SOCY 302: Sociological Theory

Professor Mathieu Deflem, Ph.D.
University of South Carolina
Department of Sociology
Office: Sloan 217
This course is taught in Spring 2017 and Fall 2017. 


This course presents an undergraduate-level introduction to selected developments in sociological theory. The approach to the issues explored in sociological theory is both chronological and perspective oriented, so that classical as well as modern and some contemporary theories will be reviewed and a useful variety of perspectives will be explored. While the specific selection of theories in this course is partly motivated by the instructor's expertise, the selection is nonetheless broad.

Also, because this is a sociological theory course for sociology students with a variety of interests, special attention will be paid to exploring the fruitfulness of the introduced theoretical ideas for the analysis of various substantive matters of society, such as law, crime, family, religion, culture, and other empirical issues.

The final grade for the course is based on three tests and a (cumulative) final exam. Consult the university calendar and Office of Academic Integrity for further details.

The syllabus is available to all registered students via Blackboard

        Introduction: What is Theory?
        1. The Classical Tradition 
            - Pre-Sociological Theories of Society
            - Emile Durkheim
            - Max Weber
        2. Variation in Modern Sociological Theory
            - Systems Theory: Talcott Parsons
            - Structural Functionalism: Robert K. Merton
            - Conflict Theory: Lewis Coser
            - Radical Sociology: C. Wright Mills
            - Dramaturgy: Erving Goffman
            - Behaviorism: George C. Homans 
        3. Some Aspects of Sociological Theory Today 
            - Feminist Perspectives
            - Public Sociology 


The required readings for this course are available as pdf files in the course documents section on Blackboard.

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