Class and Stratificiation SOCIO5075

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course aims to introduce students to classical and contemporary debates on how societies are stratified, most notably around the nexus of class. This involves a discussion of the main perspectives of sociological theory, as well as the examination of empirical evidence.


Monday 12-2, Weekly

Requirements of Entry

The normal qualification for admission to study for a higher degree by research or course work is a degree with at least upper second class honours in a relevant subject or a combination of subjects. In special circumstances, other academic or professional qualifications may be recognised as equivalent, depending on the discretion of the Head of Department.

Excluded Courses





One 4,000 essay

Course Aims

The main aim of this course is to provide students with a knowledge of the sociological theory and empirical research which has attempted to conceptualise the ways in which class, and other forms of stratification manifest themselves in modern (and/or 'late modern') societies.


More specific aims of the course include:


■ To examine and evaluate the worth of the 'classical' theories of social stratification, most notably the conception of class.


■ To examine how this has been built upon by so-called 'neo' theories and assess their successes and failures in such attempts.


■ To assess attempts at 'measuring' the class structure.


■ To evaluate more contemporary attempts at class analysis, such as cultural analysis.


■ To explore the ways in which 'new' forms of stratification may emerge in contemporary society, whether this is due to individualization, neoliberalism or globalization.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

The main learning outcome of this course is that students should be able to give a robust defence of either: why class is still important, why it isn't, or a mix of the two.


In addition to this, students who complete this course should be able to:


■ Critically assess the value of various theories which discuss how class is manifested.


■ Identity the main theoretical and research traditions in this field and discuss how these have developed over time.


■ Show an awareness of how these sociological ideas relate to the lived experience of those they claim to describe.


■ Provide a discussion of how changing experiences of class-based inequalities are linked to wider social transformations.


■ Be able to assess the validity of claims for an 'individualised' society.


■ Think critically about the link between the role of sociologists who study class and public policy debates on the issue.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.