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Identity, Difference and Inequality

Code: 105808 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2500000 Sociocultural Gender Studies OB 2 1


Maria Emilia Aiello

Teaching groups languages

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Maria Emilia Aiello



Objectives and Contextualisation

Course objectives

The objective of the Course Identity, Difference and Inequality is to offer an in-depth approach the perspective of analysis based on the assertion of the existence of a shared and diverse humanity.

In different human societies different social identities are developed based on a combination of attributed and achieved characteristics. Frequently, these diverse identities become inequalities and are organized according to forms of stratification, the most obvious examples being social class, gender, and race. These and other characteristics determine the position of people in the system of social stratification and, in turn, reflect privileges and restrictions on access to limited resources. The extent to which people's position in the stratification system determines their life opportunities, including income, education, access to employment, and health, depends, among other things, on the system of social inequality and on the concentration of privileges combined with open or closed stratification systems.

This course is divided into two blocks. The first block, Anthropology, will analyse the processes in which differences become inequalities, their main areas of study and some of their applications in the contemporary world. It is about ethnographically illustrating human cultural diversity, discussing concepts and theoretical explanations about it, addressing some texts by key authors -both classical and contemporary- and critically  reflecting on identity, identities, the scientific study of sociocultural differences and the construction of inequality, as well as developing critical perspectives to build an egalitarian coexistence. It also aims to approach a way of looking at and analysing the world in a way that is respectful of different cultures and societies.

The second block, Sociology, will analyse the foundation, emergence, reproduction, and consequences of social stratificationand social inequality, based on different sociological theories and a variety of empirical studies to provide information about the system of social stratification in Europe and Spain, always maintaining, transversally, a gender approach.


  • Express correctly and in a non-sexist or homophobic manner both orally and in writing.
  • Formulate, argue and discuss your own and others' ideas in a respectful, critical and reasoned way.
  • Incorporate the non-androcentric perspective in the work carried out.
  • Interpret and explain the history of gender relations, the significance of differences and the processes of generating inequalities in a context of globalization. 
  • Interpret gender inequalities in relation to sexuality, class, ethnicity and territory based on the concepts and approaches of sociocultural analysis. 
  • Proposing corrective actions of the violences tha ttrigger the types and degrees of discrimination on the basis of sex, gender and sexual orientation.
  • Students can apply the knowledge to their own work or vocation in a professional manner and have the powers generally demonstrated by preparing and defending arguments and solving problems within their area of study.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills in order to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyze theoretically ethnographic examples of cultural diversity in the fields of education, gender and inclusion-exclusion systems.
  2. Compare the different theoretical approaches on the social structure with a gender perspective.
  3. Define the concepts necessary to understand the social structure in terms of gender.
  4. Distinguish the effects of the sex and gender variables in the empirical analyzes.
  5. Identify situations of gender inequality in different areas (legal, labor, educational, family) and provide proposals for action to combat them.
  6. Identify the mechanisms of gender inequality and its reproduction in non-western societies.
  7. Identify the transcultural variability of the economic, kinship, political, symbolic and cognitive, educational and gender systems, and the anthropological theory to which they refer.
  8. Make an inclusive use of language.
  9. Prepare an organized and correct speech, orally and in writing, in the corresponding language.
  10. Relate the most current debates around the different gender approaches with the social and historical context in which they arise.
  11. Students can apply the knowledge to their own work or vocation in a professional manner and have the powers generally demonstrated by preparing and defending arguments and solving problems within their area of study.
  12. Students must develop the necessary learning skills in order to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
  13. Use the specific technical vocabulary and own interpretation of the required disciplines.


The course Identity, Difference and Inequality constitutes the deepening of the study of human sociocultural variability, from a comparative perspective. Throughout the semester we delve into the concepts of identity, difference and inequality: where they arise from, how they become the main field of study of Anthropology and Sociology, and how they can be perceived through analytical tools, research and transfer.

Through the study of ethnographic cases that illustrate cultural diversity, the analysis of recent empirical data attesting to theories of inequality and with the support of reading materials, audio-visuals and guest speakers, students will achieve an in-depth look at these two approaches, the anthropological and the sociological.


Topic 1: Social organization of difference and inequality

-       Difference and inequality: an inevitable connection?

