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The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality

Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality

Seventh Edition

Tracy E. Ore

Publication Date - April 2018

ISBN: 9780190647964

544 pages
7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $109.99

Now Published by Oxford: An engaging anthology on race, class, gender, and sexuality, with an explicit emphasis on the social construction of inequality


Now published by Oxford University Press--at a new, lower price--The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality, Seventh Edition, surveys how and why the categories of race, class, gender, and sexuality are constructed, maintained, experienced, and transformed. This popular anthology moves beyond simply discussing various forms of stratification and the impact on members of marginalized groups by providing a thorough discussion of how such systems of stratification are formed, perpetuated, and interconnected. Each reading ends with critical-thinking questions to help students relate content to their own lives and understand how their attitudes, actions, and perspectives may serve to perpetuate a stratified system.

New to this Edition

  • Fifteen new readings discussing issues of immigration and documentation, the growing racial wealth gap, social policy in the United States, and the impact of stereotypes held by case workers regarding poor women's reproductive decisions and relationships
  • Updated to include current statistics on economic conditions, issues of gender and sexuality, political and social discourse, and recent events in the U.S. and the world

About the Author(s)

Tracy E. Ore is Professor of Sociology at St. Cloud State University.


"I really like the way that The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality is organized because it provides students with a range of issues to contemplate and gives them a good basis for further in-depth discussion and research. Students really like this text because of its clarity and range of interesting articles."--Rosemary Shinko, American University

"This book is a foundational text for understanding the various constructions of identity and how we, as social participants, make sense of our interactions with other human beings. The conversations, concepts, stories, and writing are composed and arranged in a manner that allows students to gain insights that enhance classroom discussions."--Dominick N. Quinney, Albion College

"What I find effective in The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality is the author's centrality of categories of race, class, gender, and sexuality, and how they are socially constructed and transformed by such social institutions as the family, education, the economy, state, and the media. The author's ability to demonstrate how categories of difference are embedded in social institutions that maintain inequality is unique."--Hortencia Jimenez, Hartnell College

Table of Contents

    ** = New Reading


    Examining what categories are constructed, how this is done, and why such categories of difference are constructed.

    Race and Ethnicity
    1. Racial Formations, Michael Omi and Howard Winant
    2. Optional Ethnicities: For Whites Only?, Mary C. Waters
    ** 3. Learning to Be Illegal: Undocumented Youth and Shifting Legal Contexts in the Transition to Adulthood, Roberto G. Gonzales

    Social Class
    ** 4. The Racial Wealth Gap: Why Policy Matters, Laura Sullivan, Tatjana Meschede, Lars Dietrich, Thomas M. Shapiro, Amy Traub, Catherine Reutschlin, and Tamara Draut
    5. Media Magic: Making Class Invisible, Gregory Mantsios
    ** 6. What Trump Can and Can't Do to Immigrants, David Bacon

    Sex and Gender
    7. The Social Construction of Gender, Judith Lorber
    8. Square Pegs: Affronting Reason, Cheryl Chase
    9."Ain't I a Woman?": Transgender and Intersex Student Athletes in Women's Collegiate Sports, Pat Griffin

    10. Naming All the Parts, Kate Bornstein
    11. "If You Don't Kiss Me, You're Dumped": Boys, Boyfriends and Heterosexualised Masculinities in the Primary School, Emma Renold
    ** 12. What's So Cultural about Hookup Culture?, Lisa Wade

    Examining what elements of social structure work to maintain systems of stratification based on constructions of difference.

