Approved by Faculty Senate.

 

 

Soc 377 Sociological Theory and Methods S2002

R. Stevens, Minne 232 Office Hours: 11-12 MWF, 2-3 T&R

E-mail: Rstevens@winona.edu Phone: 457-5427

Description and Purpose: To introduce classical social theory and the main paradigms in contemporary sociological theory; to examine the methodological issues involved in relationship between theory and research. This course includes requirements and learning activities intended to satisfy the University Studies Program Writing Flag outcomes listed blow. Prerequisites: SOC 150, STAT 110 or PSY 231, SOC 376 and admission to the B.A. Sociology Program.

Writing-Flag Course Outcomes

(Course to be submitted for University Studies Writing Flag designation in Spring 2002)

 

This course also includes requirements and learning activities that promote your ability to; (1) practice the processes and procedures for creating and completing writing in sociology; (2) understand the main features and uses of writing in this field; 3) adapt your writing to the general expectations of readers in the field; (4) make use of the technologies commonly used for research and writing in this field; and (5) learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage and documentation in the field.

Required Texts:

Johnson, William A., Richard P. Rettig, Gregory M. Scott, and Stephen M. Garrison. 2002. THE SOCIOLOGY STUDENT WRITERS MANUAL.

Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Kivisto, Peter. 2001. ILLUMINATING SOCIAL LIFE: Classical and Contemporary Theory Revisited. Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press.

Course Requirements and Grading: Students are expected to regularly attend and participate in all class meetings. Most class periods will be devoted to brief extemporaneous student presentations addressing the attached study guide/discussion questions followed by class discussion. Some time during most class meetings will also be dedicated to lectures or will be reserved for small group work and library research. Your grade will be based on in-class oral presentations (see attached Presentation Rubric), quizzes, issue reaction papers, a final paper in the form of a research proposal and an oral presentation of the proposed research. Although you will be expected to do much of your work in groups/teams, your individual contribution will also be assessed as part of your final grade. Your final grade will be determined based on points as follows: 360-400=A, 320-359=B, 260-319=C, 200-259=D, <200=F.

Course Outline Reading

I. The Interplay of Theory and Method in Sociology

A. The Sociological Perspective Writer’s Manual, Introduction

B. Theoretical Paradigms

C. Research Methods

D. Writing in sociology... Writer’s Manual, Chapters 1&2

1. to record what is observed

2. to explain what is recorded

 

3. to defend what is explained

4. formats & citing sources Writer’s Manual, Chapters 3&4

W-Flag Outcomes 4&5

II. Classical Sociological Theory (Begin oral presentations, see attached)

A. Karl Marx Kivisto, Chapter 1

B. Max Weber " , Chapter 2

C. Emile Durkheim " , Chapter 3

D. Georg Simmel " , Chapter 4

Oral Presentations (20 Points), Quizzes (40 Points)

and

Issue Reaction Paper #1 (40 Points) W-Flag Outcomes 1-3

See Writer’s Manual, Chapter 11

 

III. Contemporary Theories and Their Connections to the Classics

A. Criminalizing Transgressing Youth and A Neofunctionalist Analysis

Chapter 5

B. Why Do African Americans Pay More for Cars? A Structural Explanation

Chapter 6

C. Critical Theory, Legitimation Crisis and the Deindustrialization of Flint Michigan. Chapter 7

D. The Socially Constructed Body: Feminist Theory Insights

Chapter 8

E. Pretty Woman, Ugly Man: Interpretavism & Prostitution

Chapter 9

F. Goffman’s Dramaturgical Sociology: Personal Sales and Service in a Commodified World Chapter 10

G. The "New" Means of Consumption: A Postmodern Analysis

Chapter 11

H. Globilization and Religious Fundamentalism Chapter 12

Oral Presentations (20 Points), Quizzes (40 Points)

and

Social Issue Analysis Paper #2 (40 Points) W-Flag Outcomes 1-4
See Writer’s Manual, Chapter 11

IV. The Conduct of Research in Sociology

A. Organizing the Research Process Writer’s Manual, Chapter 5

B. Information in the Library and on the Internet Chapter 6

C. Work on research proposal

-First draft (20 Points) due _________

-Revised draft (60 Points) due __________

-Final draft (100 Points) due on the last day of class

-Final Exam-- Oral Presentation of Research Proposal (20 Points)

W-Flag Outcomes 1-5, Oral Flag Outcomes 1-6

 

Oral Presentation / Study Guide / Discussion Questions

 

Part 1. Classical Sociology: Origins and Applications

 

1. What were some of the social and political developments that made "society" problematic in Europe by the eighteenth century? How might a sociologist explain why sociology developed when and where it did? (See Knapp Handout, pp. 5-16)

2. Who was Karl Marx? When and where was he born? Where and how did he live? What aspect of society did he "discover?" How was he influenced by Hegel? (See Knapp, pp. 25-27)

3. According to Article 4 in Kivisto, what concerns did Karl Marx address and what elements from Marx’s analysis do Walsh and Zacharius-Walsh consider to be relevant today? How might Marx’s thought be applied to the study of university student life?

