What is social class? Why dedicate a Wiki to this idea and teaching?
Definition: Social Class is a set of Social Science and Political Theory concepts that focus on hierarchical social stratification. Its definition has expanded from the 18th century where identifies were estates, ranks, and orders, to more modern concepts such as materialism, geography and micro-social stratification.
Why teach class: Social class is contemporary issue that has historical implications. It is and should be a central issue to social studies content.It is an important issue to discuss. Wayne Ross and Greg Queen in their article "Globalization, class and the social studies curriculum" make the argument that social class is an important issue that educators, parents and students should recognize. It should be recognized that there is disparity in our social structure that is being maintained and increased. We need to be aware of this and bring up the discussion of social class with students.
The purpose of this Wiki: We hope that this Wiki will be a useful tool for educators to learn more about social class and how to use it in your classroom. We hope that this Wiki will provide ideas and thoughts and perpetuate more inquiry into social class and the classroom.
Sociological Theories of Social Class and Education
Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) - German philosopher, economist, socialist, historian, and journalist whose social science work accumulated in the creation of the Communist Manifesto (1848). A work that was essential to the rise of the socialist movement. For Marx, class was defined as the combination of objective and subjective factors. He referred to “Class Consciousness” as the similarity and common interest relationships of those within a social stratified class group. Class consciousness is not only the awareness of one’s own class interests but a set of shared views regarding how society should be organized legally, culturally, socially and politically. (Gender and Rural Development: Introduction, Volume 1, Olanike F. Deji., 100)
He defined the capitalist mode of class structure as characterized by the conflict between two main classes: the bourgeoise, the capitalists who own the means of production, and the much larger proletariat (or 'working class') who must sell their own labour power. This is an example of the fundamental economic structure of work and property, and a state of inequality that is normalized and reproduced through cultural ideology. The war of the classes between those who control production and those who produce or service in society, is explained by Marxists as the history of civilized societies.
Marx argued in his book “the Communist Manifesto” that the “free development of each is the condition for the free development for all” (Karl Marx's Theory of Ideas, John Torrance, 339) that is the the goal of the proletariat is to displace the capitalist system with socialism, changing the class system and social relationships, then developing a future communist society that would bring about a classless society no class, no state, no need for money with democratic control and production for use for all.
Maximilian Karl Emil "Max" Weber (1864–1920) - German sociologist, philosopher and political economist who influenced social theory, social research and sociology. Along with Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx, Weber is the third founding architect of sociology. Weber formulated a three-component theory of stratification and found that political power had a strong interplay between "class", "status" and "group power". Weber also believed that class position was determined by a person's skills and education rather than by their relationship to the means of production. Both Marx and Weber agreed that social stratification was undesirable, however, where Marx believed that stratification would only disappear along with capitalism and private property, Weber believed that the solution lay in providing "equal opportunity" within a competitive, capitalist system. Weber noted that “contrary to Marx's theories, stratification was based on more than simply ownership of capital. Weber examined how many members of the aristocracy lacked economic wealth yet had strong political power. Many wealthy families lacked prestige and power, for example, because they were Jewish. Weber introduced three independent factors that form his theory of stratification hierarchy; class, status, and power.” (Gender and Rural Development: Introduction, Volume 1 By Olanike F. Deji, page 92)
Emile Durkeim (1858-1917) was a French sociologist and one of the three founders of the modern day discipline of sociology. He was a major proponent of structural functionalism; a framework that regards society as a complex system that has a core, shared set of social factors (The Sociology of Education In Canada, Terry Wotherspoon, 20). As part of his analysis of society, Durkheim examined the education system. Durkeim was concerned with the question of why individuals are dependent upon society, and viewed education as having a significant role in binding people together. Formal education, Durkeim believed, was essential for equipping people with the knowledge and skills that enable them to be active participants in society.
The following theorists are reproduction theorists; they hold that school is not a great equalizer, but actually works to reinforce social class and inequalities.
Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) was a French sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher. Bourdieu agreed with the marxist position that education contributes to social reproduction (Wotherspoon, 40). He sought to explain how social inequality is perpetuated through social practices. Central to Bourdieu’s theory of social reproduction are his concepts of 'cultural capital' and 'habitus'. Bourdieu defined cultural capital as the cultural background, knowledge, disposition, and skills that are passed from one generation to the next. (Ain't No Makin' It, Jay MacLeod, 15) According to Bourdieu, children of lower, working-class families inherit a different cultural capital than that of upper-class children who are more linguistically and culturally competent. Habitus is the composition of one’s attitudes, beliefs and experiences which determine how one will approach their schooling. According to Bourdieu, the cultural capital of upper-class children is more valued by society and favored in schools, as well as required for academic achievement. Class-based assumptions and expectations are infused within schools giving some individuals a competitive advantage over others (Wotherspoon, 40). A student’s social background and schooling “affect the educational and occupational pathways that they subsequently follow” (Wotherspoon, 40).
Paul Willis is a British sociologist. Willis completed a comprehensive ethnographic study of two groups of working-class white males in England, called the “lads” and the “ear’oles”. Willis sought to understand why the “lads” did not conform or aspire to middle-class roles. Willis observed that the “lads” countered their school culture because they saw little in the middle-class standards of schools that was of interest or relevance to their own lives (Wotherspoon, 41). A Marxist, Willis believed that class background, location, local job opportunity and educational attainment all have a significant influence on social class reproduction (MacLeod, 19). However, Willis contends that these factors work in a complex interplay that are acted and mediated by cultural milieu; there is no clear separation between agency and structure (MacLeod, 19). Willis’ study demonstrated that “jobs and social positions are not mechanically predetermined but develop through specific choices experiences that arise, in part, through life in schools” (Wotherspoon, 41).
Bowles and Gintis
Economist, Samuel Bowles and behavioral scientist, Herbert Gintis are authors of Schooling in Capitalist America, an influential study of schooling in the 1960s. Bowles and Gintis’ study connects the capitalist economy and schooling (Wotherspooon, 35) As neo-Marxists, Bowles and Gintis believe that schooling functions at both a material and ideological level; to ensure the successful accumulation of capital by providing employers with trained workers, and to promote the attitudes and values needed for the capitalist economy. (MacLeod, 13) They argue that the educational system operates parallel to work places in its organization and prepares students to be future workers, reinforcing “social inequality by legitimating the assignment of students to inherently unequal ‘slots’ in the social hierarchy” (Wotherspoon, 37). Schools, Bowles and Gintis argue, therefore “socialize students to occupy roughly the same position in the class structure as that of their parents” (MacLeod, 13).
Henry Giroux (critical pedagogy)
Henry Giroux is an American cultural theorist and developer of critical pedagogy. Giroux is concerned with social transformation through the empowerment of students. According to Giroux, learning for empowerment could be attained if curriculum practices are developed that is drawn from the knowledge and experiences that constitute the student (Giroux, McLearen, 149). Critical pedagogy views education as a contributer to the perpetuation of a power structure that “fosters the oppression of subordinate groups by dominant groups (Wothersppon, 47). However, critical pedagogy contains possibilities for persons within the subordinate group to become empowered and change their lives and their social environment (Wotherspoon, 27).
The Process of Schooling and Social Class
Education is one of the most powerful means to improve one's socio-economic opportunity. The degree to which it does however, is up for debate. It is argued that "educational institutions tend to serve as gatekeepers to "success" rather than as facilitators for upward social mobility" (Wotherspoon, 225). Schools play a significant role in the facilitation and reproduction of social class. Through formal and informal means, schooling serves to construct and reinforce students' identities. Four key practices work to form educational experience and reproduce class within this experience. They are:
1) Streaming - The placement of students into different programs/classes based on their aptitude, ability, special interests or needs (Wotherspoon, 100). There are many critics of streaming. One of their main arguments against it, is that this type of student allocation is susceptible to the forming of labels and stigmatization. Wotherspoon highlights the problem: "Students are highly aware of their status in relation to others and look for cues such as the classroom or work group they are placed in to identify where the system has slotted them" (Wotherspoon, 101). This is turn, is likely to produce a self-fulfilling prophecy.
