Checking date: 18/01/2021

Course: 2020/2021

Structure and social change
Study: Bachelor in Political Science (205)

Coordinating teacher: TORRE FERNANDEZ, MARGARITA

Department assigned to the subject: Department of Social Sciences

Type: Electives
ECTS Credits: 6.0 ECTS


1) Ability to analyse and synthesize different approaches to the study of inequality 2) Familiarity with the basic conceptual framework of inequality research 3) Ability to identify the main arguments of a scientific text 4) Critical thinking 5) Ability to present orally in English 6) Cooperation and communication with fellow students
Description of contents: programme
This course introduces students to the major contemporary theories and the central concepts relevant to the study of social stratification, with particular attention to the study of advanced industrial societies. It presents some of the key findings from the comparative literature on social stratification and shows how theoretical debates can be tested against empirical data. The course offers a comprehensive introduction to key debates in the field of social stratification, including debates on meritocracy, the declining significance of social class, the causes of income polarisation, and the determinants of gender and ethnic stratification in contemporary societies. Objectives The course objectives are: 1) to give students a good knowledge of the academic literature and debates about social stratification in advanced contemporary societies; 2) to give empirically-based knowledge of the ways in which social structures vary across contemporary advanced societies; 3) to enable students to understand how contemporary stratification theories can be tested against the empirical evidence; 4) to introduce students to theories of social change by looking at changes in the social structures of advanced industrial societies; 5) to enable students to understand how social scientists make sense of the complexity of social phenomena by combining theory and empirical research; 6) to understand the role played by labour-markets, households and welfare states in the production/reproduction of inequality; 7) to introduce students to the complexities of measuring (class, income, gender) inequality 8) to introduce students to some key concepts and debates in the study of social behaviour, including the role of preferences vs. constraints, biological vs. environmental influences, socialization vs. agency; 9) to understand the differences between micro, meso and macro levels of analysis; 10) to understand the difference between demand and supply-side theories of gender and ethnic stratification;
Learning activities and methodology
The course is divided into 13 (possibly 14) lectures and 13 (possibly 14) practical sessions (depending on the academic calendar) where students will be asked to discuss readings and visual materials, as well as to carry out various practical exercises and assignments. In addition, students are asked to do at least one oral presentation. Tutorials timetable will be announced in due course. This programme can be subjected to changes.
Assessment System
  • % end-of-term-examination 60
  • % of continuous assessment (assigments, laboratory, practicals...) 40
Basic Bibliography
  • Marshall, Gordon. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. Oxford University Press.. 1998
  • Platt, Lucinda. Understanding Inequalities. Polity Press. 2011
Additional Bibliography
  • Blau, F. Ferber, M and Winkler, A. . The Economics of Women, Men and Work (3d edition). . Prentice Hall. 2001
  • Collins P.H., and Solomos, J. (eds) . Sage Handbook of Race and Ethnic Studies . Sage. 2010

The course syllabus and the academic weekly planning may change due academic events or other reasons.