-       Theories of social stratification

-       Power, conflict and oppression in society

-       Inequality structures

-       How is inequality measured?

-       Class inequality

-       Gender inequality

-       Ethnic-racial inequality

-       Intersectional perspective of oppression and inequality

-       Consequences of inequality: Poverty, exclusion and related concepts

Topic 2 From theory to practice: inequality analysis through empirical data

-       Sources of statistical data (validity, relevance and adequacy)

-       Qualitative sources

-       Bridges between theory and practice in the analysis of inequality



Topic 1. The concept of person: us and others

-       Definitions over the concept of person

-       The concept of otherness in Western history

-       Emic / ethical perspective

-       Performativity

-       The influence of sex and sexuality on the concept of person

Topic 2. Identity

-       Acquisition of identity: birth, the beginning of life

-      Preservation and loss of identity

-       Loss of identity: individual death and social death

Topic 3:Normalities and abnormalities: the pathologisation of differences

-       Normalities and abnormalities

-       Sexual diversity

-       Diverse functionalities

-       Family diversity

-       Diverse bodies: Techniques for "improving" the body         



- All training activities are scheduled and the evaluation exercises have a deadline that must be met strictly, according to the proposed schedule.

- Students’ work consists mainly of the research and analysis of information, the fulfilment of the planned readings, the development and delivery (sending via virtual campus) of the corresponding exercises and comments and the participation in the guided debates.

- The readings are also part of the syllabus assessed through the exam

- The different exercises will be returned corrected with comments and guidelines for reformulation, if deemed necessary, and for the next exercise.

- The student must keep in mind that the Moodle is the space through which fundamental information of the subject is notified (tutorial schedules, changes of dates in the activities or scheduled deliveries, various incidents, news, etc. ). Therefore, it is the responsibility of the students to be attentive to the news and information that is posted.

- The communication will be done through Moodle. In cases of urgency, it is suggested to resort to communication via email.

Office hours

- Emilia Aiello (Sociology): Office hours will take place on Mondays between 11am and 1pm, at the GEDIME Office (Faculty of Sociology and Political Science) -Building B. UAB Campus-. Office B3-117-B. They can be scheduled at a non-established time by sending an email to emilia.aiello@uab.cat

- Anthropology BLOCK: The place and time of the office hours will be determined at the beginning of the course.

It is suggested to carry out at least one individual tutorial during the first month of the subject.



Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Discussion seminars about the compulsory readings 10 0.4
Lectures and practice 40 1.6
Readings 15 0.6
Readings and written essays 20 0.8
Type: Supervised      
Individual and grupal tutorials 2.5 0.1
Type: Autonomous      
Study and personal work 20 0.8


Section 1. Sociology


Activity 1: Empiric research (30%)

Throughout the sociology block, students will be accompanied in the development of a small group research project on inequalities, from a set of pre-defined topics. This activity will be presented in class at the end of the course. 

Activity 2: Exam (20%) 

Individual written test, in class, on the content of the sessions, including compulsory readings.



Section 2. Antropology 

At the beginning of the course, the evaluation rubrics will be provided through Moodle, as well as the dates of the evaluation activities.

Activity 3: Essay (30%)

Delivery of a 500-word comment relating 3 of the 8 must-read texts to a free press release.

Activity 4: Exam (20%) 

Individual written test, in class, on the content of the sessions, including compulsory readings, presentations and related viewings.


Assessment rules

 -       To approve the course you will need to obtain a minimum grade of 5.0 as an average grade resulting from the marks obtained in each of the activities, considering the percentage of each of them in the final grade.

-       Once the course has been approved, you cannot apply for a new assessment.

-       Those who, due to attending meetings of the collegiate bodies of university representation or other reasons provided for in their respective regulations, could not attend any of the scheduled evaluation activities, have the right to be scheduled one day and different time for the assessment activity

-       Those who participate in the different evaluation activities and need it, will receive a documentary justification of this participation 

-       In the event that any irregularity is committed that could lead to a significant variation in the qualification of an evaluation act, this will be classified as 0, regardless of the disciplinary process that may be instructed. In the event of several irregularities in the evaluation acts of the same subject, the final grade for this subject will be 0.