2) Official Knowledge - The information that dominates and is valued within schools. Official knowledge is not dynamic, everyday experience, "common sense" knowledge, but is book knowledge,the curriculum, it is fixed. Wotherspoon describes its emphasis as giving "legitimacy only to those ideas and beliefs that are in some way authorized by designated officials or agencies" (108). This information does not represent 'special interest groups' and it not neutral. Rather, it is filtered and conveys the ideas of the wider society (Wotherspoon, 108). Students who lack the 'cultural capital', are therefore at a disadvantage when it comes to official knowledge.
3) Hegemony - The accepted view/sense of the world. One way it is fostered within education is by the lack of critical thinking that is taught and encourage in schools: "Schools are hegemonic institutions to the extent that they do not address or encourage the posing of fundamental questions about the nature of our social reality" (113). Being taught alternative ways of seeing the world is often missing from the schooling process.
4) Silencing - Can operate in two ways: 1) When certain issues are excluded from, or discouraged in the classroom, or 2) When the lives, interests and experiences of students are omitted/made irrelevant in their learning (113). Through this process, schools send messages about what is and isn't important. Some perspectives are given recognition, treated with acceptance, and legitimized, while other knowledge is dismissed and silenced. Certain topics pertinent to the lives of students, especially students who belong to a minority group, are thus marginalized.
Geographical Determinants of Social Class
As "Social Studies" teachers, we cannot forget that our field consists of more than just history. Geographical factors have had a significant impact on determining social class both historically and in modern times. In fact, the two concepts converge to form a sub-field called Social Geography. Social Geography is a field that has become difficult to define, as variance of its subject matter increases. However, it generally focuses on the distribution of different cultural and class groups, particularly within cities, and the class dynamics of different neighborhoods/regions. Extensive literature exists on the topic but it can be hard to relate to secondary school students and their curriculum.
Our Suggestions for incorporating Social Geography into the curriculum:
- Use it to make students more aware of the area they live in, its demographics, and the effects that has on their lives and the lives of their peers
- Encourage them to look up demographic information for their school through the Fraser Institute's website. The Institute has information such as ESL% and median household income for every school in the province. It also has a great supplemental report on Aboriginal Education in BC that was completed in 2011.
- Explore the Social Geography of the area with them. For example, ask them as a hook activity what areas of the Lower Mainland do they think of as being cultural-specific areas (for example, Richmond is full of Chinese-Canadians) or class-specific areas (e.x. West Vancouver is extremely affluent and high-class) get them to try and identify, knowing their own area, what their area can be classified as.
- Build on that exercise by expanding on the amount of social segregation present in our area, its economic affects, and comparing their findings to the situations that exist in the US. Metropolis British Columbia has an excellent study that should provide a significant resource for such an exercise.
We can then expand on these exercises and connect them to the rest of the Social Studies curriculum by putting things in a more historical context. For example:
- What factors caused many Japanese and Chinese immigrants to settle in Vancouver?
- What factors cause traditional cultural neighborhoods to develop, such as the large Japanese-Canadian population in Steveston a century ago?
- What makes West Vancouver so much more of an affluent neighborhood than Mission?
Grade 11 in particular is an ideal grade to tackle the concept of Social Geography. An entire unit of the curriculum needs to be devoted to Human Geography. Within it, Students learn about things like population demographics of Canada and measuring poverty. If we can find ways to tie these concepts together, we can imbue our students with a powerful depth of understanding of Canadian demography. (Gord Randall)
Issues To Be Aware Of
Social class can be a controversial subject. As teachers we always need to be aware of the issues and controversies that we may face. This does not mean we should shy away from bringing up the issue, but we should not go in blindly thinking we will receive no push back. This section will provide some ideas a teacher may want to think about and how it relates to their lesson and some of the possible outcomes before teaching the lesson.
- Bias is a natural occurrence and a teacher will always bring a bias to any part of their teaching.
- Teachers should not be afraid to voice their opinion
- Teachers should not force their opinion as truth
- If attacked for bias by parent, administration or students there should be a discussion looking at the all the biases already present in a class
- Becoming political and taking political stances can often cause controversy because it may differ from those of parents, students, administration and current government
- Politics is already a major influence in schools and students are being shown political stances every day
- Parents politics
- Government's IRP and PLO are political
- The running of a school involves constant politics as the funding, school programs and faculty is dependent on politics
- Therefore being political is not a new idea in schools and teachers should not be fearful of being political
- A teachers should be weary if their politics interfears with their ability to teach
- Social Class is a reality that we and our students face and those our lessons of social class can become personal.
