Sociology | Social Theory (3 CR)
S340 | 13423 | Bowman
9:05AM-9:55AM MWF SE 245
Social theorists ask big questions: What keeps societies together?
What produces conflict? What shapes human action and decision
making? How and why do societies change? Why does inequality
exist? What are the social origins of power? In forming answers to
questions such as these, theorists provide frameworks—called social
theories—for understanding the social world in which we live. In
this course, we will examine the major social theories that
constitute the discipline of sociology. We begin with classical
theory, reading the works of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. Then we
turn to modern and contemporary schools of thought such as
structural-functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interactionism,
rational choice theory, postmodernism, and identity-based theories.
In our investigation, we will be reading and discussing primary
texts, secondary analyses, and empirical applications of these
social theories. Through written assignments and class discussions,
we will consider whether or not the ideas provided by social
theorists are relevant in today’s society and in our own lives. We
will, therefore, be critically engaging with social theories by
asking questions, investigating shortcomings, and contesting ideas.
In so doing, we will develop skills that are highly valued in
today’s social world.