Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Social inequality is the giving of privileges and obligations to one group of people while denying them to another. Inequality theory is a system in which groups of people are divided into layers according to their relative power, prestige, and property. It is a way of ranking large groups of people into a hierarchy according to their relative privileges. Social inequality affects individuals' life chances, the way they see the world, and even the way they think. Every country in the world has inequality; some societies have greater inequality than others, but inequality theory states that inequality is universal. In addition, every country uses gender as a basis for its inequality. On the basis of gender, people are either allowed or denied the good things offered by their society. In no society is gender the sole basis for inequality, but the categories into which people are sorted and given different ...