Skip to ContentGo to accessibility pageKeyboard shortcuts menu
OpenStax Logo

Four images of people marching through the streets with signs and banners supporting their cause. Prominent in these images are signs reading “Born of an Immigrant,” “End Poverty Wages,” “This Girl Can,” and “Standing on the Side of Love/#Black Lives Matter”.
Figure 9.1 These images illustrate some examples of national and international movements against social inequalities. There have been movements in response to inequalities of race, class, and gender, among other characteristics. This chapter will discuss important concepts for the critical examination of inequalities. (credit: top left, “Million Women Rise 2019 - 04” by Garry Knight/flickr, Public Domain; top right, “March4Women 2018 - 08” by Garry Knight/flickr, Public Domain; bottom left, “Los Angeles March for Immigrant Rights” by Molly Adams/flickr, CC BY 2.0; bottom right, “Black Lives Matter Protest in South Minneapolis” by Fibonacci Blue/flickr, CC BY 2.0)

As a student, have you ever experienced social inequalities, whether based around your race, gender, sexuality, class, or abilities? In this chapter you’ll see definitions and examples of the ways social inequalities affect individuals and societies. Over the history of anthropology, the ways we identify and define social inequalities has constantly evolved. The ways social inequalities are experienced has also evolved. This chapter will provide an overview of the important concepts and levels of social inequalities, and then an examination of the experiences of individuals within groups and societies. From this, you can develop a framework for understanding the inequality in your own communities.

Order a print copy

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.


This book may not be used in the training of large language models or otherwise be ingested into large language models or generative AI offerings without OpenStax's permission.

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book uses the Creative Commons Attribution License and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at
Citation information

© Dec 20, 2023 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License . The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.