SOC 468 – Summer Course Description

Still thinking about summer courses but not sure what to take?

Check out SOC 468 and sign up today! Here is a letter from the instructor:

Hi sociology majors!

I am looking for more students to enroll in a new and exciting summer course on the topic of inequality in the workplace and labor market. Students who are interested in social inequalities or have taken a course on social stratification will be especially interested. Although this is a 400-level course, I do not require particular sociology prerequisites. As the quarter progresses, I will make an effort to illustrate how and why the course concepts are considered sociological. Also, I am willing to allow students who need W-credits to submit a final paper instead of taking the final exam. We can talk about what the paper might look like during the first week of class.

Course Description:

Have you ever wondered why Americans work so hard or why people work for pay at all? And what explains why some workers in low-paying service jobs seem content if not happy with their work and interactions with clients? And why are non-whites and women segregated in particular types of occupations and industries and why do they, on average, make less than their white and male counterparts?

In this course we will explore the sociology of work, occupations, and labor markets to answer these questions and more. We will focus on the way that social structures, such as states, business organizations, occupations/professions, and more affect workplace dynamics and workers’ life chances. Along the way we will encounter three different readings that will further shed light on these questions. The first explores the nature of “good” and “bad” jobs and how they came to be in the 21st century. The second presents an intimate and fascinating portrayal of luxury hotel workers, focusing on the strategies they use to find meaning in their work and how they rationalize working with extraordinarily demanding high-class clients. Our final text will take us to the blue collar world of Baltimore in the 1990s to critically examine why less-educated African American men fare worse in the local job market than their similarly situated white counterparts. By the end of the quarter you should be critical of modern working arrangements and realize that they are far from natural.

You can see a more detailed description of the course here. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at valgaav@uw.edu. Thanks for considering and I hope to see you in what should be an exciting summer quarter.

Best,

Brian

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