Sociology | Introduction to Sociology
S100 | 3841 | Robinson
S100 Introduction to Sociology (3 CR)
3841 9:30-10:45 TR WH100
SYNOPSIS: This course will introduce you to the central
theoretical orientations, concepts, and methods of sociology.
Among the topics that we will cover over the course of the
semester are: the origin of popular beliefs and values, life in
utopian communities, sex role socialization, sources of strain
in family life, consequences of divorce, sexual preference, the
sociological basis of emotions, the sources and consequences of
class, racial and sex inequality, the process of
rationalization ("McDonaldization") of society, and crime and
the criminal justice system.
The overall aim of the course is to introduce a way of looking
at the world-a sociological perspective or framework with which
to ask meaningful questions about societies and their
organization. Four specific features of the course derive from
this broad goal. First, I assign only original scholarship by
sociologists, rather than a textbook, as readings for the
course. Reading original works by sociologists will give you
the best sense of how a sociologist would approach a particular
problem and work it through in terms of its origins, effects,
and broader implications. Second, to challenge the tendency to
view problems facing people in contemporary society as solely
the result of individual flaws and virtues, I will encourage
you to consider how social structural features of the society
(e.g., the organization of the economy, political systems, the
sexual division of labor) affect these problems. Third,
although the main focus of the course is on U.S. society,
materials on other societies will be introduced to show which
features of our society are unique to the United States and
which are common to all societies. Fourth, through in-class
exercises, surveys, and discussion, we will explore and become
more aware of our own assumptions about society.
We'll be reading the following books:
James Mannon. 1997. Measuring Up: The Performance Ethic in
American Culture. Westview Press.
William W. Zellner and William M. Kephart. 1998 (6th edition).
Extraordinary Groups: An Examination of Unconventional
Lifestyles. St. Martin's Press.
George Ritzer. 1996 (revised edition). The McDonaldization of
Society: An Investigation Into The Changing Character of
Contemporary Social Life. Pine Forge Press.
Nancy Davis and Robert Robinson (editors). 1996 (2nd edition).
Sociological Perspectives on American Society. Prentice Hall.