SO303 Contemporary Sociological Theory

Syllabus, Fall 2004


Goals for you in this course. Mastering basic ideas of several key social thinkers of the current and past century will be your major task. Through this you will learn more about sociology and will also have the opportunity to improve a number of intellectual skills. Grappling with understanding concepts and theories and comparing their worth will help you develop critical thinking skills.Presenting your ideas, listening and responding to your colleaguesí ideas, and writing short papers and essay quizzes will all help you communicate more effectively. Through using theories and concepts to make sense of specific social issues, you will scrutinize your society through more discerning eyes.


Specific tasks on which you will work.

>Every week you will read a short assignment from the text and/or handout and the definitions

ofseveral words from the Dictionary.

>In class you will discuss ideas your have read, ask questions about what you have not

†† understood, and work with colleagues to apply your ideas to specific situations. Opinions are††

†† invited.

>Written quizzes every other week will give you the opportunity to assess your

†† understanding of thetheories and concepts.

>A short written assignment every other week will give you the opportunity to apply and

†† evaluate the ideas.


The books.

>Allan G. Johnsonís book, The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology,2nd edition.This was published by†††† Blackwell Publishers in Malden, Massachusetts in 2000.

>Berch Berberogluís text, An Introduction to Classical and Contemporary Social Theory:A

CriticalPerspective, 2nd edition, published in 1998 by General Hall, Inc., in Dix Hills, New

†† York.


Earning the Grade.

>Each week you may earn as many as 50 points as follows:

††††††††††† 30 @ 5 = 150 points for written work, brought to class, demonstrating reflection and


††††††††††† 5 @ 25 = 125 points for informed and thoughtful participation in discussion, and

††††††††††† 30 @ 6 = 150points for demonstrating mastery on short written quizzes.

>One of six quizzes will be excluded from consideration.This may be a missed quiz or the

worst among six if all six are taken.One of six papers will be similarly dropped, missed or

worst paper.

>Two class meetings may be missed for whatever reason without loss of points.

>On the final exam, which is comprehensive, a total of 75 points may be earned.

>The grading system is:

††††††††††† A is 90-100%,B 80-89, C70-79,D60-70, and F is below 60%




Cautionary notes.

>Being in class and being prepared are necessary. There is no makeup for participation.

Written work handed in late will receive reduced credit.

>Cheating, in the form of copying anotherís work or plagiarism, will result in failing the course

and may further result in a recommendation of dismissal from the University.






SO303 Contemporary Sociological Theory

Schedule for 2004



Week .

Text reading to be completed by the first meeting of the week.Dictionary words will be assigned in class. Additional material will be handed out most weeks.

Your notes and record






Ch. 10 Parsons, Mertonand Functionalist Theory




Mills and the Sociological Imagination-handout




Ch.12 Mills on the Power Elite




Ch. 13 Domhoff on the Power Structure and the Governing Class




Mannheim and the sociology of knowledge-handou



Ch. 7. Gramsci, p 60-4

Ch.14 Althusser, p 108-9



Ch.17. Wilson and Willie on Race, Class, and Poverty



Handout: Dorothy Smith and standpoint theory




Handout: the Frankfurt School Ė critical theory




Ch. 18 Wallerstein and World Systems Theory












Tuesday: share best paper

Thursday:review for final



finals week

Final Exam




Quiz dates: ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Paper due dates:

Q1 -†††† 1/23†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† P1 - ††† 1/27

Q2 -†††† 2/12†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† P2 -†††† 2/17

Q3 -†††† 2/26†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† P3 -†††† 3/9

Q4 -††† 3/18†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† P4 -†††† 3/23

Q5 -†††† 4/1†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† P5 -†††† 4/6

Q6 - ††† 4/15†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† P6 -†††† 4/20