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Introductory Sociology

by: Jaylen Abernathy

Introductory Sociology SC 001

Marketplace > Boston College > Sociology > SC 001 > Introductory Sociology
Jaylen Abernathy
GPA 3.73


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Class Notes
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jaylen Abernathy on Saturday October 3, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to SC 001 at Boston College taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see /class/218043/sc-001-boston-college in Sociology at Boston College.


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Date Created: 10/03/15
David Karp Department of Sociology Introduction to Sociology McGuinn 426 Spring 2008 Phone 5524137 karpbcedu INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY AS A CORE COURSE Because this introductory course ful lls one of the university39s core requirements in the social sciences it necessarily contains certain elements common to all university core courses Among these elements are the following 1 A concern with the perennial questions about human existence Virtually by definition an introduction to sociology deals with fundamental questions about what it means to be a human being living in a society at a given moment in history In this course we will confront such basic questions as What is the nature of human nature What is the place of biology and culture respectively in shaping human behavior Why do human beings commit themselves to a society Why do persons normally conform to the demands of society Do we have free will What is the basis for social order How does one become a functioning human being in society Why is there so much human con ict What are the forces that create group life and sometimes generate intolerance among groups What is the character of the social self What is the role of community in sustaining a personal sense of well being The purpose of our discussion will not be to answer definitively such questions but to suggest the way a sociological perspective approaches them 2 An attention to the role of historv in human affairs The view taken in this course is that one39s place in history shapes the kind of consciousness it is possible to have In this regard I do not see sociology as producing immutable quotlawsquot that transcend history and culture Rather the task is to understand how humans understanding of themselves and their societies shifts over time In fact sociology itself was a response to the transformations created by the industrial revolution in the nineteenth century We will therefore consider how such quotclassicalquot sociological theorists as Karl Marx Emile Durkheim and Max Weber considered the effects of society s transition from an agrarian to an urban order In this discussion as throughout the course we will consider how the strength of the quotsocial bondquot between the individual and the larger society changes over time Since American society continues to evolve we will consider as well how the current movement of American society from a production based economy to a servicebased economy is once again transforming human relations 3 An attention to cultural diversity Two additional and basic premises of this course are that ultimately all knowledge is comparative and that all human values must be considered in cultural context Wherever possible cross cultural comparisons and examples will be used to highlight the organization of our own culture Of course since American society is itself an enormously complex variegated pluralistic society our attention throughout the semester will inevitably be drawn to the multiplicity of behavioral and value systems found in the United States Appreciation of cultural differences of all sorts helps to meet a primary mission of any sociology course It is to make persons less self righteous about the superiority of their own cultural beliefs Both class conversation and readings are designed to put students into contact with class and race segments of American society that may be very different from their own group memberships 4 An attention to the methodology of the field Sociologists normally consider their discipline as one of the social quotsciencesquot Identification with science means that the discipline39s understanding of the world is based on carefully collected data The writing assignment for the course requires students to collect some data on their own and to analyze it Given the assignment a substantial amount of class time will be spent talking about the nature of deductive and inductive inquiry the requirements of scientific investigation the nature of participant observation field research in particular the contents of field notes and strategies for moving from data to analysis 5 A strong writing component Although the term paper is meant primarily as an exercise in observation data collection and analysis the quality of the final product cannot be separated from the quality of writing Students will be encouraged to discuss their work and to share drafts of their paper with both the professor and the graduate student teaching assistants in the course As time allows we will discuss what CW Mills called quotintellectual craftsmanshipquot As part of that discussion we will talk about what constitutes powerful social science writing Here I am committed to two basic ideas about writing 1 Writers should never confuse the complexity of their thinking with complicated writing 2 Writing is not putting on paper what you think It is rather part of the process of telling you what you think 6 Contributing to the de 39 ofa personal 39 quot 39 of life The p J 39 39 39 Carl Jung has said