Sociology

Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, communities, and societies, and how people interact in these contexts. Since human behavior is shaped by social factors, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the family to education; from crime to religion; from the divisions of race, social class, and gender to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from environment and sustainability to the sociology of sports. Few fields have such a broad scope and relevance for research, theory, service, and the application of knowledge. The Sociology Department emphasizes engaged pedagogy, critical thinking, theoretical and methodological understanding, service learning, and the application of theory to practice. Sociology majors have the opportunity to be involved in research and sustainable community development as well as local community service projects. Since many sociology majors continue their education in graduate school, the department seeks to prepare them for success at the graduate level. Others often utilize their sociology degree for work in community development, human and community services, the business world, and a wide variety of careers that involve problem-solving and gathering, organizing and analyzing information (i.e., data). The department sponsors the local chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honors Society. The Department of Sociology requires majors to demonstrate understanding of:

  • the relationship between the individual and the social world;
  • the key sociological concepts, theories, and research methods;
  • cultural diversity and social inequality;
  • the importance of community based knowledge and civic participation;
  • the importance of affecting change and creating a sustainable society.

Major

(B.A. degree) Thirty-three hours required. Thirty hours in Sociology including: SOC 111 or SOC 118, SOC 302, SOC 395, SOC 450 and three hours from either PSY 211 or MAT 111. Choose eighteen additional hours from other course work. For an emphasis in Sustainable Community Development, nine additional hours are required including SOC 400 and SOC 408, and three additional hours from the following courses: SOC 211, SOC 220, SOC 306, SOC 335, SOC 355, SOC 365, SOC 405, SOC 415, SOC 420, SOC 435, and SOC 460. The department recommends (but does not require) the following courses for majors: SOC 304, SOC 373, PSY 260, HIS 331, POS 321, and PHI 335.

Minor

Eighteen semester hours required in Sociology, including SOC 111 or SOC 118 and SOC 113.

For the description of the Sustainable Community Development minor, please see Sustainable Community Development.

Courses

111. Principles of Sociology. (3 hours) This course is designed to introduce students to sociological concepts, theories, and principles. Fall and Spring

113. Modern Social Problems. (3 hours) This course is designed to offer a description and analysis of selected social problems, their causes, effects, and social responses to these problems. Spring

118. Cultural Diversity. (3 hours) This course is designed to introduce the student to the diversity of human cultural experience in the contemporary world. Goals of the course include gaining an appreciation for the common humanity and uniqueness of all cultures; to gain a sensitivity toward stereotypes and ethnocentrism, and to understand the distinctions between “race,” ethnicity, and racism. Fall and Spring

211. Community. (3 hours) This course is designed to introduce students to the role of communities in the creation of society. It will offer a critique of contemporary social mobility. Please note that this course employs service learning and therefore involves significant work outside of the classroom. Odd Springs

213. Marriage and Family. (3 hours) This course is designed to offer a sociological and historical analysis of the institution of marriage in the United States, with an emphasis on the changing structure of marriage and family in a contemporary context. Fall

220. Equality and Social Justice. (3 hours) This course is designed to examine social justice in relation to the economy, racial paradigms, political structures, and past and present social welfare policies. A specific emphasis will be placed on government responses to inequities in American society. Odd Springs

302. Classical Sociological Theory. (3 hours) The 19th and 20th centuries brought unprecedented change to our world, and many great thinkers sought to create theories to explain this change. This course will focus on the writings of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, as well as Talcott Parsons and the structural functionalists, stopping short of the microsociological and the postmodern views of the social world (subjects that are covered in SOC 304, Contemporary Sociological Theory). Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Fall

304. Contemporary Sociological Theory. (3 hours) This seminar is designed to examine the contributions of contemporary sociological theory to the understanding of the main structures, processes and contradictions of modern societies. Whereas classical theory courses primarily focus on the works of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, this course will offer a broader range of theorists, beginning with the microsociological thought of Schutz and Blumer, ending up with many of the postmodern questions being asked by theorists like Immanuel Wallerstein. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Even Springs

306. Social Movements and Social Change. (3 hours) This course is designed to examine the origins, dynamics, and consequences of social movements through both sociological theory and empirical case studies. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Spring

309. Sociology of Religion. (3 hours) This course is designed to offer students a classical understanding of the sociology of religion and a contemporary look at ways in which religion is used in society. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Even Falls

319. Work and Organizational Sociology. (3 hours) This course is designed to introduce students to the societal assumptions of work and organizations and the role of work and organizations in perpetuating or solving social inequalities. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Even Springs

330. Sociology of Sport. (3 hours) This course is designed to give students a basic understanding of the role of sport in human life through social theories, methods, and research findings of sociological inquiry. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. As needed

335. Sociology of Appalachia. (3 hours) This course is designed to introduce students to the culture, economics, politics, families, literature, and religions of the Appalachian region. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Odd Springs

