Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Social Class
  • Social Class in the United States
  • Stratification Systems
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, eBook, Video

    Education Standards

    Understand the different types of stratification systems and define social class in the United States


    OER Text material

    Systems of Stratification

    Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World, Chapter 8, Section 1

    This section defines systems of stratification including slavery, estate systems, caste systems and class systems. It also explains the difference between open and closed systems and provides a brief discussion of vertical mobility. The chapter concludes with is a brief comparison of Marx and Weber’s views on class.

    Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

    Social Stratification: Crash Course Sociology (Video)

    This is an excellent ~10 minute video on systems of stratification.  It provides a great overview and would be useful at the start of unit on social class.

    Wealth Inequality in America (Video)

    This is a great ~6 minute video on wealth inequality in America. It provides a compelling illustration on inequality. The data is from 2012, but the illustration is compelling. Instructors may need to update this resource in a few years.

    Gallup: “What Determines how American’s Perceive Their Social Class”

    This is a great article published by Gallup on perceptions of social class. It includes definitions of objective and subjective social class. It also includes interesting data on social class identification by income and education.

    Why is There Social Stratification: Crash Course Sociology (Video)

    This 10 minute video provides a great explanation of why there is social stratification.