4. Who was Max Weber? When and where was he born? Where and how did he live? What was the central focus on Weber’s sociology? How is his concept of rationalization related to the analyses of Marx and Durkheim? (See Knapp, pp. 78-80)

5. what are some of the main features of Weber’s sociological thought and how does George Ritzer apply Weber’s ideas to U.S. society today? (See Kivisto, Article 2) Which of Weber’s ideas suggest ways of approaching the study of university student life?

6. Who was Emile Durkheim? When and where was he born? Where and how did he live? What aspect of society did he "discover?" How was he influenced by Kant and Hegel? (See Knapp, pp. 52-55)

7. What were some of Durkheim’s main ideas that came to shape sociology? How does Anne M. Hornsby use Durkheim’s ideas in Article 3 of Kivisto? How might Durkheim’s thought be applied to the study of university student life?

8. Who was George Simmel? When and where was he born? (See Knapp, pp. 157-159). What were some of the main characteristics of his thinking as a student of society? (See Kivisto, Chapter 11)

9. How are Simmel’s ideas used by William J. Staudenmeier, Jr. in Article 1 of Kivisto? How might these ideas by applied to the study of university life?

 

 

Part II: Contemporary Theories and Their Connections to the Classics

 

10. Discuss how neofuctionalism (Article 5) differs from the older functionalist perspective. Explain how the authors use this new theoretical paradigm to help us understand the shift in public opinion and the actions of politicians in their responses to youth crime. How might this perspective by applied to university life?

11. Explain how a structuralism explanation differs from a social psychological explanation. how does understanding the social system help us understand why African Americans pay more for new cars according to Christopher Prendergast in Article 6? Give an example of how this approach could be applied to university life.

 

 

12. How does the critical theory of Jurgen Habermas resemble the thinking of Marx? How does Steven P. Dandaneau (Kivisto, Article 7) use the insights from critical theory to make sense out of the Deindustrialization of Flint, Michigan? How might these ideas be applied to the study of university life?

13. What is feminist theory and what are some of its unique features? What does it mean to say that the body is socially constructed according to the analysis by Lorber and Martin (Kivisto, Article 6)? How might these ideas be applied to the study of university student life?

14. According to Article 9 in Kivisto, what is "interpretive (or interpretivist) sociology" and how is it related to the ideas of Max Weber? How does Julia O’Connell Davidson think "interpretivist" research can help us to develop social theory that better explain prostitution? How might this approach be used to study university student life?

15. Describe the Dramaturgical sociology of Erving Goffman as discussed by Kivisto and Pittman in Article 10 and indicate how this approach might be used to study university student life.

16. Explain postmodernism as outlined by George Ritzer in Article 11. Why does Ritzer think that postmodernism should best be reviewed as complimenting other theories? What aspects of postmodern theory could be applied to the study of university student life?

17. Summarize globalization theory as examined by William H. Swator, Jr. in Article 10. How do you think globalization theory could be applied to the study of university student life?

 

 

 

 

Sociology 377

Sociological Theory and Methods

 

Rationale for Writing Flag

This is a required course for B.A. Sociology majors that lists admission to the B.A. Sociology program among its prerequisites. To be admitted to the B.A. Sociology Program students must have satisfactorily completed the basic skills areas of writing and oral communication. This course builds on and reinforces these skill areas by providing opportunities for communicating about sociological theory and methods both orally and in writing. Throughout the course, students also have opportunities to receive feedback from their peers and the instructor concerning the effectiveness of their written and oral communication.

To satisfy the Writing-Flag requirement, this course includes requirements and learning activities that promote the students’ abilities to. . .

  1. Practice the processes and procedures for creating and completing successful writing in this field. In this course students study and discuss examples found in The Sociology Student Writer’s Manual.. Students then use this source as a reference manual for their writing assignments throughout the semester.
  2. Understand the main features and uses of writing in this field. Information in The Sociology Student Writer’s Manual is applied throughout the course as students complete writing assignments. These assignments are designed to demonstrate how sociologists write to record what they observe, to explain what they record, and to defend what they explain.
  3. Adapt their writing to the general expectations of readers in this field. By explicitly identifying and discussing the three-way relationship among writer, topic, and audience, students have an opportunity to clarify their own writing goals in the class and gain appreciation for writing itself as a learning tool.
  4. Make use of the technologies commonly used for research and writing in this field. Assigned reading combined with exercises acquaint students with traditional sources of information for sociological research, including resources on the internet.
  5. Learn the conventions of evidence, format, usage, and documentation in the field. Various assignments throughout the course require students to consult The Sociology Student Writer’s Manual and use proper formats based on those endorsed by the American Sociological Association and published in the ASA Style Guide.