Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
Consequences of Social Class
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs, eBook, Text/HTML, Video

Education Standards (1)

Discuss the consequences of social class in the United States

Module Overview

OER Text material

Economic Inequality and Poverty in the United States

Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World Chapter 8 Section 4. Section 8.4 provides a good discussion of inequality and poverty, but it does not adequately discuss the consequences of social class. Overall this textbook misses the point that social class is economics plus lifestyle. Concepts such as cultural capital and everyday class consciousness,, although related to economics, impact lifestyle differences between classes; however, these concepts are not included in the textbook. Instructors wishing to make this case would benefit from including one or more of the following supplemental materials.

Section 1: Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

“On the Ocean Social Class Can be a Matter of Life and Death”

This is a reading from Sociology in Focus on who lives and dies at sea as a result of social class. Great, short and accessible supplemental reading related to the consequences of social class in which the author describes how low class individuals are more likely to die at sea. She uses examples from the Titanic, as well as modern day differences between cruises and migrant boats.

"When Social Class Chooses Your College Major”

This is a very short reading from The Society Pages that summarizes current research on the relationship between class and choice of major. It is relevant and accessible.

Profiles of Low Wage America

This NPR site includes many stories from a year long NPR series in which Noah Adams travels the U.S. to profile low wage workers in many different jobs. Students could choose several stories and write a reflection. There are many options for using this source. However, the series was done in 2004.

The Impacts of Social Class: Crash Course in Sociology (Video)

This is a great ~ 9 minute video on why social class matters. The narration is very fast, but there is a lot of good material including a discussion of class socialization and how class impacts health.

Why the Middle Class Matters? (Video)

Great  2 ½ minute video on the middle class and why we think we are middle class by Frontline.  

The 9.9 percent is the New American Aristocracy

This a great article from The Atlantic about the current class structure of the U.S. and an argument for a “new aristocracy” with comparison to the old.

“Teacher to Steph Curry: I Love You, But Please Don’t Visit My High School”

This reading from Sociology in Focus discusses the importance of life chances.  Great example and would be a good piece to generate discussion on the impact of social class and the myth of the American Dream.

Section 2: Data