Sociology (SOCI) 381

The Sociology of Power and Inequality (Revision 1)

SOCI 381 course cover

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: None. SOCI 287 or SOCI 288 is strongly recommended.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Sociology Studies home page

SOCI 381 has a Challenge for Credit option.


SOCI 381 examines ways in which different forms of social organization work to empower members of some social groups and disadvantage others, in systematic and regular ways, and examines a wide range of kinds of power — economic, political, sexual, cultural — in a variety of social and historical settings. Power is not something abstract and distant. In one guise or another, it permeates all human relationships and shapes who we are as individuals, and what we can become as social beings.

Although you will discuss the inequities of contemporary Canadian class structure and learn about the Irvings of New Brunswick and who's who in the Canadian political elite, you will also encounter feudal lords, communist bureaucrats, and a Black feminist who asks sharp questions about race and gender. You will be asked to produce your driver's licence and credit cards and to analyse what they reveal about modern forms of identity and power. SOCI 381 examines the unequal shaping of our social identities.


  • Unit 1: Social Stratification: An Introduction
  • Unit 2: Worlds Apart: “Traditional” and “Modernity”—Changing Contexts for Stratification
  • Unit 3: Those Who Pray, Those Who Fight, Those Who Work: Stratification in Feudal Europe
  • Unit 4: Classical Sociologies and Modern Inequalities
  • Unit 5: Class in Canada Today
  • Unit 6: Authoritative Resources: Bringing the State Back In
  • Unit 7: Difference and Disadvantage: Sex and Gender
  • Unit 8: Distinct Societies? A Perspective on Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality


To receive credit for SOCI 381, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least "D" (50 percent) and a grade of at least 60 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

3 Quizzes (5% each) Midterm Exam Essay Final Exam Total
15% 25% 30% 30% 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Grabb, Edward C. 2007. Theories of Social Inequality. 5th ed. Toronto: Harcourt Canada.

Sayer, Derek. 1991. Capitalism and Modernity: An Excursus on Marx and Weber. New York: Routledge.

Other Material

The course materials include a study guide, a student manual, and a book of readings.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the SOCI 381 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “C-” (60 percent) on the challenge examination. The two parts of the exam must be written on the same day.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1.