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Rigging the Game

How Inequality is Reproduced in Everyday Life

Second Edition

Michael Schwalbe

Publication Date - 31 December 2014

ISBN: 9780190216405

352 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

A clear and compelling introduction to how the rules that shape economic life and everyday interaction create and reproduce inequality in American society


In Rigging the Game Michael Schwalbe offers a clear and compelling introduction to how the rules that shape economic life and everyday interaction generate and perpetuate inequality in American society. Guided by the questions How did the situation get this way? and How does it stay this way?, Schwalbe tracks inequality from its roots to its regulation. With its lively combination of analysis and stories, Rigging the Game is an innovative tool for teaching about the inequalities of race, class, and gender. In the final chapter, "Escaping the Inequality Trap," Schwalbe helps students understand how inequality can be challenged and overcome.

New to this Edition

  • Updated facts and figures
  • Current discussions of privacy and the surveillance state, tax breaks and loopholes for the rich, new voter suppression and campaign finance laws, and the Occupy Wall Street movement
  • A new postscript to the fictional "Interview with Rania O" looks at the politics of climate change

About the Author(s)

Michael Schwalbe is Professor of Sociology at North Carolina State University. He is the author of Unlocking the Iron Cage: The Men's Movement, Gender Politics, and American Culture (1996), The Sociologically Examined Life: Pieces of the Conversation (2007), Manhood Acts: Gender and the Practices of Domination (2014), and other books.

Previous Publication Date(s)

October 2007


"I really like this book and I bet that students will love it. It's not overly theoretical, and it relies on real-world examples. That's a unique and desirable combination of features."--Matt Huffman, University of California, Irvine

"The use of stories is effective in illustrating the ideas of the book; stories draw students in and generate lively discussions in class. The discussion questions at the end of each story are spot on."--Deborah Safron, Michigan State University

"I like Schwalbe's inclusion of steps to action and positive social change. This will be good for students who might otherwise feel hopeless after realizing how entrenched and pervasive inequality is in our world."--Tennille Allen, Lewis University

Table of Contents

    Preface: Welcome to the Conversation
    Introduction: Thinking Sociologically About Inequality
    Chapter 1: The Roots of Inequality
    Chapter 2: Rigging the Game
    Chapter 3: The Valley of the Nine Families (a story)
    Chapter 4: Arresting the Imagination
    Chapter 5: Smoke Screen (a story)
    Chapter 6: Regulating the Action
    Chapter 7: Interview with Rania O (an account)
    Chapter 8: Escaping the Inequality Trap