Stratification and inequality over the life course


Book Section

Social scientists have long been concerned with stratification and inequality in human societies. A comprehensive understanding of stratification and inequality implicitly requires a life course approach and much of the historical research on inequality has implicitly adopted a life course view. There have been major changes both within the field of stratification and outside this domain that have ultimately led to a more explicit and broader life course focus. Development includes the recognition that inequalities in health, educational attainment, earnings, and wealth are simultaneously the causes and consequences of stratification both within and between generations. This chapter discusses the expansion of stratification research in the 1960s and 1970s to include sex and race as predictors of socioeconomic differences. The emergence of a life course perspective in the 1980s and its explicit integration into stratification research coupled with the acquisition of longitudinal data that make life course research possible is shown. A conceptual diagram illustrates the complexities of researching stratification from a life course perspective and highlights the breadth of contemporary research investigating various components of this diagram. Recent research focuses on differentiating within-individual change across the individual life course from between-individual differences both within the life course and across birth cohorts and/or periods. Studies of inequality must continue to use and develop advanced statistical techniques designed to address life course research questions using longitudinal data. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lynch, SM; Brown, JS

Duke Editors

Published Date

  • December 1, 2011

Book Title

  • Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences

Start / End Page

  • 105 - 117

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780123808806

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/B978-0-12-380880-6.00008-3

Citation Source

  • Scopus