Beau Weston                                                                           C447 (x8789)

Centre College             Introduction to Sociology     Hours:  Hub café after class

Fall 2007                                 (SOC 110)                              Phone: 238-7580 (h)

 

STARTING POINT

This is my take on society and sociology. 

I offer these claims as a starting point for your critical reflection.

Human beings are essentially social.

Human society is essentially biosocial.

Human society is shaped by material and ideal factors.

Human beings act for reasons they find meaningful.

We come to embody ideal types of meaningfully acting social characters.

Sociology is primarily focused on modern society.

We perform our "selves" in face-to-face interactions with socially constructed tools.

The three main social factors shaping our selves are gender, race, and class.

The greatest of these is class.

TEXTS

Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life

Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, "The Communist Manifesto"; online in many places.

Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

Elijah Anderson, The Code of the Street

Paul Fussell, Class

Samuel Huntington, Who Are We?

WORK

Quizzes [40% of final grade]

Weekly (more or less) questions on the next day's reading, delivered through WebCT.  These will typically be available for 20 minutes beginning at a time of your choosing, due by 9 p.m. the night before class. They are open-book tests, and you are welcome – indeed, encouraged – to discuss the class readings with others before you open the quiz.  I will drop the lowest quiz grade.  You may take additional (not substitute) quizzes up to the last day of class.

Webpage [30%]

Social Solidarity Page (Durkheimian collective effervescence report): An account, based on first-hand information, of the sense of solidarity created by a shared emotional experience within a face-to-face group. Posted as a web page. This paper may be written with a partner.

Final Examination [20%] A comprehensive take-home essay, due at the scheduled time.  Will include your four-generation sociological narrative.

Participation [10%] We have fascinating things to talk about. For the good of all, do it.

 

SCHEDULE

8/27     Introduction: Sociology is the Science of Modern Society

8/29     Who Am I?  Who Are We?  How Are These Identities Connected?

Elijah Anderson. The Code of the Street, Introduction (20 pp)

            Weston, "My four generation sociological narrative."

In class: Weston hometown pictures and 

Rutgers film (http://sociology.camden.rutgers.edu/curriculum/code_film.htm),

 

8/31     Samuel Huntington, Who Are We? chs. 1 & 2 (35)

9/3       What Was the Material Life of Pre-modern Societies Like?

Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 (skim Introduction for “Yali’s question“) (65)

9/5       Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 7 – 10 (75)

9/7       Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 11 & 12 (45)

9/10     What Was the Ideal Life of Pre-modern Societies Like?

Emile Durkheim, Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, Bk. I, ch. 1; Bk. II chs. 1 & 7  (85).

9/12     Durkheim, Elementary Forms, Bk. III ch. 1, and ch. 2 sec. 5, Conclusion (55)

9/14     Webpage instruction with Keeta Martin, Olin 107

            [Sociology Date Night:  "Casablanca" 7:30 Vahlkamp Theater]

9/17     Why Did Each Continent's Pre-Modern Societies Develop as They Did?

Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 13 & 14 (55)

9/19     Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 16, 18, 19 (55)

9/21     Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 15, 17 (45)

[9/23    Solidarity webpage due, 9 p.m.]

9/24     Why are Modern Societies Different?

Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, chs. I & II [pagination varies by edition]

9/26     Weber, Protestant Ethic, ch. III

9/28     Weber, Protestant Ethic, ch. V

10/1     How Are Modern Societies Rational?

Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, "The Communist Manifesto" [Library reserve or web]

10/3     Max Weber, "Class, Status, Party" [on library reserve]

10/5     Wikipedia entry for "Sociology" Your assignment is a wiki hunt.  Start with the entry for "Sociology."  Follow some chain of links.  Reflect on what you learned.  Write up what you found in a brief WebCT quiz.

10/8     How Does American Sociology Study the Rationality of Modern Societies?

            Film: "The First Measured Century" (shown in class)

10/10   Film: "The First Measured Century" (shown in Vahlkamp Theater)

10/12   BREAK

10/15   What Parts of Our Identity Do We Choose (Sort of)?

            Paul Fussell, Class, chs. 1 & 2 (50)

10/17   Fussell, Class, ch. 3 (25)

10/19   Fussell Class, chs. 4 & 5 (50)

10/22   Fussell, Class, chs. 6 & 7 (50)

10/24   Fussell, chs. 8 & 9 (25)

10/26   Selections from film "People Like Us" (in class)

10/29   How Do We Present Our Identity in Society?

Erving Goffman, Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Preface, Intro, ch. 1 (75)

10/31   Goffman, Presentation of Self, chs. 6 & 7 (50)

11/2     How Do We Present Our Identity Against Society?

Elijah Anderson, Code of the Street, chs. 1 & 2 (70)

11/5     Anderson, Code of the Street, 3 - 5 (100)

11/7     Anderson, Code of the Street, ch. 7 (55)

11/9     Anderson, Code of the Street, Conclusion (35)

[Sociology Date Night: "Crash" 7:30 Vahlkamp Theater]

11/12   What Might the Identities of Americans and America Become?

            Huntington, chs. 3 & 4 (45)

11/14   Huntington, chs. 5 & 6 (60)

11/16   Huntington, chs. 7 & 8 (80)

11/19   Huntington, chs. 9 & 10 (70)

11/21   THANKSGIVING

11/23   THANKSGIVING    

11/26   Huntington, ch. 11 (40)

11/28   Huntington, ch. 12 (30)

11/30   Who Am I?  Who Are We?  How Are These Identities Connected?

12/7     FINAL EXAM  Take-home exam.  Due 10 a.m. Includes your four-generation sociological narrative