30528 - SOCIOLOGY
Course taught in English
There are no prerequisites. This is an introductory course.
The purpose of this course is to expose students to the prevailing theories, methods, and research issues of contemporary sociology. The course links key research issues and debates in sociology with research methods and analytic strategies so that students can understand how a sociological perspective contributes to our ability to understand and explain both the macro- and micro-aspects of societies and social organization.
Power, Authority, and Class
Socialization, Kinship, and Community
Groups and Networks
Social Stratification & Inequality
Public Health & Epidemics
ECONOMIC & POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY
The Economy as an Instituted Process
Comparative Economic Systems
The State and its Critics
Welfare States in Comparative Perspective
Globalization & Challenges to the State
A world of crises
Globalization & Political Transformations
The Future of States and Globalization
- Think sociologically about world phenomena.
- Differentiate sociological thinking from other disciplines.
- Use conceptual tools from sociology to explain social, political and economic dynamics.
- Apply sociological reasoning and sociological tools so that they can formulate broader or fuller explanations for social phenomena, compared to those offered by other social science disciplines.
- Interpret data in ways that problematize overly simple solutions and rely on strong explanatory frameworks.
Students may elect to write a short paper as an individual assignment (see Assessment Methods).
Two take-home assignments (1/3 of final grade each)
The two take-home essay-style assignments aim to assess students’ ability to apply the analytical tools presented during the course, to develop sociological explanations for different phenomena, and to interpret major social changes in a rigorous way. The questions will draw on the material/theories covered in classes and will invite students to develop arguments based on their own reading and any relevant empirical evidence (no independent data analysis is expected, but it can be employed). The emphasis should be on developing an argument that directly engages with the essay topic; further guidance and instructions to be offered during class 1.
The maximum word limit will be 1,200 words per question (no minimum), excluding references. You can include figures or tables, if relevant to your argument. Academic-style referencing is expected, as appropriate. All assignment topics are available to you via Blackboard (under “assessment”).
Final exam (1/3 of final grade)
The final exam will last two hours. It will provide two essay options drawing on classes 15-18, from which you must answer one.
Optional assignment (0-1 extra point – you can choose only one of the two options below)
Option 1: Short class presentation
Either individually or in a group of two, you will select one of the “discussion pieces” noted in the reading lists of some classes (see below) and will kick-off a class discussion on the topic.
Option 2: Short assignment
Students may elect to write a short assignment on the topic of inequality to boost their grades. This will take the form of a hypothetical ‘explainer’ blog post for a policy think tank. Example topics include: ‘Changing inequality patterns in Italy — here is what you need to know,’ ‘The gender pay gap in Turkey — here is what you need to know,’ ‘The impact of the 2015 refugee inflows on wages in Germany — here is what you need to know’…
Final written exam (100%)
The final exam includes two types of questions:
- 16 multiple choice questions.
- 2 essay-style questions (7 points each).
The questions cover all topics of the course. Please see mandatory readings and material covered in the lectures.
Students are provided with a selection of readings on the course Bboard site.
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.
What is sociology?
Sociological research methods
Values, norms and socialization
Gender and sexuality
Social interactions, networks and capital
Crime and deviance
Families and intimate relationships
The life course
Health and disability
Sociology of COVID-19
Stratification and social class
Race, Ethnicity and Migration
- 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.
- 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.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
- Interactive class activities: in almost every lecture there are interactive class activties, such as role playing and puzzles to be solved in group
|Continuous assessment||Partial exams||General exam|
The assessment will consist in 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 include both short answers and essay-style questions. The questions cover theory, and interpretation of the results of applied research. The exam covers all topics of the course. Material covered in the lectures, in the text book and other set readings may be included in the exam.
- Book: A. GIDDENS, P.W. SUTTON, Sociology, Polity, 8th Edition.
- Readings: a set of readings and lecture slides are available on Bboard.