- Teachers may unintentionally label students in a certain class and may make differences between students more apparent.
- Teachers must be aware of the social economic climate of their school. The social class of one's students will depend on where one's school is situated.
- A teacher may spend time creating a very interesting and fair lesson plan dealing with social class but your students may not be responsive.
- See if allowing awareness and inquiry to come naturally rather then forcing the conversation can create a different response.
Are my lessons being just maintaining the status quo?
- Jean Anyon's article "Social Class and School Knowledge " can provide great insight in to this idea of what in schooling doing, being either reproductive or non reproductive of the status quo.
- Her findings were that schools do have a tendency to be reproductive (Maintain the current social system), however depending on the teacher and students response schools could be non-reproductive (not installing the status quo but creating inquiry into how the system can be changed)
- In her findings, Anyon shows how it did not depend on the social economic status of the school, they all could be reproductive or not. It depends on how the teacher approaches the content and how students inquiry is fostered.
- taking Anyon's findings we must realize that teachers can teach social class but it depends on how the lesson is structured and how they carry it out in their classroom.
For the Classroom
- Feudal society in relation to modern society by Simon Edwards
- 18th Century French society and social class by Travis Smid
- Lesson plan on Victorian Influences on Canadian Society and Politics by Nicole Friesen
Social Studies 11 Geography Unit: Population Trends and Issues, Living Standards, The Environment
- Unit Plan by Nicole Friesen
PLOs that can relate to Social Class issues:
If one is looking to add social class or needs to explain their reasoning for teaching about social class in the classroom, the Prescribed Learning Outcomes from the Government's Integrate Resource Package can be your best resource. These are some of the PLOs that can be helpful.
Grade 8 -
It is expected that students
- Will identify and clarify a problem, an issue, or an inquiry
- Demonstrate understanding of the tension between individual rights and the responsibilities of citizens in a variety of civilizations
- Compare daily life, family structures, and gender roles in a variety of civilizations
- Look at the time Period of 500-1600 A.D.
- Medieval European feudalism
- Religion's influence
- Exploration and colonialism
- Conquistadors, European colonization and the colonized
Grade 9 -
It is expected that students will
- identify and clarify a problem, an issue, or an inquiry
- defend a position on a controversial issue after considering a variety of perspectives
- asses how identity is shaped by a variety of factors, including family, gender, belief system, ethnicity and nationality
- define colonialism, imperialism, and nationalism
- analyse factors that contribute to revolution and conflict
- evaluate the effects of Industrial Revolution on society and the changing nature of work
Grade 10 -
It is expected that students will
- Identity, society, And culture: Canada from 1815 to 1914
- B1 analyse Canadian society from 1815 to 1914 in terms of gender roles, ethnicity, daily life, and the arts
- B4 describe the factors that contributed to a changing national identity from 1815 to 1914
- Government: Canada from 1815 to 1914
- C1 describe the evolution of responsible government in Canada in terms of government structure and key contributing events
- C2 analyse political, economic, social, and geographical factors that led to Confederation and to the development of Canada’s provinces and territories
- C3 describe the events of the Red River and Northwest Rebellions; including land issues discrimination unequal taxation class conflict rule of Château Clique and Family Compact
- C4 describe the structure and function of Canada’s federal, provincial, and local governments
Grade 11 -
It is expected students will
- demonstrate skills attitudes of active citizenship, including ethical behaviour, open-mindedness, respect for diversity, and collaboration
- assess Canada's participation in world affairs with reference to human rights, United Nations, Cold War and modern conflicts
- compare Canada's standard of living with those of developing countries, with reference to poverty and key indicators of human development
- assess the development and impact of Canadian social policies and programs related to immigration, the welfare state, and minority rights
- explain the significance of changes in world population
- describe the role of women in terms of social, political and economic change in Canada
- demonstrate knowledge of the challenges faced by Aboriginal people in Canada during the 20th century and their response
- represent what it means to be Canadian
Grade 12 -
It is expected students will
- The Study of History
- A2 Assess significant historical events in relation to social, political, economic, technological, cultural, and geographic factors
- Promise and Collapse: 1919-1933
- C1 Compare the basic features of Fascism, Communism and Democracy
- C4 evaluate ways in which Lenin and Stalin trasformed the USSR
- C6 Describe social, economic and political developments in the United States in the 1920s
- Turmoil and Tragedy: 1933-1945
- D4 Analyse the significance of the Holocaust
- Transformation and Tension: 1945-1963
- E5 Explain key developments in the struggle for human rights in South Africa and United States
- Progress and Uncertainty: 1963-1991
- F1 Explain the significance of conflicts in Vietnam and the Middle East
Group activities for any grade:
Modern Social Class Activity Game Adapted by Simon Edwards
This game is adopted from the U.S. Game found on the PBS website relating to the documentary "People Like Us"
Introduction: What does your living room say about you? Do you favor big fish tanks and new Persian rugs or a gun rack over that really comfortable recliner? Do the things on your shelves scream "old money," "blue collar," or "smack dab in the middle class?"
