NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ889671
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-0092-055X
The Bottom Line: An Exercise to Help Students Understand How Social Inequality Is Actively Constructed
Abelev, Melissa; Vincent, M. Bess; Haney, Timothy J.
Teaching Sociology, v36 n2 p150-160 Apr 2008
One of the important misconceptions in the American view of poverty is that people are poor because they do not work. This article presents an exercise, the "bottom line," which helps dispel students' misconceptions about the working poor. Through extensive primary-data collection and assembling a budget for low-skilled workers, the exercise: (1) challenges students' current thinking about concepts they hear every day such as the "American dream" and "equal opportunity"; (2) provides insight into the everyday challenges of the working poor; and (3) helps students gain a better understanding of government programs targeted to the poor. The exercise is particularly helpful because challenging equal opportunity goes against strongly held beliefs. This activity is useful because it puts students in the position of discovering for themselves the structure of stratification. A second strength is that, in addition to reading key theory and research, supported by lecture material and class discussion, it completes a holistic view of differing learning styles for students. (Contains 3 tables and 1 footnote.)
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A