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-NonCommercial 4.0
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs, eBook, Video

Education Standards (1)

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

Module Overview

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.

Section 1: 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.

Holiday or Work? Thanksgiving and Social Class

Sociology in Focus. This reading explores how Thanksgiving is classed. It is a great example of how social class is not only an economic definition, but also a lifestyle phenomena.

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

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