355. Environment and Sustainability. (3 hours) This course is designed to help the student think about the environment, sustainability and the role of society and culture in determining how we will survive and prosper on this planet. Please note that this course employs service learning and therefore involves significant work outside of the classroom. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Even Falls

365. Education for Social Change. (3 hours) This course is designed to offer students sociological explanations of the racial and ethnic, class, and gender inequalities that are reproduced within education and focuses on critical pedagogical theories and practices that promote social justice and social change. Fall and Spring

373. Class and Stratification. (3 hours) This course is designed to provide a survey of major sociological theories and research on inequality in modern societies, with emphasis on the contemporary United States. We will examine: the distribution of wealth, status, political power, and other valued resources; the structure and effects of class, race, gender, and other modes of social differentiation; social mobility; and the reproduction of inequality. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Fall

375. Tutorial Topics. (3 hours) The study of a special topic in sociology. Required as preparation for students interested in pursuing study through the Oxford Program at Georgetown College. Please consult sociology department chair for current offerings. Prerequisites: one course in sociology and permission of the instructor. As needed

380. Race and Ethnicity. (3 hours) This course is designed to introduce students to a sociological overview of issues pertaining to race and ethnicity in the United States. Even Falls

390. Gender and Society. (3 hours) This course is designed to offer an explanation of the social construction of gender. The central themes of the course will be changes and continuities in gender roles within the United States, social processes that influence our lives and our gender identities, and the connections between gender, power, and inequality. Odd Falls

395. Qualitative Research Methods. (3 hours) This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the methodological approaches we commonly think of as qualitative, with special emphasis on interview-based research, ethnography, and comparative research. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Fall

400. Community Development. (3 hours) This course is designed to explore the challenges of empowering the poor in a world marked by marginalization, disempowerment, and injustice. Topics to be covered include worldview issues that influence our understanding of poverty and development; a framework for transformational development; an overview of contemporary development theory; and the development practitioner. Please note that this course employs service learning and therefore involves significant work outside of the classroom. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Fall

405. Development and Globalization. (3 hours) This course is designed to introduce the student to how sociologists approach the study and practice of development. It explores cross-culturally how local populations have responded to development; the different topics of development, such as agriculture and rural development; and the ways sociological knowledge is applied in addressing development problems. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Spring

408. Applied Sociology. (3 hours) Applied sociology is simply “sociology put to use.” It involves the application of sociological and anthropological knowledge, theories, and methods to address social problems and issues. This class focuses on the social scientific approach to informing policy and initiating action that alleviates some of the most pressing social, economic, health, environmental, and technological problems facing communities and organizations. Please note that this course employs service learning and therefore involves significant work outside of the classroom. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Spring

415. Food and Society. (3 hours) This course is designed to look at the food we eat; the way we think about food; the role of neoliberal and capitalist values, as well as the role of agribusiness marketing, in shaping our understanding of food and its role in society; and, finally, of the need for reform in our overall societal understanding of food. Particular attention will be paid to concerns such as food insecurity, food safety, and the role of food systems in perpetuating systemic inequality. Please note that this course employs service learning and therefore involves significant work outside of the classroom. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Odd Falls

420. Research Methods for Community Change. (3 hours) This course is designed to provide an overview of the history, theory, and methods of participatory community-based research for social change. Community-based research (CBR) is a collaborative, change-oriented approach to research that equitably engages all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. CBR is research that is conducted with and for, not on, members of a community. CBR begins with a research topic based in the needs of communities, has the aim of combining knowledge with action and achieving social change on behalf of disadvantaged communities or groups. Please note that this course employs service learning and therefore involves significant work outside of the classroom. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Odd Falls

425. Aging in Mass Society. (3 hours) This course is designed to offer a comprehensive study of the dimensions of aging from young adulthood through the senior years. Particular emphasis will be placed on the analysis of problems related to aging with exploration of possible solutions, including social services. As needed

427. Social Network Analysis. (3 hours) This course is designed to provide an introduction to social network analysis. Special attention will be paid to the theories behind this research, but this class will also provide an introduction to the theoretical concepts and methodology of social network analysis from a research perspective. Although technical in a certain sense, the course will not require any mathematical background. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. Even Springs

435. Social Justice Through Folk Music. (3 hours) This course is designed to explore stories of injustice, social action, social movements, and social change through the perspective of folk music. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. As needed

440. Independent Study. (1, 2, or 3 hours) Emphasis on independent research. Prerequisites: one course in sociology and permission of the instructor. As needed

450. Senior Seminar. (3 hours) Capstone course in sociology. Spring

460. Internship in Applied Sociology. (3-6 hours) Supervised internship experiences in the application of sociological concepts in selected organizations. Prerequisites: one course in sociology and permission of the instructor. As needed

470. Topics. (1, 2, or 3 hours) The study of special topics in sociology. Prerequisite: SOC 111 or SOC 118. As needed



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