Social Classes and Social Structures


1. Knowledge and understanding of the fundamental sociological concepts related to the social structure of classes and their historicity – put forward by the classic and contemporary authors; 2. Ability to use these concepts to analyze and problematize modern world’s structures and inequalities and Portuguese society´s in particular –, and in a way leading to possibilities for future empirical research; 3. Ability to use these concepts to produce scientifically consistent arguments about modern world’s structures and inequalities; 4. Ability to communicate on the sociological theory the learned results of carried out analyses and problematization in a meaningful and accurate way; 5. Ability to reflect on the relation between common and scientific meanings of structures, relations, objects and social actions, and to apply it in the analysis of contemporary societies.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

João Afonso de Bivar Sedas Nunes


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language



Available soon


Bourdieu, P. (1979), La Distinction: critique sociale du jugement. Paris: Minuit.
Estanque, E. & MENDES, J.M. (1997). Classes e desigualdades sociais em Portugal: Um estudo comparativo. Porto: Afrontamento.
Giddens, A. (1975). A Estrutura de classes das sociedades avançadas. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar.
Hall, J. R. (ed) (1997). Reworking class. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Marshall, G., Switf, A. & Roberts, S. (2002). Against the odds. Social class and social justice in industrial societies. Oxford: Clarendon.
Marx, K. & Engels, F. (1976), A ideologia alemã, I. Lisboa: Presença.
Queirós, M.C. (2005). Classes, identidades e transformações sociais: Para ler as evoluções da estrutura social portuguesa. Porto: Campo das Letras.
Thompson, E.P. (1988). La formation de la classe ouvrière anglaise. Paris: Gallimard e Seuil.
Weber, M. (1984). Economía y sociedad. Ciudad de México: Fondo de Cultura Económica.
Wesolowski, W. (1977). Classes, estratos e poder. Amadora: Novo Curso.

Teaching method

Teaching method: Theoretical classes present the contents articulating them with socially recognized issues and problems. Lectures in the syllabus topics feed on issues worked upon by national and foreign research on this area: classes, structures and social inequalities, aiming at questioning rather than at socially produced truths, and motivating the audience to put questions along the lectured problematic axes. Practical classes consist of the discussion of papers, scenarios, charts and images, which contribute to the development of theoretical and methodological questioning. 

Evaluation method

Método de avaliação - one written essay based on syllabus readings(40%), one literature-based group oral presentation (20%), one written text in class on the whole syllabus matters(40%)

Subject matter

1. From the constitution of political modernity to the autonomization of the question and of the questioning of social inequality. 2. From the political, social and economic revolutions to the recognition of the autonomy of its social explanations: from the French revolution to the industrial revolution 3. General introduction to the problematic of inequality: from the contribution of economists to that of historians – 17th to 20th centuries 4. The theoretical formulations of Marx and Weber 5. Contemporary reformulations of class theories 6. Justice, classes and social inequalities


Programs where the course is taught: