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Rigging the Game

How Inequality Is Reproduced in Everyday Life

Michael Schwalbe

Publication Date - October 2007

ISBN: 9780195333008

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

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $34.95

A brief, accessible introduction to the study of inequality in American society


In Rigging the Game--a brief, accessible introduction to the study of inequality in American society--Michael Schwalbe investigates how inequality is both created and reproduced. 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. In the final chapter, "Escaping the Inequality Trap," he also shows how inequality can be overcome. Throughout, Schwalbe's engaging writing style draws students into the material, providing instructors with a solid foundation for discussing this challenging and provocative subject.

With its lively combination of incisive analysis and compelling fictional narratives, Rigging the Game is an innovative teaching tool--not only for courses on stratification, but also for social problems courses, introductory sociology courses, and any course that takes a close look at how the inequalities of race, class, and gender are perpetuated.

About the Author(s)

Michael Schwalbe is a professor of sociology at North Carolina State University. He is author of Unlocking the Iron Cage: The Men's Movement, Gender Politics, and American Culture (1996), Remembering Reet and Shine: Two Black Men, One Struggle (2004), and The Sociologically Examined Life, Fourth Edition (2008).


"Having taught sociology for 25 years, I have found few books as exciting and inspiring as Michael Schwalbe's pedagogic tour de force, Rigging the Game. The astonishing chapter 7 fictional "Interview with Rania O," especially, may well be the single at once most brilliantly conceived and artfully accessible expression of sociological imagination I have ever read."--Bruce Luske, Marist College

"Schwalbe's writing is crisp and clear. Throughout the text he provides concrete examples to illustrate concepts and theories. His analysis of how social inequality is perpetuated will make social stratification understandable and help students visualize how oppression is part of everyday life."--Carolyn E. Gross, Lynchburg College

"This text anticipates many of the questions that students raise (or silently wonder about) in a first course on inequality, and it answers these questions convincingly. This is a real teaching text."--Martin Eisenberg, Queens College

"I especially love the last chapter, with Schwalbe's hopeful conclusions and community-oriented approach. This is precisely what students need to learn to co-create the alternative institutions necessary to propel us forward into the emerging global multicultural millennium. I found this to be an engaging and insightful read, so much so that I will be pleased to incorporate it into my classes."--Holly Denning, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

"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

Table of Contents

    Introduction: Thinking Sociologically About Inequality
    Chapter One: The Roots of Inequality
    Chapter Two: Rigging the Game
    Chapter Three: The Valley of the Nine Families (a story)
    Chapter Four: Arresting the Imagination
    Chapter Five: Smoke Screen (a story)
    Chapter Six: Regulating the Action
    Chapter Seven: Interview with Rania O (an account)
    Chapter Eight: Escaping the Inequality Trap
    Name Index
    Subject Index