Instructions: step one: choose one of either a wall-to-wall pile carpet, wall-to-wall shag carpet, frayed Persian rug, hardwood, or a new Persian rug. step two: what would be on the shelves. Antique duck decoys, bowling trophies, electronics, motorcycle parts, best sellers and art pottery step three: choose a wall hanging. Exhibition poster, original painting by original artist, family members in oil, collage of new family photos, beer poster. step four: pick a chair. Choices: Barcelona chair, frayed Chippendale, leather recliner, convertible sofa bed, Corduroy recliner step five: pick a television: Projection screen TV, 27" color TV, High def wall screen, 32" color, No TV in the living room. step six: chose a furnishing object. Gun rack, aquarium with tropical fish, piano, wet bar, grandfather's civil war sword. step seven: choice a dog. poodle, pit bull, chow wow, elk hound, Labrador.
Breakdown: Old Money: frayed persian rug, antique duck decoys, original painting by original artists, frayed chippendale, no tv, grandfather’s civil war sword, elk hound Nouveau Riche: new persian rug, best sellers and art pottery, family members in oil, barcelona chair, high def wall screen, piano, poodle Middle Middle: hardwood, electronics, exhibition posters, leather recliner, projection screen tv, aquarium with tropical fish, labrador Working Class: wall to wall pile caret, bowling trophies, collage of new family photos, corduroy recliner, 32” color, liquor cabinet show wow lower class: wall to wall shag, motorcycle parts, beer poster, convertible sofa bed, 27” color, beer fridge, pit bull.
Results match to characters: Stiles Minturn Bathurst IV: Some people say he's a snob—what with his Blue Blood lineage, his effortless sense of entitlement and the fact that he appears to have never worked a day in his life. But Stiles would say that he appreciates the "finer things in life"— things that only good breeding (and a trust fund) provide. Henry Jones: He thinks he's just a regular guy, Henry does. "I'm really an everyman, squarely in the middle"— (square being perhaps the operative word). He's not shabby, but he's not too flashy. Someday he'd love to leave the computer firm he works for and start his own business. Betty Cwiklowski: Betty's friends think she's got just a bit of an attitude. It's true she doesn't take any crap from anybody, especially from the regulars at the Chat N' Chew where she doles out burgers and B.L.T's with the best of them. But as crusty as she might be, she's got a proverbial heart of gold. Well, gold-plated anyway.
Social class drawing game
- Social Class Drawing Game by Nicole Friesen
This is a simulation of social class conditions, advantages and limitations in the classroom. It is useful as a resource in the classroom in a lesson on social class’ characteristics. It demonstrates for the players of the game how social class constrains or liberates depending on their social class. This would be a wonderful game to use in a class on the French revolution or Industrial Revolution.