    Social Institutions: Family
    13. Why Won't African Americans Get (and Stay) Married? Why Should They?, Shirley A. Hill
    14. Families on the Fault Line: America's Working Class Speaks About the Family, the Economy, Race, and Ethnicity, Lillian B. Rubin
    ** 15. Illegality as a Source of Solidarity and Tension in Latino Families, Leisy J. Abrego
    ** 16. Marriage and Family: LGBT Individuals and Same-Sex Couples, Gary J. Gates

    Social Institutions: Education
    ** 17. The Racial Achievement Gap, Segregated Schools, and Segregated Neighborhoods: A Constitutional Insult, Richard Rothstein
    18. Civilize Them with a Stick, Mary Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes
    19. Missing in Interaction, Myra Sadker and David Sadker

    Social Institutions: Work and Economy
    ** 20. Black Men and the Struggle for Work: Social and Economic Barriers Persist, James M. Quane, William Julius Wilson, and Jackelyn Hwang
    21. Racializing the Glass Escalator: Reconsidering Men's Experiences with Women's Work, Adia Harvey Wingfield
    22. Stressing Out the Poor: Chronic Physiological Stress and the Income-Achievement Gap, Gary W. Evans, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, and Pamela Kato Klebanov

    Social Institutions: The State and Public Policy
    ** 23. Jezebel at the Welfare Office: How Racialized Stereotypes of Poor Women's Reproductive Decisions and Relationships Shape Policy Implementation, N. Tatiana Masters, Taryn P. Lindhorst, and Marcia K. Meyers
    24. Beyond Crime and Punishment: Prisons and Inequality, Bruce Western and Becky Pettit
    25. The Treacherous Triangle: Justice, Immigration Enforcement, and Child Welfare, Seth Freed Wessler

    Social Institutions: Media
    26. The Digital Reproduction of Inequality, Eszter Hargittai
    27. Winnebagos, Cherokees, Apaches, and Dakotas: The Persistence of Stereotyping of American Indians in American Advertising Brands, Debra Merskin
    28. The Prime-Time Plight of the Arab American after 9/11: Configuration of Race and Nation in TV Dramas, Evelyn Alsultany

    Language and Culture
    29. How the Right Made Racism Sound Fair--and Changed Immigration Politics, Gabriel Thompson
    30. Self, Identity, and the Naming Question: Reflections on the Language of Disability, Irving Kenneth Zola
    ** 31. The Florida State Seminoles: The Champions of Racist Mascots, Dave Zirin

    Violence and Social Control
    32. Climate of Fear, Southern Poverty Law Center
    ** 33. Ruling Out Rape, Lisa Wade, Brian Sweeney, Amelia Seraphia Derr, Michael A. Messner, and Carol Burke
    34. Cyberbullying, School Bullying, and Psychological Distress: A Regional Census of High School Students, Shari Kessel Schneider, Lydia O'Donnell, Ann Stueve, and Robert W. S. Coulter

    Examining the impact of constructions of difference and maintaining inequalities on members of society.

    35. Making Systems of Privilege Visible, Stephanie M. Wildman with Adrienne D. Davis
    ** 36. "You May Know Me From Such Roles as Terrorist #4", Jon Ronson
    37. A Dozen Demons, Ellis Cose
    38. The Story of My Body, Judith Ortiz Cofer
    39. Separated by Deportation, Tram Nguyen
    40. "Gee, You Don't Seem Like an Indian from the Reservation", Barbara Cameron
    ** 41. The Transgender Crucible, Sabrina Rubin Erdely
    42. Nickel-and-Dimed On (Not) Getting by In America, Barbara Ehrenreich
    43. Not Poor Enough, Susan Sheehan
    44. Learning to Fight, Geoffrey Canada

    Examining how people working within individual and institutional contexts transform difference from a system of inequality to a system of liberation.

    45. Toward a New Vision: Race, Class, and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection, Patricia Hill Collins
    46. Good for the 'Hood?, Anmol Chaddha
    47. Seeing More Than Black & White: Latinos, Racism, and the Cultural Divides, Elizabeth Martinez
    ** 48. Reform or Transformation? The Pivotal Role of Food Justice in the U.S. Food Movement, Eric Holt-Giménez and Yi Wang
    49. Voices of a New Movimiento, Roberto Lovato
    ** 50. The Next Civil Rights Movement?, Frederick C. Harris