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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Fall 2007

SOC 302 • Introduction to the Study of Society (47480-47495)

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47480 MW
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
CMA A2.320

Course Description

This course is an introduction to sociological perspectives on social life. Our major course objective is to learn how to "think sociologically" about our lives and the world around us. This means cultivating in ourselvesa "sociological" imagination by way of investigating what culture is, how social structures work, what institutions shape our lives, and how social change happens. This may sound abstract and dull, but it's really a fascinating and important way of seeing and thinking about the world and our own lives.

Along the way we will also be asking ourselves questions like: What actually makes a person "human."? What is morality, where does it come from, and how does it affect our actions? Is morality different from human rights? In what sense are individuals really "free?" How is life in modern society different from the past? Why are some people poor? Do people still occupy social class positions? How can population structures be invisible yet powerfully affect our lives? Are there enough resources in the world for everyone to thrive? What or who determines what is "normal?" How does getting married or divorced affect outcomes in life? Why is it that all over the world for all of known history people have been religious? How and why does being religious influence peoples' actions? And so on. Those who apply themselves to wrestling with these kinds of issues and questions will discover how interesting and important sociological analysis can be. And in the process they will come to understand much more fully their own personal life experiences.

As a result of active participation in this class, students ought to be able (1) to "see" and think sociologically about many different social problems, experiences, and events; and, as a result, (2) to contribute to informed discussions about important aspects of the human social experience in their lives and communities, this country, and the world beyond.


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