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Course 2019-2020 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 23

BIG (7 credits - I sem. - OB  |  SPS/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 23 (I sem.)

Class-group lessons delivered  on campus

Mission & Content Summary

This course is designed to be a broad introduction to the field of sociology. Students encounter some of the most influential theories developed, imagined and used by sociologists to make sense of the social world. We discuss and acquire familiarity with the concepts sociologists typically use in their work, and with some of the core methods sociologists employ to investigate the social world. For instance, students gain an understanding of what sociologists mean when they talk about culture, socialization and social structure, and how sociologists analyse these concepts linking theory and empirical analyses. The course also encourages students to think critically (i.e. as a social scientist, about human life and societies and develop their own questions about social life). Finally, the course pays particular attention to the broad themes of inequality as it pertains to race, class and gender, the digital revolution and the social changes it brought about, and family changes, by adopting a life course perspective.


First part

  • What is Sociology?
  • Sociological perspectives.
  • Asking and answering sociological questions.
  • Research methods.
  • Social norms.
  • Socialization and social interactions.
  • Crime and Deviance
  • Gender and sexuality.
  • Globalization.
  • Environment.
  • Cities and urban life.

Second part:

  • Work and The Economy.
  • The life course.
  • Families.
  • Health.
  • Stratification and social class.
  • Poverty.
  • Global inequality.
  • Race and ethnicity.
  • Religion.
  • Education.
  • Digital revolution.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Autonomously and critically search, and understand, sociological research on a wide range of topics, with diverse methodological approaches, linking this research to wider knowledge across the spectrum of social sciences.
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Cast sociological explanatory hypotheses on a wide range of social phenomena, in particular concerning policy-relevant issues, and to sketch research designs useful to test such hypotheses.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
  • Exercises: there is one class as lab-session in which we are analyzing the European Social Survey dataset using the software STATA and applying some basic statistical tools.
  • Interactive class activities: in almost every lecture there are interactive class activties, such as role playing, puzzles to be solved in group, designing online surveys.

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •   x x
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  •   x x

    Students can choose between two options:

    1. A written exam or two partial exams (each with a 2/5 weight towards the overall grade), plus a short paper, written individually or together with another student (with a 1/5 weight towards the overall grade).
    2. A written exam, either taken through two partial exams (each with a 1/2 weight towards the overall grade) or one general exam (with a 100% weight towards the overall grade).
    • Exams: written exams includes both short answers and essay-style questions. The questions cover theory, and interpretation of the results of applied research. The exam cover all topics of the course. Material covered in the lectures, in the text book and other set readings may be included in the exam.
    • Project (optional): the project may be conducted by students working alone or in couple. It is worth 1/5 of your grade. Students working in couple receive the same grade. The grade you obtain in the project is valid for one-year cycle. The maximum length of the project is 1,500 words. You are required to design a sociological research project that can be carried out in two alternative ways:
      • Applied project: by using secondary data (Europena Social Survey dataset), statistical analyses, interpreting the results and drawing independent conclusions based on sociological theory and hypotheses.
      • Critical review project: by making a review of the literature on a specific topic; comparing results from two papers that adopt different theoretical approaches, and/or methods, and/or study different populations (e.g. countries); highlighting similarities and/or differences; drawing independent conclusions.

    Teaching materials
    • Book: A. GIDDENS, P.W. SUTTON, Sociology,  Polity, 8th Edition.
    • Readings: a set of readings and lecture slides are available on Bboard.
    Last change 03/06/2019 11:01