SOCY 302: Sociological Theory

Professor Mathieu Deflem, Ph.D.
University of South Carolina
Department of Sociology
Office: Sloan 217


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.

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.

Consult the academic calendar for important dates. Useful information is also provided by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, such as its integrity policies (including the Honor Code and the Student Code of Conduct). Information is also available online about academic regulations and the Student Success Center.

Since Summer 2018, this course is offered online via Blackboard.

        Introduction: What is Theory?
        1. The Classical Tradition 
            - From Social Philosophy to Social Science
            - Emile Durkheim
            - Max Weber
        2. Variations 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 consist of both primary texts, written by the theorists discussed, as well as selected secondary texts that provide overviews and summaries of relevant theories.

All course materials are available via Blackboard.

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