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Exploring Global Social Inequality using a Visual Resource
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global stratification
visual sociology
life chances

How to Cite

Core, Rachel. 2019. “Exploring Global Social Inequality Using a Visual Resource”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, April. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


This assignment allows students to explore inequality between households visually, using an on-line resource, with the goals of prompting students to understand global stratification and how material resources might influence life chances. Students are required to use the Gap Minder’s Dollar Street project (,...

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Subject Area(s):
Resource Type(s):
Class Level(s):
College 100
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

1. This assignment expands upon an "Applying the Sociological Imagination" exercise in George Ritzer’s Essentials of Sociology (2nd Edition). I developed the assignment for use in Introduction to Sociology; however, it might also be used in classes such as Visual Sociology or Sociology of Developing Societies. The included grading rubric is the one I use...

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Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Practice using thick description to articulate observations about the housing of two families.
  2. Compare the income of the two families to national indicators—e.g., average income and school enrollment—and consider the linkages between material resources and life chances.
  3. Relate findings to sociological theory on global stratification.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Students are prompted to write one paragraph each comparing one room in each of the households they have chosen.
  2. Students are prompted to compare family incomes to national indicators and to imagine how material resources affect life chances.
  3. Students are prompted to write a final paragraph placing their country within the global system by relating it to theory.

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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