SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology
Welcome to Introduction to Sociology! You are invited to explore, through the prism of sociology, how our society works. More specifically, the following are a sample of questions that shall be addressed in this course:
- What is sociology? If it studies human social conditions, how is it different from philosophy, arts, and literature? How is it different from psychology, economics, and political science? Here, we explore the concept of the sociological imagination.
- What interests sociologists? Here, students will take a brief look at the traditions of sociological thoughts.
- How do sociologists go about doing their research? Students will take an over-the-shoulder look at how sociologists actually conduct their research and the logic behind it.
- A colt can stand up a few hours after birth. A human baby cannot survive the first few years without aid. What does this tell us about the nature of human development and about the nature of our human social organization? How do we acquire cognitive, emotional, moral, and social understandings? Here, we explore a core sociological concept called "socialization."
- Why do some people commit crimes while others don't? Why do some areas have higher crime rates than other places? Can we fight white-collar crime the same way we fight street crime? What do criminologists know about drug use/sales and crime? And, just who is to say what is criminal or deviant behavior? Here, we use the sociological perspective to examine some major issues with the discipline of criminology.
- America is such a rich country. Why are there still so many poor people? Conversely, given that there are so many poor people, why are some able to rise from poverty while others can't? We shall explore the issue of social stratification and social mobility in the United States.
- Few would confuse a Chinese person with a Polish person. So what do we mean when we say race is “social construction”? How do prejudice and discrimination work? What are the possible outcomes of inter-ethnic relations? The core here is to explore the “social construction of race” concept.
- Are men from Mars and women from Venus? How do we account for the differences in gender behaviors? We are in the twenty-first century. Why for every dollar men earn, do women still earn about 77 cents (if for the same kind of work, it would be about 88 cents)?
- The latest news is that "being married means being outnumbered." Yet, most Americans still want to get married and most divorcees remarry. So, is the American family in trouble or doing just fine? How is family today different from the families of the "good old days"? What has contributed to the rise of the divorce rate in the United States? What is the impact of divorce on children? Does cohabitation increase or decrease the divorce rate? Are second marriages more successful than first marriages?
- What do all religions have in common? This is not an idle question because it implies the social functions that religion serves. Is religion a force to keep people in line or a source for social change? What does being religious mean to Americans? Why does America have so many denominations? Why does America have more people who claim to be religious than almost all other advanced industrial societies?
- How do we organize to make change or stop a change in society? How does a social movement start? How does it last? We shall explore the collective behavior approach and the resource mobilization approach here.
UW Colleges Catalog Course Description for SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology - 3 credits. Introduction to the basic concepts, theories and methods of sociology, emphasizing the significance of the self and culture, social process and organization, and forces of social stability and change. This course fulfills the UWC requirement for Social Sciences (SS).
This course will introduce students to what interests sociologists, to the methods sociologists use to find answers, and to the contributions sociologists make to what we know about ourselves and our lives together.
Topics covered include:
- What is sociology?
- Traditions of Sociological Thought
- Logic of Sociological Inquiry
- Deviance and Social Control
- Economic Stratification
- Racial and Ethnic Stratification
- Gender Stratification
- Marriage and Family Institution
- Social Change and Social Movement
Institutional proficiencies assigned to this course
Successful completion of this course will enhance the student's ability to:
- Interpret and synthesize information and ideas
- Analyze and evaluate arguments
- Select and apply scientific and other appropriate methodologies
- Integrate knowledge and experience to arrive at creative solutions
- Gather and assess information from printed sources, electronic sources, and observation
- Read, observe, and listen with comprehension and critical perception
- Communicate clearly, precisely, and in a well-organized manner
Department-specific proficiencies assigned to this course
By completing this course, students will:
- Learn to recognize patterns of social inequality and stratification and their implications in their multiple forms
- Learn to recognize various patterns of social structure, such as norms, roles, relationships, and institutions
- Develop an awareness of the sociological perspective
- Become familiar with research methods
- Develop a basic understanding of sociological theory
- Microsoft Word
The most current edition of MS Office (containing MS Word and other valuable programs) is available to University of Wisconsin students at discounted prices through the Wisconsin Integrated Software Catalog.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
This is freely distributed software that lets you view and print Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, please download it by visiting http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html
About the Instructors
- Katrina Becker
BS, Cornell University
- Colin Wang
Assistant Professor, Sociology
BA, Hauzhong Normal University, People's Republic of China
MS, Texas A&M University
PhD, Texas A&M University