Ideal world or real world: Using Monopoly to teach social stratification

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John Paul
Richard A. Dodder
Kristine Hart


The instruction of social stratification can be a difficult subject to teach. In particular, one of the most challenging connections for students to make is the relationship between social class and life chances. Students new to the subject commonly equate an individual's class position to their work ethic and/or moral standing. Here we revisit the board game, Monopoly, in an attempt to make students more aware of the structural impacts on social class. Student groups, separated by monetary, property and power allotments, compete against one another in order to become the wealthiest group within the game. Game play scenarios and student reactions are offered to this version of monopoly. Such reactions appear to provide support for the application of the game as a teaching tool.

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