quotThere is no coming to consciousness without painquot Studying sociology can be uncomfortable for some people because it forces them to question essential ideas that have guided their lives Much sociology is dedicated to quotdebunkingquot the myths and propaganda that allow some people to order their private lives One of the first messages of sociology is that quotthings aren39t always what they first seem to bequot Often what we take to be common sense turns out upon closer investigation to be neither common nor sensical My approach in this class places primary emphasis on the basic process of interaction that shape all human relations from those among anonymous urbanites to our most precious intimacies Thus I expect the class to enhance each student39s ability to think about core life questions about the quality of relationships family involvement childrearing the meaning of work and personal commitment to social change in a more complex and nuanced way READING Derber THE WILDING OF AMERICA Henslin DOWN TO EARTH SOCIOLOGY Karp SPEAKING OF SADNESS McLeod AIN T NO MAKIN IT METHODS OF EVALUATION A The Midterm examination This examination will be taken during one of our normal class periods It will cover the material on the course outline through section III of the syllabus You will be responsible for both reading and lecture material to that point in the class The mid term exam will count for 30 of the nal grade B A Term Paper Unlike other of your classes which typically require a library based research paper the term paper in this class will be based on data you collect over the course of the thirteen weeks we are together I would like for each student to identify a problem or issue that can be investigated by doing indepth interviews The best way to identify a meaningful issue or problem is to start with things that matter in your own lives In previous classes students have elected to do indepth interviews with individuals who are the children of divorced parents are biracial suffer from eating disorders are transfer students are involved in a long distance relationship are part of a particular subculture are the members of one or another occupation lawyer physician s assistants probation officers etc suffer from one or another illness are grieving for someone who died have recently fallen in love are members of a sports team belong to a particular church or religious group and so on I would like each class member to conduct six indepth interviews over the course of the semester The paper will be based on the data from those interviews Typically each interview would last for about an hour In order to conduct these interviews each student will need to define the issue or problem that interests them construct an interview guide choose respondents for the interviews conduct the interviews collate the data and write the paper We will spend time in class talking about each of these elements of the research process Aside from introducing some basic theoretical ideas and sociological concepts we will discuss Karp39s book Speaking ofSadness as an example of indepth interviewing The paper will count for 35 of the final grade C The final exam The nal exam will be part takehome and part inclass By this I mean that shortly before the date of the nal exam I will hand out a list of questions for you to think about at home On the day of the nal I will choose a number of these questions at random for you to write on The nal exam will count for 35 of the nal grade BRIEF OUTLINE PART ONE FOUNDATIONS OF SOCIAL ORDER I Introduction to the Course 1 Course goals and aspirations 2 Course requirements 3 Introduction to the readings Reading Henslin 13 II The Nature of Social Order 1 Basic de nitions of sociology 2 Sociology and the problem of order 3 Nature and nurture 4 Processes of socialization Reading Henslin 817 Karp Chs 13 II Doing Sociology l Sociology and Science 2 Doing Field Research Reading Henslin 46 Karp Chs 47 III Interaction Status Role l The idea of social organization 2 The meaning of social interaction 3 Some elements of role theory 4 Goffman s dramaturgical model Reading Henslin 1822 McLeod Chsl4 MIDTERM EXAM IV Sociology in Historical Perspective The development of sociology in the 19th century The social themes of the industrial revolution Karl MarX A Con ict Model of Society Emile Durkheim A Consensus Model of Society bP N Reading McLeod Chs 58 PART TWO SOURCES OF SOCIAL DIFFERENTIATION V Social Strati cation The nature of social inequality What is social class MarX and Weber on class Values and social class Mobility in America Elk WP Reading Henslin 2935 MacLeod Chs 911 VI Deviance l Assumptions in the study of deviance 2 Theories of deviance 3 Does America foster a culture of Wilding Reading Henslin 2328 Derber complete VII Race and Ethnic Relations Race ethnicity minority group A comment on terms The nature of prejudice Structural factors and prejudice Institutional racism bP N Reading Henslin 3642 PART THREE SELECTED ISSUES AND TOPICS As time permits we will give more speci c treatment to such topics as the bureaucratization of society the social psychology of aging and the life cycle the nature of urban life and processes of social change FINAL EXAMINATION Spring 2008 David Karp IMPORTANT READINGS IN SOCIOLOGY 1 On Being a Sociologist Mills The Sociological Imagination 2 Doing InDepth Interviews Karp Is ItMe or MyMeals 3 Doing Ethnography Dunieier Slim39s Table 4 Doing Theory Construction Goffman The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life 5 Analyzing Aggregate Data William Wilson The Truly Disadvantaged 6 Doing Critical Essay Writing Derber Corporation Nation


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