Statistical evidence shows that upper middle class people live longer and healthier lives than the middle class
Reading: Scott, Janny (2005). “Life at the Top in America Isn’t Just Better, It’s Longer,” pp. 2750
in Class Matters, New
York: Times Books. (This Reading follows the instructions below).
Required Text: Marger, Martin. 2013. Social Inequality: Patterns and Processes (6th Edition).
Background on Reading: Statistical evidence shows that upper middle class people live longer and healthier lives than
the middle class, working class, and poor. To examine this issue on the micro level New York Times journalist Janny Scott
spent months in a hospital shadowing cardiologists who intervene immediately following patient heart attacks. Over time
she met many patients, some of whom were willing to have a reporter intrude in their lives. From this sample she picked
architect, a utility worker, and a housekeeper whose experiences before, during, and after their heart attacks
powerfully illustrate that class can be, literally, a matter of life and death.
Instructions: Use the reading “Life at the Top in America Isn’t Just Better, It’s Longer,” to examine how health outcomes are
not only about access to health care, but also about class differences in working conditions, stress, diet, neighborhood,
family structure, and other social and economic factors (such as race/ethnicity and gender). Please draw on examples
from the reading to illustrate your points and discuss sociologically how life chances are shaped not only by individual
“choice” but also by group membership. Additionally bring in relevant sociological concepts from Chapters 1 3
textbook into your discussion.
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