Power and Privilege

A Theory of Social Stratification

By Gerhard E. Lenski

525 pp., 6 x 9

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4119-8
    Published: April 1984
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-1110-5
    Published: April 2013

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Power and Privilege seeks to answer the central question of the field of social stratification: Who gets what and why? Using a dialectical view of the development of thought in the discipline, Gerhard Lenski describes the outlines of an emerging synthesis of theories. He shows that perspectives as diverse and contradictory as those of Marx, Spencer, Sumner, Veblen, Mosca, Pareto, Sorokin, Parsons, and Dahrendorf are parts of an evolving and systematic body of theory.

About the Author

Gerhard E. Lenski is Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is author of The Religious Factor: A Sociological Study of Religion's Impact on Politics and, with Jean Lenski, Human Societies.
For more information about Gerhard E. Lenski, visit the Author Page.


"A far-ranging and profound inquiry into the causes and effects of human inequality as well as into the foundations and consequences of political and economic power. . . . In a tour de force of sweeping scholarship Lenski guides us through the centuries to the most remote corners of the earth. . . . A masterpiece of comparative social analysis."--Heinz Eulau, American Political Science Review

"General explanations of those varieties of inequality which have decisive consequences for observable events are still in demand. But whoever embarks on the search will find Lenski's imaginative and substantial work an indispensable guide."--Ralf Dahrendorf, American Sociological Review