Social Classes and Stratification

Academic year
Subject Area
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

Some knowledge on sociology is required, both epistemological an theoretical. We suggest the previous frequency of disciplines in the 1st school year of this course.

Teaching Methods

We will privilege two different dimensions, the first is based on theoretical presentation and clarification of the main conceptual skills, the second includes the active intervention of the students in each session, according to the material under analysis.

Learning Outcomes

Overall objectives:
This course approaches issues of social inequalities from the point of view of the sociology of social classes and social stratification theories. Weberianism and Marxism will be the main sociological currents of inspiration from which we depart in order to discuss other current debates on this phenomenon. All this topics will deal with nowadays tendencies in the context of the economic crisis and taking account of its impacts on societies and their main socioeconomic structures.

Specific objectives:
Stimulate the capacities of understanding the sociological nature of the processes of structuring social inequalities.

Generic competencies:
To have some skills in sociological knowledge

Specific competencies:
Have been frequenting disciplines like sociological theories and introduction to sociology.

Work Placement(s)



• Karl Marx and his vision of capitalism; the Marxist concept of “social class”;

• Max Weber: class, status and parties (prestige, health and power);

• Social stratification theory (Davies & Moore) and class analysis (E. Olin Wright);

• The concept of social mobility; typologies and processes;

• Theory of social reproduction (P. Bourdieu); mobility and structural change;

• Meritocracy: its potentialities and limits in Portugal.

Head Lecturer(s)

Rahul Mahendra Kumar

Assessment Methods

Oral presentation and discussion of a text and the realization of a reading abstract: 40.0%
The completion of the final examination: 60.0%


BOURDIEU, Pierre - A distinção : uma crítica social da faculdade do juízo. Lisboa : Edições 70, 2010. [BP 316.7 BOU]

DAHRENDORF, Ralf - As classes e seus conflitos na sociedade industrial. Brasília : Universidade de Brasília, 1982. [BP 316.3 DAH]

DESIGUALDADES sociais 2010 : estudos e indicadores. Org. Renato Miguel do Carmo. Lisboa : Editora Mundos Sociais, 2010. p. 191-206. [BP 304 DES]

ESTANQUE, Elísio - A classe média : ascensão e declínio. Lisboa : Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos, 2012. [BP 316.4 EST]

WRIGHT, Erik Olin - Classes. London : Verso, 1985. [BP 316.3 WRI]