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Social Inequality & Justice

by: Kurtis Jones Jr.

Social Inequality & Justice SOC 3000

Marketplace > Southern Utah University > Sociology > SOC 3000 > Social Inequality Justice
Kurtis Jones Jr.
GPA 3.81


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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kurtis Jones Jr. on Tuesday October 20, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 3000 at Southern Utah University taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see /class/225487/soc-3000-southern-utah-university in Sociology at Southern Utah University.

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Date Created: 10/20/15
INEQUALITY CLASSIC READINGS IN RACE CLASS AND GENDER edited by David B Grusky and Szonja Szel nyi 35 pi A Mem er ofr re Perseus Beaks Group PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 0 he main rationale for publishing an anthology of classic readings is that doing so frees instructors and other scholars from the timeconsuming and routine task of assembling the readings themselves It is unlikely we think that such a task is regarded by many as an attractive one especially be cause there is rather little room for creativity or discretion in making the selections To the contrary our recent analysis of graduate and undergradu ate syllabi in inequality courses revealed that instructors across the country are assigning much the same classics almost as if some invisible hand guided That is just as high school teachers of US literature nd themsEWE miged to assign Hemingway Fauikner Steinbeck and Fitzgerald so too in structors of graduate and undergraduate inequality courses evidently find themselves obliged to assign Marx Weber Wilson and Bourdieu among 46 Others Watever our personal tastes or preferences might be these classics have become part of the intellectual world in which we live and any student who is to be inducted into that world simply must know of them There are Xlii 932 PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS accordingly real economies to be had in owning up to the standardization of our syllibiand centralizing theaggofaQemblingktElaisic If there is much consensus on the classics it is coupled however with an equallz striking dissensus on how one might best cull from the massive con tempora literature on ine uali In our analysis of inequality syllabi we Wry pieces that are chosen to supplement the common core are quite idiosyncratic and betray a host of differing View points about the areas or approaches that are most important most likely to yield a payoff in the future or most appropriate given the interests or needs of the students being taught It was precisely this combination of consensus and dissenSus in inequal ity syllabi that motivated Steve Catalano our Westview Press editor to approach us about editing a new anthology that represents exclusively the common core and foregoes the temptation to cull from the contemporary research literature We were instantly attracted to the idea The present reader is intended then to re resent the classical core alone a caressesquot A ma then be su lemented with contemporary seleW s choosing that presumably reflect the approach that is most appropriate for her or his students We of course hope that many scholars will continue to appreciate the con venience of a more comprehensive reader that combines the classics with contemporary pieces For those scholars we unsurprisingly recommend our own comprehensive reader Social Straty imtion Class R456 and Gender in Sociological Perspective2001 Boulder CO Westview Press This reader will continue to be updated at regular intervals to re ect current developments in the eld Although we stand by the contemporary readings in that anthology as a defensible if not necessarily consensual representation of the state of the eld we appreciate that some scholars will inevitably wish to chart a differ ent course through the contemporary literature We offer our new anthology for precisely those renegade scholars We don t mean to suggest that our selection of classics in the present an thology was a completely mechanical process lacking altogether in discretion or judgment on our end As suggested by the Table P 1 the con cept of a classic is itself something of an amalgam as it pertains at once to a pieces that are widely regarded as examples of excellent scholarship ie a reputational criterion and b pieces that whatever their reputauonal more spectacularly the course of human history eg Marx Although s or ne classrcs are regarded as such by virtue of a reputational criterion others are PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS XV regarded as classics not because scholars find them intellectually persuasive but because they appreciate that the world of inequality scholarship has ior whatever reason been irrevocably in uenced by them In uence Reputation Low High Disparaged Type I 16 nonclassics Type II eg Parsons Wellliked Type III eg Tumin Type IV eg Marx Table R1 Typology of Classics The vast majority of inequality scholarship fails to satisfy either of these tests and thus falls outside the space of classics see 11 cell T he reniain ing cells in our 2x2 table represent however three quite distinct types of classics all of which are represented in our anthology First the Type II clas sic is one which has profoundly affected the course of research and theorizing in the field even though a sizable contingent of sociologists no longer em brace the ideas theories or approaches it represents By way of example consider the in uential work of Parsons on the structure of modern strati cation systems a line of work that spawned an industry of scholarship on prestige scales and other gradational representations of inequality In uential though it was Parsons is hardly worshipped by contemporary inequality scholars in the way that say Weber still is although no one would question the in uence of Parsons Likewise there are very few Davis Moore function alists among the ranks of contemporary inequality scholars yet presumably no one would question the in uence of functionalism or the role of Davis and Moore in popularizing it Obversely the Type III claSSic is one that most everyone still appreciates as unusually insightful or creative yet for any number of reasons it never en gendered a school of research or had substantial impact on the development of inequality research For a classic of this sort there is much in the way of deferential and decorative citing but it nonetheless remains largely on the sidelines because it was introduced at an impropitious time or because it wasn t readily convertible into a research program This category includes perhaps the pieces by Tumin Turner Veblen and Hartmann Finally the remaining pieces in our anthology arguably fall into the 22 cell a category reserved for classics that deeply influenced the course of the eld and are still well received among a very broad constituency For exam pie few scholars indeed would dispute the creativity and continuing