Graphic: Human figures under a magnifying glass.

“The first wisdom of sociology is this:

Things are not what they seem.”

—Peter Berger


This course provides an introduction to the field of sociology, its major questions and issues, theoretical perspectives, methodologies, and many of the major subject areas within the field. The central questions guiding the format of this course have to do with the nature of the relationship between the individual and society. How does society construct the individual? How do individuals construct society? How does the dynamic tension between individual agency and societal constraint play itself out? These three questions outline the three main sections of the course. Lectures, readings, discussions, assignments, and exams will be organized with the intent of addressing each question.

Topics Covered:

  • The Field of Sociology
  • Symbolic Interactionist Theory
  • Self and Identity
  • Socialization and Advertising
  • Impression Management
  • The Construction of “Other”
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Seminar Discussion: Ain’t No Makin’ It
  • Structural Functionalist Theory
  • Group Structure and Bureaucracy
  • Group Process
  • Cultural Forms and Cultural Lag
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Conflict Theory
  • A Conflict Perspective on the News Media
  • Social Stratification and Power
  • Deviance and Social Control
  • The Sociological Imagination

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