Social Class Identifiers Wallpaper Activity by Simon Edwards
Class is divided into groups of 5. They are then given markers and small cards. They are then asked the question on how they identify social class in their life. They are to use key words on each piece of paper. Examples are given like: money, debt, poor, etc. After 10 minutes the students will go up to the front of the class and plaster their cards on the wall creating a big collage of words - like a wallpaper. Students will then be given time to look at their classmates responses. Upon completion of the activity, students will then discuss their findings and what they can interpret from the words and language we use in identifying social class in our society.
Thirty Chairs of Inequality by Gord Randall (adapted from Rethinking Schools)
This is an excellent hook activity to open a class. Divide the chairs in your classroom into three groups to represent the richest 20% of the population, the middle 60% and the poorest 20% of the population (equivalent to the five 'quintiles' typically used in such exercises). The distribution, as of 2009, would be: Fifth Quintile (Richest 20%)= about 40% of income or consumption Second-Fourth Quintile (Middle 60%)= about 53% of income or consumption First Quintile (Poorest 20%)= about 7% of income or consumption So, for example, in a class of 30 students, you would divide the chairs into clusters of 12, 16 and 2. Then, as the students enter the class, tag them as "rich", "middle-class" or "poor". You should have 6 students in each quintile. Send them over to their section as you tag them and ask them to find a seat. The distribution will end up as follows:
- Rich students: 6 students sharing 12 chairs. They will all be seated comfortably, and some of them will likely be lounging across multiple chairs just because they can
- Middle students: 18 students will be sharing 16 chairs. Pretty much everyone should be seated, though a few may be forced to share or go without. In general, everyone is pretty satisfied, though things could improve.
- Poor students: 6 students will be forced to fight over 2 chairs, illustrating the scarcity of resources for them. The majority will be left out.
We can then explain how this represents the income distribution in Canada, using our statistics, and ask the different groups how they feel about their situation. We can then use this to launch into a discussion on why income is unevenly distributed in our society and what can be changed to help that.
A site that can be helpful for teachers to explore the issue of class and how other educators are approaching it. The articles and content of the site may be too high for secondary students, but could still be a great resource for teachers.
A website devoted to the studying of working class. The 'Resource' and 'Teaching' tabs will be the most benifical to teachers as they give ideas on how to bring working class issues into the classroom.
The Center for Study of Working Class Life is dedicated to exploring the meaning of class in today’s world. This site could be useful for teachers who want to learn more about social class and its issues. The resource tab has a few great links to other website that can be helpful for more learning. The content may be too high for secondary school students.
Great overview of the ideas of social class with Canada specific content. This could be used by teachers to freshen up on their own knowledge and provides great teaching tools of quizzes, application and exercises and ways to create debate.
A website that looks at how Canada preforms in different social areas. This link directly takes you to the report on Canada's income inequality. Could be used to help explain economic inequality and bring it to our present situation.
This is the statistics Canada website which looks at income levels. This could be ideal for bringing awareness of the levels of inequality in income that is based on many areas such as education and sex.
An excellent paper published by the Metropolis British Columbia Center of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Diversity on the Social Geography of Canada's three biggest cities; Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Films and Videos
A Class Divided: - http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/a-class-divided/
Elliott divided her class by eye color -- those with blue eyes and those with brown. On the first day, the blue-eyed children were told they were smarter, nicer, neater, and better than those with brown eyes. Throughout the day, Elliott praised them and allowed them privileges such as a taking a longer recess and being first in the lunch line. In contrast, the brown-eyed children had to wear collars around their necks and their behavior and performance were criticized and ridiculed by Elliott. On the second day, the roles were reversed and the blue-eyed children were made to feel inferior while the brown eyes were designated the dominant group. What happened over the course of the unique two-day exercise astonished both students and teacher. On both days, children who were designated as inferior took on the look and behavior of genuinely inferior students, performing poorly on tests and other work. In contrast, the "superior" students -- students who had been sweet and tolerant before the exercise -- became mean-spirited and seemed to like discriminating against the "inferior" group.
From People Like Us - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU5MtVM_zFs
A look at the class system in the United States of America. This PBS documentary from 2001 views a range of social classes from high society to the trailer parks and within the American school system.
Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIJENf-s6r4
Documentary based on the Pepi Leistyna book, Class Dismissed focuses on the working class representation by American television. It looks at the history of American television's beginnings to today's sitcoms, reality shows, police dramas, and daytime talk shows.
