Key Concepts and Contemporary Approaches to Structured Inequality

Key Concepts and Contemporary Approaches to Structured Inequality

Capital, Power and Status

By Carl Bankston III

This book provides a basic but comprehensive text on the topic of social stratification.

EPUB, 186 Pages


June 2023

£25.00, $35.00

PDF, 186 Pages


June 2023

£25.00, $35.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
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  • Podcasts

About This Book

This book presentsa comprehensive but succinct overview of the theoretical background, major concepts, perspectives, and contemporary application and debates in social stratification. It begins by considering what stratification means, discussing forms of social inequality as historical constructions. The book then moves into the theories that shape how people think about the division of a social order into different positions. It examines ear;uviews of social inequality by different thinkers. The book then examines how the sociological theories set frameworks for thinking about stratification and suggests an environmental approach as a way of unifying these theories. 

After a detailed consideration of the key concepts of stratification, the book focuses on contemporary stratification, using the United States as an example. A growing economic divide is one of the most notable features of the contemporary situation. The main features of this situation are globalization and the dominance of technology-finance as environmental features, an increase in immigration and demographic change, and a cultural divide linked to economic and demographic change. 

The book goes further into contemporary stratification with a discussion of the categorical inequalities of race and ethnicity, gender, social class, and intersectional combinations. It then considers possible causes of inequality, including discrimination, culture, education, and social networks. A concluding chapter considers questions of politics and power and possible policy responses to stratification. This chapter ends by encouraging readers to think about the redistribution of social, political, and economic resources.


"Bankston offers a novel approach to understanding stratification by taking the reader through a journey in the evolution of social thought. Each chapter demonstrates how rules of society are altered as we move from hunter-gatherer societies all the way to a post-industrial society." — John C. Kilburn, Jr., Texas A&M international University, USA.

"Carl Bankston’s Key Concepts and Contemporary Approaches to Structural Inequality gives a succinct overview of the sociology of stratification and of related moral debates. I would recommend the book to anyone wanting to learn more about the subject matter, and it would make an excellent addition to any stratification course." —Bradley Campbell, Professor of Sociology, California State University, Los Angeles, USA.

Author Information

Carl L. Bankston III is Professor of Sociology at Tulane University in New Orleans, Lousiana.


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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables; Introduction: How We Think about Inequality; 1. Theories of Social Inequality; 2. Key Concepts; 3. The Twenty-First Century Setting; 4. Categorical Inequalities: Arguments and Evidence; 5. What Makes People Unequal?; 6. Politics, Policy, and Stratification; References; Index


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