Introduction to Sociology
Summer Session 2 2012
Time: M/W/Th 8:05-10:35
Location: VC 3120
Instructor: Andrew McKinney
Sociology and Anthropology Department
Phone #: 646-312-4003
Office Hours: 2:00-4:00 pm Monday
Sociology is the study of modern society. It utilizes empirical investigation and critical analysis in order to gain a perspective on social structure and human action that can either serve as knowledge for knowledge’s sake or as a means towards improving social welfare. In this class we will attempt to carve out a space somewhere between these two poles. As this is an introductory course, we will not be delving deeply into the myriad theories espoused by sociological thinkers. Rather the goal of this class is for you to develop tools with which to understand and analyze the world around you in a critical way. One of the greatest contributions of sociology is to help us to understand our world not as “given” but rather as the result of human action. With that in mind, this course will blend theoretical and applied readings in order to give you an understanding of the many organizations and social structures that spur and shape the events in your everyday life and your own attitudes toward them.
Newman, David. Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life, Brief Edition (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 2010.
All other readings will be made available on Blackboard.
Course Requirements and Grading Breakdown:
- Blog Posts: Students will take part in a class blog:
-Each student will be responsible for posting at least 5 (1 per week) links, Youtube clips, or other web-based media on the blog accompanied by an at least 250 word explanation as to why the clip or link is relevant to what we are reading in the course.
-Each student will be responsible for commenting on separate blog posts at least 5 times in the semester. Each comment must be at least 250 words.
- In-Class Writing: In each class there will be in-class writing (timed for no more than 10 to 15 minutes) that will be used as means to spur discussion. It is often difficult to organize one’s thoughts about the reading, a movie we have watched, or a lecture without writing them out. Hence, we’ll take time out in every class where everyone will be required to respond to a prompt that I will give you that relates to what we will have read for that class. These will be collected once time is up.
- Final Exam: A take home final exam of 4-6 pages will be due via email 8/22. Questions for the exam will be provided in the 8/8 class.
- Class Participation, Attendance, and Attentiveness: Class participation is very important, specifically in the summer session when classes are 2 ½ hours long. It will make the class much more enjoyable for both you and me if we are participating in lively discussion together. No one (especially me) wants to have me lecture all class. That said, I am also aware that some people are shy or are not as comfortable with the English language as others. Therefore, this portion of your grade includes your attendance record and what I like to call “attentiveness.” Don’t look like you’re about to fall asleep. Don’t actually fall asleep. Don’t whisper to your friends. And for goodness sake: DO NOT TEXT!
A Note About Late Work: For the exams, late work will result in a third of a grade reduction per day. For example if the final exam is turned in August 23rd, than a B+ quality paper will get a B. In extreme circumstances, exceptions will be made only after documentation of the circumstance.
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is unacceptable. You will receive a failing grade on the assignment if you are caught plagiarizing. Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of someone else’s work as one’ s own in all forms of academic endeavor (such as essay, theses, examinations, research data, creative projects, etc), intentional or unintentional. Plagiarized material may be derived from a variety of sources, such as books, journals, Internet postings, student or faculty papers, etc. This includes the purchase of written assignments for a course. For further reference please see the CUNY-wide policy of academic dishonesty online or in your student handbook.
Other Expectations: ALWAYS bring the texts to class. I will often be reading directly from the text (especially the more difficult pieces) in order to further your understanding of it and you will need to follow along. If a classmate is making reference to the text, you will also need to be able to follow along. Without the text, you will be unable to take advantage of the full learning experience.
Monday 7/16: Introduction, review syllabus, meet each other, watch “Is Wal-Mart Good for America”
Wednesday 7/18: Chapter 1 “Taking A New Look at a Familiar World”
C. Wright Mills “The Promise”
Thursday 7/19: Chapter 2 “Seeing and Thinking Sociologically”
Robert K. Merton “Social Structure and Anomie”
Monday 7/23 Response to Chs. 1, 2, Mills, or Merton due
Chapter 3 “Building Reality: The Social Construction of Knowledge”
Emile Durkheim “What is A Social Fact”
Wednesday 7/25: Chapter 4 “Building Order: Culture and History”
Howard Becker “Culture: A Sociological View”
Thursday 7/26: Chapter 5 “Building Identity: Socialization”
Harry Gracey “Learning the Student Role: Kindergarten as Academic Bootcamp”
Monday 7/30: Chapter 6 “Supporting Identity: The Presentation of Self”
Erving Goffman “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life”
Wednesday 8/1: Chapter 7 “Building Social Relationships: Intimacy and Families”
Stephanie Coontz “The Way We Weren’t: The Myth and Reality of the ‘Traditional’ Family”
Thursday 8/2: Chapter 8 “Constructing Difference: Social Deviance”
Peter Conrad and Joseph W. Schneider “From Badness to Sickness: Changing Designations of Deviance and Social Control”
Monday 8/6: IN CLASS MOVIE: The Medicated Child
Wednesday 8/8: Chapter 9 “The Structure of Society: Organizations, Social Institutions, and Globalization”
Max Weber “Characteristics of Bureaucracy”
C. Wright Mills “The Power Elite”
Thursday 8/9: Chapter 10 “The Architecture of Stratification: Social Class and Inequality”
Karl Marx and Friederich Engels “Manifesto of the Communist Party”
Monday 8/13: “Communist Manifesto” Continued
Max Weber “Class, Status, Party”
Wednesday 8/15: Chapter 11 “ The Architecture of Inequality: Race and Ethnicity”
W.E.B. Dubois “The Souls of Black Folk: The Training of Black Men”
Thursday 8/16: Chapter 12 “The Architecture of Inequality: Sex and Gender”
Judith Lorber “’Night to His Day’: The Social Construction of Gender”