-       The disciplinary process due to copy or plagiarism, as much in the case of the works as in the case of the examinations, implies a 0 (zero) in the assessment activity, the loss of the right to re-evaluation and the student will fail the course. Remember that a work that reproduces all or part of the work of another classmate is considered a "copy". "Plagiarism" means presenting all or part of a text by an author as one's own, without citing the sources, either on paper or in digital format. See UAB documentation on “plagiarism” at: http://wuster.uab.es/web_argumenta_obert/unit_20/sot_2_01.html. 

-       The delivery period for each activity will be provided at the beginning of the course. Any activity not delivered within the established period will be considered as not delivered.

-       At the time of carrying out each evaluation activity, the teacher will inform the students through Moodle of the procedure and date of grades revision. 

-       The student will receive the grade of "Not assessable" if he or she has not delivered more than 30% of the assessment activities.


The students who can ask for re-evaluation are those who had an average grade of 3,5 in the 4 (four) assessment activities. 

Re-evaluation will consist of a single test andwill take place on the day, time and place established by the Faculty. It will only be necessary to re-evaluate the part of the course in which the final grade is less than 5.

The grade achieved in the re-evaluation will be the final grade of the course



• A reflective individual work on readings and the contents of the subject (40% of the overall mark of the subject)

• Oral presentation and discussion with reflections on mandatory readings (20% of the grade)

• Test exam (40% of the overall mark)

Handing in the work, taking the exam and oral presentations will take place on a single date indicated in the subject program, accessible from the virtual campus

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Anhropology: Comments about compulsory readings (8) and guest speakers (4) 30% 11 0.44 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 8, 6, 7, 5, 12, 11, 10, 13
Anthropology Exam 20% 10 0.4 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 8, 6, 7, 5, 12, 11, 10, 13
Sociology Exam 20% 10 0.4 2, 3, 4, 9, 8, 6, 5, 12, 11, 10, 13
Sociology: empirical research 30% 11.5 0.46 2, 3, 4, 9, 8, 6, 5, 12, 11, 10, 13


General bibliography for Sociology Block

(Mandatory readings will be distributed in the beginning of the semester, by topic and class)

Addams, J. (2014) El largo camino de la memoria de las mujeres. Prensas de la Universidad de Zaragoza. ISBN 10: 8416028664 / ISBN 13: 9788416028665

Aiello, E., & Sorde-Marti, T. (2021). Capturing the Impact of Public Narrative: Methodological Challenges Encountered and Opportunities Opened. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 20. 

Aiello, E., Amador-López, J., Munté-Pascual, A., & Sordé-Martí, T. (2019). Grassroots Roma Women Organizing for Social Change: A Study of the Impact of ‘Roma Women Student Gatherings’. Sustainability, Vol 11, no. 15: 4054.

Álvarez-Sousa, Antonio. (1994) Estructura social. Desigualdad y movilidad social en España, Tórculo Edicions

Bauman, Zygmunt. (2013). Identity: Conversations with Benedetto Vecchi. John Wiley & Sons.

Beck, U. ( 1992). Risk society: Towards a new modernity. London, UK: SAGE.

Becker, Howard. (1963). Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. New York, NY: The Free Press.

Beck-Gernsheim, E.; Butler. J., & Puigvert, L. (2003). Women and Social Transformation.

Beltrán, Miguel. (2004) La estructura social, Ariel Sociología, Madrid

Berger, P. & Luckman, T. (1988) La construcción social de la realidad. Barcelona: Herder. ISBN : 84-254-1628-0

Bourdieu, Pierre. (2000) [1987]. ¿Cómo se hace una clase social? Sobre la existencia teórica y práctica de los grupos. Poder, derecho y clases sociales, Bilbao: Desclée (Cap. 3, pp. 101-129).

Brubaker, Rogers & Cooper, Frederick. (2000). Beyond Identity. Theory and Society, 29, 1-47.

Burawoy, M. (2005). For PublicSociology. American Sociological Review, 70(1), 4–28. https://doi.org/10.1177/000312240507000102

Carastathis, A. (2014). The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist Theory. Philosophy Compass. Vol. 9(5): 315-324.

