This the Gateway to Sociology 101; 302; 322; 436; and 475 on the Web 





                                     Links to Courses


Sociology 101 (General Sociology)

Sociology 302 (Social Problems)

Sociology 322 (Minority Groups in the United States)  

Sociology 391 (Collective Behavior)

Sociology 436 (Work and Management in Society)  

Sociology 475 (Organizations and Human Behavior)  




Sociology 101 (General Sociology) This course will introduce you to the study of  humankind's most important creation-- the social group. When you think about it, everything that we do is either directly or indirectly influenced by the society in which we live. All of our greatest achievements, good and bad, are the products of human groups. Even the most solitary artist or writer would be utterly devoid of creativity without a social context in which to nurture individual genius or without an audience from which to draw critical evaluation. It is said that the "pen is mightier than the sword," but both were created by a far stronger power-- the human group. Indeed, there is very little in our lives that occurs outside the group context. Chances are that you awoke this morning within the confines of one group-- your family; went to work in the context of another-- your place of employment; and are now in quite a different group-- this class. Each of these groups influences your behavior in very different ways. In this course, you will examine the various skills and techniques that sociologists employ when studying groups of people. You will then examine a wide variety of groups and the behaviors that characterize them. 

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Sociology 302 (Social Problems) What are the things that trouble you the most about the United States today?  Can any thing be done to resolve them?  Are your private concerns shared by enough people in this society to become public issues?  If so, we have the key ingredients of what may prove to be a social problem.  Sociology developed in the 19th century during a time of social turmoil in the west when the industrial revolution was in full swing.  Prior to this time, the pace of social change was very slow.  But in the 1800s, a revolution in agriculture and the way goods were produced through manufacturing created an urban population explosion that brought with it extreme poverty, crime, pollution and what some consider to be moral decay.  Thus, sociology's concern with social problems is as old as the discipline, itself.  This course examines modern public issues in the United States that have broad-based popular concern.

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Sociology 322 (Minority Groups in the United States)   The United States is a land of immigrants; a cultural mosaic formed by a wide diversity of racial and ethnic groups. Understanding racial and ethnic relations is crucial to comprehending social life in this country.  Vincent Parrillo has stated that  "The field of race and ethnic relations touches everyone--directly and indirectly-- in personal, national, and global terms."  This course's primary focus is upon patterns of relationships involving the large number of racial, ethnic and religious groups that exist in our society.  In sociological terms, "majority" generally refers to the group holding power-- the "dominant group" in society. Minorities, on the other hand, tend to lack power, receive unequal treatment, and are held in low esteem by the majority (and possibly other minorities).  Understanding the minority experience in the United States is difficult because three major theories offered to explain the integration of minorities into the larger society (assimilation, amalgamation, or pluralism) have taken on a political tone of what avenues should be open to minorities-- .  This course addresses in detail the experiences undergone by American minorities.  Sociology, with its emphasis on group life, is especially suited to this task. 

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Sociology 391 (Collective Behavior) The subject of collec­tive behavior has long been under the domain of sociology and is considered one of the most impor­tant, yet difficult areas of human social activity to research.  In this course we will focus on these forms of collec­tive behavior: The Crowd; The Mass; The Public; and The Social Movement. We will examine each of these in as much detail as the semes­ter permits—with a focus on a broad variety of collective action including terrorism and disasters.  Class members will be encouraged to com­plete a project examining a category of their choice.

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Sociology 436 (Work and Management in Society) In western society there are a number of different themes that underlie the concept of work. From the Judeo-Christian perspective work can be seen both as punishment--"Adam’s curse," and as an indication of one’s moral character—a means by which we glorify God. From a secular stand-point, work harmoniously integrates individual activity to produce a smoothly operating social system. Or, work is one of the primary forms of exploitation by the ruling class over the masses of workers.  Virtually everyone of us will spend a considerable portion of our lives in the labor force at work. Like "death and taxes" work is one of the certainties of life. Today, in the United States, approximately 75 percent of males and 60 percent of females are in the labor force. Those who are not, are either retired or too young to work.  In this course we will examine work from both the micro and macro levels. We will look at the impact of work on the individual. We will also address the institution of work at the macro level—the structure of work in society and how it has evolved (and continues to evolve) over time. We will study the impact of work on other social institutions and we will examine the methods and techniques used to study work. Much of what we do in this course will involve cross-cultural examples, but the primary focus will always be the United States.

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Sociology 475 (Organizations and Human Behavior)   This course focuses on large groups of people, technically called "formal organizations."  Although not physical objects like atoms and stars, formal organizations take on a reality of their own and readily avail themselves to scientific (or systematic) examination and analysis.  In the modern world, advances in human organization must precede major advances in technology.  The atomic bomb, the product of remarkable advances in theoretical physics and practical engineering, was developed because human organizations (and their administrative bureaucracies) had advanced to the point where the efforts of thousands of technicians and workers located across a continent could be coordinated effectively.  Sociologist, Peter Blau has observed, "Rationalization in administration is a prerequisite for the full exploitation of technological knowledge in mass production, and thus for a high standard of living."  Sociology tries to discern general "laws" of group behavior, so this course will have a different focus from organizational courses offered in schools of business.  We will devote some time to practical matters of organizational management, but the emphasis is on major theories of organizational behavior presented through examples in the assigned texts. 




Sociology is a Program in the L. Douglas Wilder

     School of Government and Public Affairs