Comedy: The Two Ronnies and Stephen Fry look at the differences in Social Class - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX5hzVXQ1l4
BBC Comedy sitcom based on an early BBC comedy skit by the two ronnies based on the history of social class portrayed through comic relief.
The Wire: Education - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDg4U2jYXgw
HBO drama series based in Baltimore, Maryland. The show explores urban city socioeconomic themes such as illegal drug trade, municipal government and bureaucracy, news media, and the school system. Its realistic and accurate portrayal of these societal issues lends itself well to teaching about them and social class. The show has been implemented in many university sociology curriculums in Canada, the U.S. and Britain. The content is mature and best suited for a university students, however, segments may be used for higher level secondary students. The University of York has compiled a list of comprehensive teaching resources for The Wire. It is a pdf document that can be found at: http://www.york.ac.uk/media/sociology/curb/publications/The%20Wire%20resource%20list.pdf
Social Class in American and Britain by Fiona Devine
This book answers such questions as: Do we live in a classless society? Is North America the model of such a society? How does class influence our political beliefs or dictate our social identity? comparative study of social class addressing all the current debates about the demise of social class in Britain and the US.
Class Matters: Working Class Womens Perspective on Social Class by Pat Mahony
This book focuses on class as it relates to women and tries to answer questions such as: how do women define themselves in terms of social class and why? and what part does education play in our understanding of class? and how does class affect our relationships with people, society and our environment?
Late to Class: Social Class and Schooling in the New Economy by Jane A. Van Galen
This book looks at social class through our experiences and observations of education, and the analysis of the poor, working class and the middle class.
Class: Ethnicity and Social Inequality by Chrisopher McAll
In Class, looks at ethnically distinct groups that exist in the same social environment. It looks at ethnic conflict and the connections with society stratification of social classes.
Social Change and the Middle Class by Tim Butler
This history book looks at the development of the middle class through history and how it has evolved and changed through time. The main focus of this book is to look at class system - middle class through a sociology perspective.
Degrees of Choice: Social Class, Race, Gender and Higher Education By Diane Reay
This book looks at the effects of social class, ethnicity and gender in the process of choosing which university to attend. higher education has deepened social stratification, generating new and different inequalities. Although gender inequalities have reduced, those of social class remain and are now reinforced by racial inequalities.
Class Matters by The New York Times
Class matters looks at the American dream and idea of a classless society in the United States of America. In the book a team of New York Times reporters explores the ways in which class--defined as a combination of income, education, wealth, and occupation--influences destiny in a society that likes to think of itself as a land of opportunity.
The Condition of the Working Class in England by Friedrich Engels
This book looks at the conditions of the working class in Victorian England during 1840's, it analyzes the plight of industrial workers.
The Classic Slum: Salford Life in the First Quarter of the Century by Robert Roberts
A study which combines personal reminiscences with careful historical research, the myth of the 'good old days' is summarily dispensed with; Robert Roberts describes the period of his childhood, when the main affect of poverty in Edwardian Salford was degredation, and, despite great resources of human courage, few could escape such a prison. A useful resource for a class including social class in the past or twentieth century.
The Sociology of Education in Canada by Terry Witherspoon
A critical sociological analysis of the development, organization, and contemporary issues of the Canadian education system. Through this perspective, Witherspoon examines many issues such as the role of schools in social reproduction, and the relationship between education employment. Some of the topics also included are: gender bias, racism, ethnicity, cultural hegemony, and Aboriginal concerns.
Ain't No Makin' It by Jay MacLeod
A story and ethnography of how social inequality is reproduced from one generation to the next. The book is MacLeod's study of two groups of boys who live in a U.S. housing project. It challenges ethnic stereotypes as the white group, the "Hallway Hangers", do not endorse the American achievement ideology, while the African-American group, the "Brothers" do. The book tells their stories and examines why this is so.
Social Class - How does it work? by Dalton Conney and Annete Lareau
An examination of the relationship between demographics and class focusing on the class diversity that exists within neighborhoods, classrooms and workplaces and defines our lives to an extent.