Connell, R. (2012). Masculinity Research and Global Change. Masculinities and Social Change, 1(1), 4­-18. doi: 10.4471/MCS.2012.01 Disponible en: http://dx.doi.org/10.4471/MCS.2012.01

Cooper,  A. J. (2017) A Voice from the South: By a Black Woman of the South. University of North Carolina Press, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library

Dahrendorf, Ralf. 2014 [1959]. Class and Class Structure in Industrial Society. Stanford University Press

Denzin, N.K. , & Lincoln, Y.S. ( 1998). Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

EAPN-España. El Estados de la pobreza. Seguimiento del indicador de pobreza y exclusión social en España 2008-2017.

Eisler, R., Elster, J., & Inglehart, R. (Eds.) (2003). Reflexiones sobre la investigación en ciencias sociales y estudios políticos.Memorias Seminario Octubre 2002. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Flecha, A. & Puigvert, L. (2010). Contributions to social theory from dialogic feminism: giving a voice to all women, Examining Social Theory, Daniel Ethan Chapman (ed.), p. 161-175, New York: Peter Lang. Disponible en el moodle de la asignatura.

Flecha, R. (2000). Sharing words. Theory and practice of dialogic learning. Lanham, M.D: Rowman & Littlefield.

Flecha, R., & Soler, M. (2014). Communicative Methodology: Successful actions and dialogic democracy. Current Sociology62(2), 232–242. doi: 10.1177/0011392113515141

Flecha, R., Gómez, J., & Puigvert, L. (2001). Teoría sociológica contemporánea. Barcelona: Paidós.

Flecha, R., Gómez, J., & Puigvert, L. (2003). Contemporary sociological theory. New York: Peter Lang.

Fundación FOESSA (2019) VIII Informe sobre exclusión y desarrollo social en España. Madrid.

Fung, A. , & Wright, E.O. ( 2003). Deepening democracy: Institutional innovations in empowered participatory governance. London, UK: Verso.

Ganz, M. (2009). Why David sometimes wins. Strategy, leadership and The California Agricultural Movement. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Giddens, Anthony (1991). Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Stanford university press.

Goffman, Erving. (1956). La presentación de la persona en la vida cotidiana. Amorrortu Editores. Buenos Aires.

Goffman, Erving. (1963). Estigma e identidad social. En Estigma. La identidad deteriorada (pp. 11-55). Buenos Aires: Amorrortu.

Goldthorpe, John  (2012) De vuelta a la clase y el estatus: por qué debe reivindicarse una perspectiva sociológica de la desigualdad social. Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas, nº 137, enero-marzo 2012, pp.43-58.

Göle, N. (1996) Musulmanas y modernas : velo y civilización en Turquía. Espainiera-Madrid: Talasa.

Gómez, A., Puigvert, L., & Flecha, R. (2011). Critical Communicative Methodology: Informing Real Social Transformation through Research, Qualitative Inquiry, 17(3), 235-245.

Gómez, J. ( 2004). El amor en la sociedad del riesgo [Love in risk society] . Barcelona, Spain: Hipatia.

Gómez, J.; Vargas, J. Why Roma do not like mainstream schools: Voices of a people without territory. Harv. Educ. Rev. 2003, 73, 559–590.

Grusky, David (ed.) (1994). Social Stratification. Class, race and gender in sociological perspective. Boulder, Co.: Westview.

Habermas, J. (1984). The Theory of Communicative Action. Boston: Beacon Press.

Hill Collins, P. (2017). La diferencia que crea el poder: interseccionalidad y profundización democrática. Investigaciones Feministas8(1), 19-39. https://doi.org/10.5209/INFE.54888

Hooks, Bell. (1990). Reflections on race and sex. En Yearning: Race, Gender and Cultural Politics. South End Press

Jenkins, Richard (2014). Social identity. Routledge.

Juliano, Dolores (2004). Excluidas y marginales. Cátedra. Madrid

Kohli, Martin (2000). The battlegrounds of European identity. European societies, 2(2), 113-137.

Martínez, José Saturnino. (2012) Diferencia y desigualdad, en Estructura social y desigualdad en España, Madrid: Catarata, cap. 15‐42.

Mead, George Herbert (1934). Mind, Self and Society: From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviourist. Collected Works. Vol. 1

Merton, R. K. (2002) Teoría y estructura sociales. Fondo de Cultura Económica de España, S.L.

Mills, Charles. (1997) The racial contract. Cornell University Press. New York: Peter Lang.

Oprea, A. (2012). Romani Feminism in Reactionary Times. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 38(1), 11-21.

