Playing Monopoly as a Strategy for Teaching Sociological Ideas on Class Inequality


Justice and Society Studies



Document Type



classes, strateification, mobility, social inequality, sociology, methodology, pedagogy, simulation, sociological imagination


Using the Parker Brothers Monopoly game to teach sociological concepts and perspectives on class inequality encourages active learning while avoiding some of the pitfalls associated with game simulations. We propose a three-fold strategy of planning, playing, and debriefing that includes students as active partners in their own learning. Student reactions to this critical twist on a childhood board game are overwhelmingly positive. Instructor strategies for incorporating the board game experience into lecture, student facilitated discussion, and out of class writing are proposed. We also present ideas for streamlining this exercise for instructors needing to limit the use of class time, and discuss pitfalls to avoid based on our decade of experience with this exercise. Finally, we present assessment data supporting our position that student learning is enhanced.

Published in

Sociological Imagination

Citation/Other Information

Waldner, Lisa K. and William J. Kinney. 2004. “Playing Monopoly as a Strategy for Teaching Sociological Ideas on Class Inequality.” Sociological Imagination 40(2): 111-130.

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