Term Department of Sociology Rhodes University. Lecturer: Ms Emma Hay

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1 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY SOCIOLOGY I Term Department of Sociology Rhodes University Lecturer: Ms Emma Hay

2 WELCOME! All sociologists are interested in understanding our social world, our interactions, social structures and social organisation and they further seek to explain why and how these social structures and interactions take the form that they do and how they have changed over time. In exploring these issues, sociologists probe beyond common-sense explanations such as "human nature" or "because it has always been done like that. They work with what the American sociologist C Wright Mills has termed "the sociological imagination". This refers to the capacity to be curious about why particular societies or segments of society function as they do - to ask critical questions about social arrangements utilising theoretical underpinnings and applying evidence-based research. To be open to the possibility of different ways of seeing the world is at the core of sociology. It will also become clear that sociology is not simply a discipline concerned with social phenomena, but that it is a way of thinking about the world which challenges our commonly accepted beliefs and assumptions. In short, sociology is a form of consciousness which will change the way you think about yourself, your social networks and your world. Ultimately it should provide you with an important framework within which to situate your life and surroundings. COURSE OBJECTIVES This course is designed to give you a broad introduction to the sociological imagination and exploration of the evidence-based value of the discipline. The knowledge and sociological skills that you will acquire during this course will aid your critical understanding of the value of sociology in helping us to contemplate our social world.

3 The course is divided into a number of areas which are all crucial to gaining an understanding of what sociology is and what it entails. The sub-sections of the course are as follows: 1) Introduction to sociology as the study of society; the 'sociological imagination' 2) Underpinning concepts; exploration of the individual in society 3) The origins of sociology as a discipline 4) The central theoretical divides within sociology 5) Sociology in action: applying the sociological imagination to current world events 6) Theoretical application of approaches: case studies. COURSE STRUCTURE & OVERVIEW The 3 components of this course are: Lectures & tutorials; 4 lectures per week (Monday - Thursday) 3 compulsory tutorials (weeks 2, 3 and 4) Assessment 40% of overall mark for the unit Examination 60% of overall mark for the unit LECTURE OUTLINE (Some minor changes may apply) WEEK LECTURE TOPIC OVERVIEW 1 Thinking sociologically, application and uses. Sociology as a social science WEEK 1 W/C The sociological imagination (C Wright Mills) and exploration of social versus sociological problems 3 Contrast to natural sciences and common sense: the use of theory and method 4 Theory and Methods Overview: the science of sociology 5 Key sociological concepts: norms, values, roles, status WEEK 2 W/C Key sociological concepts: culture and cultural relativity 7 Key concepts: processes/agents of socialisation 8 Key concepts: nature v's nurture debate

4 TUTORIAL 1 Applied case study: 'feral' children and socialization 9 Applied sociological investigation: analysing social phenomena. WEEK 3 W/C TUTORIAL 2 During this week, we will consider relevant and contemporary events from the sociological perspective, allowing an exploration of how sociology can be directly applied to real life happenings using the key concepts covered thus far Applying the sociological imagination: independent research 13 Approaches to sociology: Functionalism (consensus structuralism) 14 Approaches to sociology: Marxism (conflict structuralism) WEEK 4 W/C Approaches to sociology: Social Action/Interactionism 16 Approaches to sociology: Feminism TUTORIAL 3 Applying theory to your own sociological research: developing your sociological imagination 17 Sociological case study: social stratification introduction WEEK 5 W/C Applying approaches to social stratification 19 Sociological case study: crime and deviance in society 20 Applying approaches to crime and deviance EASTER BREAK no lecture Mon Family day (Public Holiday) no lecture WEEK 6 W/C Revisiting key terms creating a glossary/clarification 22 Exam preparation: question types and ideal responses 23 Exam preparation: overall revision COURSE OUTCOMES By the end of the course students should: Be able to distinguish between common-sense understandings of the social world and those based on sociological explanation (social science) Have a general understanding of the origins of Sociology as a discipline and its uses Have a critical understanding of the relationship between the individual and society (how we are affected by our social world) Know the key features/arguments of some of the major approaches to sociology Know how sociologists may attempt to explain human society by using these different approaches Be able to apply these approaches sociologically to social phenomena

5 TUTORIALS There will be 3 tutorials this term. These are compulsory. For each tutorial you need to read a prescribed reading, write on average a word (1 page) tutorial assignment in response to a set question/task and attend the tutorial meeting. You need to ensure that you are allocated to a tutorial group and must always attend the tutorial meeting (venue and time) assigned to you. A list of tutorial groups, venues and times will be placed on the Sociology I notice board at the beginning of the second week of term. The first tutorial meeting will take place in the week of the 22 nd February. All of the tutorials will help prepare you for the June examination, so it is in your interest to take each tutorial seriously: read the prescribed reading/carry out research carefully, think about the central issue(s) and write a structured response to the question. Further, actively participate in the tutorial discussions and jot down points made by others. COURSE ASSESSMENT During the course you will be expected to complete one assignment which will contribute towards your overall year mark. You MUST complete this as part of your DP requirements for Sociology I. 1. The Assessment You will be required to complete a one hour closed book test. Details of the test format and date will be given to you closer to the time but your tutorial work will form the foundation of your practice for this test. As a result, it is in your own interest to complete tutorial work to the best of your ability. All work covered in the course must to be included in your test preparation.

6 2. The Examination Half of the Sociology mid-year exam will be allocated to examining the introduction course, i.e. you will be required to answer questions relating to this course for 90 minutes of the 3 hour exam. Information regarding the structure of the exam and the kinds of questions to be answered will be given in the review lectures in the final week (week 6) of the course after the short recess. Reading Material Reading material relevant to the lectures and slides used in the lectures will be made available via RUconnected. It is very important that you are able to access these materials. If you have any difficulty getting onto RUConnected, you must seek IT support from student services. The following textbooks are strongly recommended to aid and increase your understanding of the material covered: Haralambos. M. and Holborn, M Sociology: Themes and Perspectives. (6 th edition). London: HarperCollins Publishers Limited. Supplementary textbooks: Bilton, T Introductory sociology (4 th ed). New York: Palgrave Bilton, T Introductory sociology. (2 nd ed). London: Macmillan. Giddens, A Sociology (5 th ed). Cambridge: Polity Press. Henslin, J. H Down to earth sociology. (7 th ed). New York: The Free Press. The internet is an ever-expanding and convenient resource for information relevant to this course. You are encouraged to use the internet and the library for supplementary and further reading and will be required to use your research skills for tutorials. Please refer to the department's Handout No.1 with regard to the university's policy on plagiarism, and referencing style.

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