Introduces the sociological approach to understanding culture and society. Examines human behavior in a group context, focusing on the prominent influence of culture and social structure on individuals. Connections between individuals and a variety of social institutions, such as the economy, government, and mass media, are examined and compared in U.S. society and on a global scale. Focuses on cultural diversity and social inequalities, such as those related to class, race, ethnicity and gender.
Goals, Topics, and Objectives
- Introduction to the Sociological Perspective/Imagination
- Describe what it means to use the sociological perspective.
- Describe what it means to say that reality is socially constructed.
- Distinguish between different approaches/theories in sociology.
- Illustrate ways that culture influences human behavior.
- Describe ethnocentrism.
- Discuss and illustrate major cultural components that shape social life contemporary U.S. society (e.g. values, norms, symbols, language) – General Education Outcome on American Society, Events, Institutions and Cultures with emphasis on Culture.
- Social Structure
- Define and illustrate statuses and roles.
- Describe characteristics of social structure at the micro level, e.g. social groups.
- Describe one major social institution (e.g. economy, political system, family, health care system, religion, etc.) and how it shapes social life in contemporary U.S. society. – General Education Outcome on American Society, Events, Institutions and Cultures with emphasis on Institutions.
- Research Methods
- Describe the characteristics of participant observation/ethnographic methods.
- Describe the characteristics of experimental methods.
- Describe the characteristics of survey research methods.
- Social Stratification and Social Class Inequality
- Describe social stratification.
- Identify social classes in the United States.
- Distinguish social stratification from social mobility.
- Gender Inequality
- Distinguish between sex and gender.
- Illustrate the process of gender role socialization.
- Describe patterns of gender inequality in the United States.
- Racial/Ethnic Inequality
- Distinguish between race and ethnicity.
- Identify historical patterns of racial/ethnic inequality.
- Identify and discuss major issues related to racial/ethnic/cultural diversity in the U.S. today. – General Education Outcome on American Society, Events, Institutions and Cultures with emphasis on Diverse Populations.
- Critical Thinking Learning Objective*
- Demonstrate the use of a sociological perspective, by explaining and illustrating the application of sociological concepts in the analysis of a reading, video or classroom activity.
Assessment and Requirements
- Each instructor will identify and implement appropriate methods to assess the achievement of the learning objectives for the course.
- All instructors teaching SOC 131 will include a set of common multiple-choice and one essay question on the final exam.
- A panel of instructors will assess a sample of the essay questions each year using a common rubric.
Credit for Prior College-Level Learning
Determined by department