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Course Description

Humans are inherently social—we enjoy spending time in groups with other people. When we interact, we also influence each other. We build social systems, like governments and companies. Students will investigate these aspects of human existence in order to better understand how and why societies work the way they do.

Unit 1: Introduction to Sociology

This unit introduces sociology by providing a brief history of the discipline and explaining what sociologists do. In addition, this unit introduces three basic approaches to sociology: functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interaction.

Unit 2: Socialization

This unit introduces the idea of socialization by exploring the nature versus nurture debate, the effects of growing up in a culture, and group socialization. Furthermore, it considers branches of culture like the dominant culture, subcultures, and countercultures.

Unit 3: Social Institutions

This unit introduces social institutions and discusses how they work to help with the socialization of members of a society. You will learn about the social institutions of marriage and the family, religion, schools, and sports. Furthermore, you will learn about the unique ways that each of these institutions works as a transmitter of cultural values, norms, and traditions.

Unit 4: Class Differences

This unit introduces the idea of social stratification and the hierarchy of the class system. You will learn how the social institutions discussed in the previous unit. Furthermore, you will learn about the nature of poverty and the social welfare system that is in place to help the poorest among us.

Unit 5: Race

In this unit you will learn the sociological definitions of race and ethnicity and describe how those definitions differ from the way the terms have been used in American society. You will learn about some of the diverse groups that make up American culture and the struggles some of those groups still face today. You will also learn about racism, racial stereotyping, and discrimination.

Unit 6: Gender and Gender Issues

In this unit you will learn the sociological definitions of sex and gender and the traditional roles that go along with those definitions. You will also learn about gender stereotyping and the role that gender plays in socialization. You will cover the way functionalist and conflict theory approach gender and learn about feminism.

Unit 7: Social Deviance

This unit explores crime, criminals, and punishment in order to show that people who commit crimes do not always fit the stereotypes our society has of criminals. You will also learn how a society’s rules are developed and how these laws work within the system of social control. And finally, you will learn the strategies that society uses to teach us all to conform, at least most of the time, to all the rules.

Unit 8: Population, Urbanization, and Collective Behavior

In this unit, you will learn how demographers study population, including the size of a population, distribution, age structure, fertility, mortality, and migration. You will also see that a concern over the growing world population has been around since at least the 1700s, when an English economist wrote about the relationship between population and the economy. You will see how the industrial revolution began a trend called urbanization, where people moved to population centers to be close to their jobs. Finally, you will learn about the effect of the growing world population on the environment we all count on for survival.

Course Details

  • Date September 27, 2012
  • Tags High School Electives, Social Sciences
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