Three students talking in class.

SOC 331: Sociology of Wealth & Poverty

Instructor: Dr. Erin Hatton


In this course we examine the issues of wealth and poverty from a variety of angles. We begin with the most basic questions: Why should we study poverty? Why should we study wealth? What do poverty and wealth mean for you and me? Then we turn to an in-depth examination of the nature and extent of wealth and poverty in the United States, answering such questions as: What is poverty? What is wealth? How are they defined and measured? Who is poor, and what are the causes and consequences of poverty? Who is rich, and what are the causes and consequences of wealth? What is the experience of being poor or rich in America? In doing so, we examine a number of issues related to poverty and wealth, including education, segregation, race, and gender. Finally, we examine potential solutions to some of the issues surrounding poverty, including social movements and anti-poverty policies.

About the Instructor

Erin Hatton is an associate professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo. Her research is centered in the sociology of work, while also extending into the fields of social inequality, cultural sociology, labor, law, and social policy. Her first book, "The Temp Economy: From Kelly Girls to Permatemps in Postwar America" (Temple University Press, 2011), weaves together gender, race, class, and work in a cultural analysis of the temporary help industry and rise of the new economy. Her current book project, "Between Work and Slavery: Coerced Labor at the Boundaries of American Citizenship", analyzes four groups of workers at the borders of exclusionary citizenship in the U.S.: prisoners, welfare recipients, college athletes, and graduate students.

Last updated: October 23, 2017 3:45 pm EST