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jabag11's avatar

What would a intro sociology class generally cover in junior college?

Asked by jabag11 (670 points ) May 8th, 2011

This is the description for the class.

“An introduction to the theory and scientific methodology of sociology; a survey of the interactions, interrelationships, and processes of society as an organized structure. The course introduces the discipline’s substantive areas including methodology, socialization, culture, social stratification, race, and ethnic minorities, and begins institutional analysis with the family, religion, and education. CSU, UC”

I Don’t understand, can someone please lay it for me in layman’s terms

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5 Answers

naivete's avatar

I just took an intro to Sociology course this past semester.
Here are some things we discussed in class:
What is the sociological imagination? What do sociologists do?
What are the main theories in sociology?
What are cultures? How do they create both freedom and constraint?
How is culture connected to consumerism?
How is culture connected to “rationalization”?
How do we learn to act in society?
Why are there rich and poor, powerful and weak in society? (Social Stratification)
What institutions are most important in shaping our socialization?
What is more important in making us men or women: biology or culture?
How are sexual relations shaped by social forces?
Why are there rich and poor countries?
What, if anything, can we do about global inequality?
Why do we label some behaviours as “abnormal” or “criminal”?
What distinguishes a “good” job from a “bad” job? Which type is more common?
What do terms like “race,” “racism,” “racialization,” and “ethnic group” mean?

Hope this helps.

jabag11's avatar

ha wow thank you so much @naivete this class seems SUPER INTERESTING i cant wait to take itt thanks again

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

From you discription:

“An introduction to the theory and scientific methodology of sociology What is sociology? How do we go about practicing it, in a scientific manner (so not “because I freaking say so, asshole”)?

a survey of the interactions, interrelationships, and processes of society as an organized structure What are the big groupings in sociology (like gender, race, ethnicity, class, etc)? How do people interact with each other (family vs work, close friends vs that guy you play trivial pursuit with, etc)? What does society do (like, building bridges can’t be done by one person, but it can be done by a society)?

_The course introduces the discipline’s substantive areas including methodology, socialization, culture, social stratification, race, and ethnic minorities, and begins institutional analysis with the family, religion, and education. _ Ok, the discipline is sociology. What they’re really saying with this one is that they’re introducing you to how to be a sociologist – it’s like the first point, but more in depth. Methodology is how you go about proving your point – for example, using case studies. Socialization, how we interact with each other. Social stratification, fancy way of saying class (but also applies to things that aren’t technically class, like boss vs employees, priest vs laity, the whole social hierarchy thing, etc). Then you’re going to start digging in a bit deeper into detail, examining family, religion, and education, and how they make up and affect our society.

jlelandg's avatar

A fascinating experiment study for intro sociology and psychology classes: Milgram.

dialectical1's avatar

Sociology can seem a bit dense, partly from the terminology & partly because it deals with a way of thinking most of us aren’t used to. We’re used to explaining stuff based on individual actions & simple processes. If you’re interested in understanding people, or how our society got to be the way it is or even where to begin untangling the problems besetting it, you may well be glad you stuck through the learning curve at the beginning!

You’ll probably be introduced to the major theoretical perspectives used in sociology. Each perspective is a like a lens, which can be picked up & used to better examine different aspects of society. They each have their own framework of understanding, and their own strengths & weaknesses for coming to an understanding of the dynamics of human societies; if you find a particular perspective not to your taste, just remember that they aren’t meant to present a complete understanding of everything, but are hopefully the best we currently have for intensively analysing certain aspects of societies.

They’ll also probably cover methodology, which is the different forms of studies & statistical analysis that are used to gather the data sociologists work with (this didn’t appeal to me personally, but I found the rest of the class fascinating). This might relate to psychology/social psychology, if you find either of those interesting, as sociologists in the field must be aware of and actively compensate for the ways our viewpoints tend to be affected/biased by our social settings.

Someone mentioned the sociological imagination; this is much more than a definition you’ll have to spew back out for tests if you really want to get a lot out of your class. The sociological imagination is being able to look at your own experiences & observations of the world right around you and notice how it has been shaped by much broader social forces. For some things it can be relatively simple, like seeing how your shoes are connected to globalism. (Others are harder, as it involves realizing how your inner self has been affected much more deeply by your culture, class, race & gender than most people would like to acknowledge, but I doubt this will be covered by an intro class.) I find developing a sociological imagination has made my life much richer, and made sociology seem much less dry.

Socialization is how people are molded by the society they live in to fit its values & needs. It’s the process that’s behind a child who, for instance, grows up in Japan, becomes a native participant in Japanese culture rather than Southwestern American culture. Society can’t exist without people, and its specific forms need to have a way to transmit themselves amongst everyone who participates in it.

Stratification deals with the many hierarchies that have developed in societies, most especially our own. You’ll probably begin with hearing lots of statistics about economics, race & gender, & these are important… but I find it’s more important to grasp something else they’re saying; that the society you know & grew up in would probably seem like a strange parallel universe to someone else who was situated at different points along the hierarchies as you. Just like numbers might help sketch out the bare bones of your own life, but would fall horribly short to grasp the world you inhabit, the statistics you’ll probably come across will just show the bare bones that shape the realities of others.

I think there’s all this possibly-intimidating stuff to cover because it’s very easy to apply thinking like “the sky is blue because the sky is blue” to how humans live together, & our thinking needs to shift a bit if we’re to begin to figure out the answers to questions we might not normally wonder about. And all answers are working answers, so you could easily end up coming up with a more comprehensive explanation that the one your teacher gives you!

{Feel more than welcome to ask questions or clarifications about anything, whether or not it was something mentioned here! And if not, have tons of fun in your class! :) }

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