relevance of the Blau Duncan status attainment model nor would they XVI PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS dispute the impact of this model on the field We would of course like to believe that many of our selections fall into the 22 cell representing such doubly blessed classics To be sure the foregoing characterizations are merely our own inferences about disciplinary sentiments inferences that are not only colored by our own tastes and biases but are also necessarily judgments about the average so ciologist and hence subject to some variability around that average The Blau Duncan model is an especially instructive case in point Clearly some scholars regard that model as a spectacular wrong turn for the eld however widely embraced the wrong turn was Although these skeptics might there4 fore categorize the BlauDuncan piece as a Type Ii classic rather than a Type IV on the assumption that their skepticism about the Blair Duncan model is widely shared they aren t likely to dispute its place within the anthology as a legitimate classic More generally we suspect that there is often some dis agreement about the type of classic that a piece represents but not typically much disagreement about Whether it is a classic at all The latter interpreta tion is consistent with our finding that inequality syllabi quite predictably share a common core of classic readings We sought then to include classics of one of the three types represented in the table In making our selections we decided explicitly against the strat egy of ensuring adequate representation of certain core areas in the discipline preferring instead to re ect the consensual core in whatever form it takes The implication of this decision is that subfields that came into prominence later in the history of the field such as those of gender and race are perforce undervrepresented relative to what our current sensibilities would dictate This outcome is altogether consistent with the rationale underlying the vol ume That is whenever a field is relatively new and a large body of classics have not yet emerged Within it we prefer to avoid imposing our particularis tic tastes and instead will leave it to the individual instructor to tailor selections that reflect her or his tastes and needs By implication the selec tions represented here will re ect disproportionately the subfields of the past not the present There is nonetheless a very important sense in which this volume must be understood as a presentist artifact that is deeply affected by contemporary sensibilities It is not merely that the de ning feature of some classics is that they were influential enough to spawn much contemporary scholarship Ad ditionally our excerpting decisions will serve in the main to exaggerate this connection between the classical and contemporary worlds as the natural and largely desirable tendency of the editor is to retain those sections of the PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS XVII classics that seem most relevant and to excise those sections that seem least relevant The novice reader may be left then with the misleading impression that all past sociological work leads directly and inevitably to current discipli nary interests Although the resulting pieces provide by virtue of our careful excerpting much payoff for those engaging with the contemporary litera ture we would never discourage a rereading of the classics in their entirety nor of course an effort to poach from lessknown scholars who are not con sidered part of our classical legacy Indeed when students have had enough of mastering the eld and wish to turn to producing creative scholarly works of their own there is much to be said for abandoning well traveled roads The editing rules adopted throughout this anthology were in most cases conventional For example brackets were used to mark off a passage that was inserted for the purpose of clarifying meaning whereas ellipses were used whenever a passage appearing in the original contribution was excised alto gether The latter convention was violated however if the excised text was merely a footnote or a minor reference to a table or passage cg see Table 1 that was itself excerpted out When necessary tables and endnotes were renumbered without so indicating in the text and all articles that were cited in excised passages were likewise omitted without indication from the list of references appearing at the end of the chapters The spelling grammar and stylistic conventions of the original contributions were otherwise preserved In this respect the reader should be forewarned that some of the terms ap pearing in the original contributions would now be regarded as inappropriate eg Negro whereas others have passed out of common usage and will pos sibly be unfamiliar While a strong argument could clearly be made for eliminating all language that is no longer acceptable this type of sanitizing would not only exceed usual editorial license but would also generate a final text that contained inconsistent and possibly confusing temporal cues In the lead footnotes for each article we detail any of the potentially controver sial editing decisions such as omitting tables resequencing paragraphs and smoothing out transitional prose between adjacent sections The selections reproduced here have all been pretested in graduate and un dergraduate inequality classes at the University of Chicago Stanford University and Cornell University We are indebted to the many students in these classes who shared their reactions to the selections and thereby shaped the nal product more than they may realize The anonymous reviewers of an earlier proposal for this book also provided unusually constructive criti cisms that were helpful in aSSembling the nal book As we all know those XVIII PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS who consent to write such reviews are only barely compensated and no amount of gratitude on our part will ever correct for that We are thankful that top scholars can still be found who will temporarily suspend the laws of rational action and altruistically provide us with their reactions We are also grateful for the expert market research carried out by Karl Yambert From the start we sought to develop a book that was carefully tai lored to meet the needs of graduate and undergraduate students and much of course rides on having done our market research right and properly iden ti ed what those needs are If we have at all succeeded in that task it is in large part because of the unstinting labor of Karl Finally it is tting to close by again thanking Steve Catalano not just for conceiving of the project but also and more importantly for his sage advice throughout the gestation period Like all good editors Steve showed con summate skill in coaxing out the sometimes recalcitrant product expertly administering painkillers as necessary eg advances on royalties and thereby making the process as tolerable as possible David B Grusky and Stonja Szel nyi Palo Alto California 2005


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