90 in Class Counts: Comparative Studies in Class Analysis, by E. O. Wright. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.




Social Mobility and Status Attainment, Part I

R – Breen, Richard. 2003. “Social Mobility in Europe.”
R – Inkeles, Alex and Peter H. Rossi. 1996. “National Comparisons of Occupational Prestige,” pp. 103-114 in Comparing Nations and Cultures: Readings in a Cross-Disciplinary Perspective, edited by Alex Inkeles and Masamichi Sasaki. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
OP -- Kerbo (2003) Chapter 12, “Social Mobility: Class Ascription and Achievement.”



Social Mobility and Status Attainment, Part II

R – Breen, Richard and Jan O. Jonsson. 2005. “Inequality of Opportunity in Comparative Perspective: Recent Research on Educational Attainment and Social Mobility.” Annual Review of Sociology 31.
R – Treiman, Donald J. and Kermit Terrell. 1996. “The Process of Status Attainment in the United States and Great Britain,” pp. 115 – 131 in Comparing Nations and Cultures: Readings in a Cross-Disciplinary Perspective, edited by Alex Inkeles and Masamichi Sasaki. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
OP – Buchmann, Claudia and Emily Hannum. 2001. “Education and Stratification in Developing Countries: A Review of Theories and Research.” Annual Review of Sociology 28.



Test I

Test I



Term Papers

Discussion of term papers



Gender Inequality

R -- Paxton et al. 2007. “Gender in Politics.” Annual Review of Sociology 33.
R -- Paxton et al. 2006. “Women’s Political Representation, 1893 – 2003.” American Sociological Review 71 (6).



Comparative Historical: Inequality in Preindustrial Societies

R – Lenski, Gerhard. 1984 [1966]. “Agrarian Societies, Part I,” pp. 189-242 in Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratification. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.
R -- Sanderson, Stephen K., D. Alex Heckert and Joshua Dubrow. 2005. “Militarist, Marxian, and Non-Marxian Materialist Theories of Gender Inequality: A Cross Cultural Test.” Social Forces 83 (4): 1424-1442.
OP – Sanderson, Stephen K. and Arthur S. Alderson. 2005. “Chapter 1: 10, 000 Years of Social Evolution.” Pp. 1 – 5 in World Societies: The Evolution of Human Social Life. Boston: Pearson.
OP-- Sanderson, Stephen K. and Arthur S. Alderson. 2005. Chapters 3 – 4, pp. 32 - 81 in World Societies: The Evolution of Human Social Life.



Comparative Historical: Race and Ethnicity

R -- Dubrow, Joshua and Stephen K. Sanderson. 1998. “Was There Racial Antagonism in the Ancient World?” Sociological Viewpoints 14: 63-83.
R -- Brustein, William I. and Ryan D. King. 2004. “Anti-Semitism as a Response to Perceived Jewish Power: The Cases of Bulgaria and Romania before the Holocaust.” Social Forces 83(2): 691-708.
OP – Pilkington, Andrew. 2003. “The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity” in Racial Disadvantage and Ethnic Diversity. Palgrave Macmillan: London.



World Systems Theory

R – Chase-Dunn, Christopher and Peter Grimes. 1995. “World Systems Analysis.” Annual Review of Sociology 21: 387 – 417.



Political Inequality

R -- Dubrow, Joshua Kjerulf. 2008. “Guest Editor’s Introduction: Defining Political Inequality with a Cross-National Perspective.” International Journal of Sociology, Special Issue: Causes and Consequences of Political Inequality in Cross-National Perspective 37 (4): 3 – 9.
R -- 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.
OP -- Skocpol, et al. 2004. American Democracy in an Age of Rising Inequality. American Political Science Association.



Social Stratification, Work, and Personality in Comparative Perspective

R - Kohn, Melvin L., Atsushi Naoi, Carrie Schoenbach,  Carmi Schooler and Kazimierz M.  Slomczynski. 1990.  “Position in the Class Structure and Psychological Functioning in the United States, Japan, and Poland.”   American Journal of Sociology 95 ( 4):  964-1008.

OP - Kohn, Melvin L., Wojciech Zaborowski, Krystyna Janicka, Valery Khmielko, Bogdan W. Mach, Vladimir Paniotto, Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, Cory Heyman, and Bruce Podobnik. 2002. “Structural Location and Personality During the Transformation of Poland and Ukraine.” Social Psychology Quarterly 65 (4): 364-385.

OP - Slomczynski, Kazimierz  M., Joanne Miller and Melvin L. Kohn. 1981.  “Stratification, Work, and Values: A Polish-United States Comparison.”  American Sociological Review 46 (6): 720-744.



Social Stratification in Post- Communist States

R -- Eyal et al. 2000. “Making Capitalism without Capitalists” in Social Stratification: Class, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective, edited by David B. Grusky. CO: Westview Press.
R – Szelenyi, Ivan and Szonja Szelenyi. 1995. “Circulation or Reproduction of Elites during the Postcommunist Transformation of Eastern Europe.” Theory and Society 24(5).
OP – Lenski, Gerhard. 2000. “New Light on Old Issues: The Relevance of ‘Really Existing Socialist Societies’ for Stratification Theory” in Social Stratification: Class, Race, and Gender in Sociological Perspective, edited by David B. Grusky. CO: Westview Press.
OP -- Kazimierz M. Slomczynski and G. Shabad. 1997. “Systemic Transformation and the Salience of Class Structure in East Central Europe.” East European Politics and Societies 11: 155-189.

Test II: Final Exam

Test II

Test II

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