Parella Rubio, S. (2003). Mujer, inmigrante y trabajadora: la triple discriminación. Anthropos, Barcelona.

Pateman, Carole. (1988) The Sexual Contract. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.

Pulido, C., Redondo-Sama G., Sordé-Martí T., & Flecha, R. (2018). Social impact in social media: A new method to evaluate the social impact of research. PLoS ONE, 13(8): e0203117. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0203117

Sassen, Saskia. (2007). Unasociología de la globalización. Madrid, Katz.

Sen, A. (2007) Identidad y violencia: La ilusión del destino. Katz Editores.

Snow, David. A. (2001). Collective Identity and Expressive Forms. International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2212–2219. 

Soler-Gallart, M. Achieving Social Impact: Sociology in the Public Sphere; Springer: New York, NY, USA, 2017; ISBN 9783319602707

Sorde, T., Serradell, O., Puigvert, L., & Munte, a. (2014). Solidarity networks that challenge racialized discourses: The case of Romani immigrant women in Spain. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 21, 87–102. doi: 10.1177/1350506813510425

Sorde, T.; Mertens, D.M. Mixed methods research with groups at risk: New developments and key debates. Journal of Mixed Methods Research. 2014. 8, 207–211.

Sordé, T.; Serradell, O.; Puigvert, L.; Munté, A. Solidarity networks that challenge racialized discourses: The case of Romani immigrant women in Spain. Eur. J. Women’s Stud. 2013, 4, 87–102.

Touraine, A. (2013) ¿Podremos vivir juntos? Editorial: Fondo de Cultura Económica: México D.F.. México. ISBN: 9789681662226

Wright, E.O. ( 2010). Envisioning real utopias. London, UK: Verso.

Yuval-Davis, Nira. (2006). Intersectionality and Feminist Politics. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 13 (3), pp.193-209. 10.1177/1350506806065752. hal00571274f. Disponible en: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00571274/document


General Bibliography Anthropology

Bohannan, Paul. (1996). Para raros, nosotros: Introducción a la antropología cultural. Madrid: Ediciones Akal. 

Carrithers, Michael, Collins, Steven & Lukes, Steven (1985) (Eds.). The category of the person. Anthropology, philosophy, history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Foucault, Michele [1965] (2001). El nacimiento de la clínica. Madrid: Siglo XXI.

Kuper, Adam (1994). Culture, Identity and the Project of a Cosmopolitan Anthropology. Man, 29(3), new series, 537-554. doi:10.2307/2804342

Le Breton, David [1990] (2002). Antropología del Cuerpo y Modernidad. Buenos Aires: Nueva Vision.

Lewin, Ellen (2006). Feminist Anthropology. A Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.

Lock, Margaret, & Farquhar, Judith (2007). Beyond the body proper. Reading the anthropology of material life. London: Duke University Press. 

Moreras, Jordi (2019). Socio-antropología de la muerte: Nuevos enfoques en el estudio de la muerte. Tarragona: Publicacions URV. Disponible online: 

Robben, A. (Eds.) (2018). A Companion to the Anthropology of Death. New Jersey: Wiley Blackwell.

Sökefeld, Martin (1999). Debating Self, Identity, and Culture in AnthropologyCurrent Anthropology40:4, 417-448.

Mandatory bibliography for the Anthropology Block

Topic 1. The concept of person: us and others

Mauss, Marcel [1936] (1959). Sobre una categoría del espíritu humano: la noción de persona y la noción del 'yo'. En Sociología y Antropología (pp. 306-333). Madrid: Tecnos.

Hall, Stuart [1996] (2003). Introducción: ¿quién necesita identidad?. En Hall, Stuart y du Gay, Paul (Eds.), Cuestiones de identidad cultural (pp. 13-39). Buenos Aires: Amorrortu.

Topic 2: Identity

Kaufman, Sharon & Morgan, Lynne (2005). The Anthropology of the Beginnings and End of Life. Annual Review of Anthropology, 34, 317-341.

Topic 3: Normalities and abnormalities: the pathologisation of differences

Goffman, Erving (1963). Estigma e identidad social. En Estigma. La identidad deteriorada (pp. 11-55). Buenos Aires: Amorrortu.

Foucault, Michel [1974-1975] (2000). Clase 19 de marzo de 1975. En Los anormales (pp. 269-297).  Buenos Aires: FCE.


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