The Living Wage Project

Beginning in the Spring of 2015, my Sociology 311 (Social Problems) class began a Living Wage Project for the University of Mississippi. The Living Wage Project has multiple purposes. The pedagogical goals center on helping students better understand Joel Best’s six-stage social problems cycle through an in-depth, applied claimsmaking project. Studying other living wage campaigns, and the claims that structure them, helps students see what separates successful claims for a living wage from unsuccessful claims.

In addition, the project has a broader set of goals that includes effecting change in the lives of students and the communities they belong to. This entails advocating for a living wage, but, more fundamentally, building democratic, “from below” organizations. In her commentary on living wage campaigns for Against the Current magazine, sociologist Stephanie Luce puts it plainly:

“The law itself is not the final outcome: living wage ordinances should only be seen as a step in a larger organizing project.”


Sociology 311 (Social Problems) aims, over the course of many semesters, to embrace the challenge of organizing students, faculty, and staff at the University of Mississippi to help build the kind of community we want to inhabit.

For more information about the Living Wage Project, please visit our website!


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