Office Hours: Tuesday, 11:00-13:00
(and by appointment)
This course provides a general introduction to basic sociological concepts, issues and perspectives. While introducing the student to the history of sociology as an academic discipline and its relations with other social sciences, the course focuses on a number of broad areas of human action and social organization such as culture, economy, politics, education, religion, etc. The course employs a comparative cross-cultural perspective and provides the bases for understanding major sociocultural changes occurring in today’s dynamic world. In this context, we consider such processes as modernization, globalization, secularization, socioeconomic development, bureaucratization, and the emergence of the “information society”.
FORMAT & Objectives
The course has primarily a lecture format, but it involves―and encourages―discussion in class. That means that lectures will be very interactive and students’ participation is essential for making the best of the learning experience. Typically, the first part of the class will be a lecture and the second part will be devoted to discussions of theories, trends, cases, or other issues pertaining to the course. The main objectives of this course are to introduce students to key sociological concepts and perspectives, provide an opportunity for them to develop their sociological imagination and enhance their rational critical thinking as well as encourage them to participate in discussions about various important social issues.
Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach (10th Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson, 2012), by James M. Henslin.
Imagjinata socilologjike dhe bota jonë sociale (Tiranë: Onufri, 2014), by Fatos Tarifa
Regular class attendance at UNYT is mandatory and essential as is careful prior reading of the assigned materials. Absences will generally not be excused, since students are allowed to miss up to 3 hours per semester without affecting the attendance grade. In addition, students should refrain from arriving late; otherwise the hour will be counted as an absence. It is very important that students do the readings before class as the lectures will usually build upon the assigned readings, picking up on issues of particular importance and discussing them in a comparative framework.
Written & Oral Assignments and Deadlines
Your grade in the course will be determined on the basis of your participation and your performance on written and oral assignments.
Exams: There will be one midterm exam and a final exam consisting of essay questions.
Coursework: There will be 1 take-home assignment on the readings and class discussions.
▪ Assessment criteria: The final grade will be composed as follows:
30% midterm exam
20% oral presentation
45% final exam
|Letter||%||Generally Accepted Meaning|
|D+||67-69||Not Acceptable (failing)|
|F||50-1||Failing Grade (partial credit)|
|0||Non-Submission or Plagiarism|
Academic Dishonesty: UNYT does not tolerate academic dishonesty. Read the UNYT Student Honor Code for a more detailed description of plagiarism and cheating.
Conduct: Students are expected to behave with appropriate etiquette toward faculty and one another. Cell phones should be silent before class begins and they should not be used until class is over.
Learning Difficulties: If you feel that you have any exceptional learning difficulties or other serious problems that interfere with your studies, please make an appointment with the UNYT Counseling Office.
Orientation and Explanation of Course Format
The Sociological Perspective
The Origins of Sociology; Sociology and other Sciences
Values in Sociological Research
The Main Theoretical Perspectives in Sociology
Trends Shaping the Future of sociology
Culture and Socialization
What is Culture?
Components of Symbolic Culture
Cultural Universals and Cultural Diversity
American Culture; Subculture and Counterculture
Culture and Technology
Socialization and Its Agents
Individuals as “Prisoners” of Socialization; Resocialization through the Life Course
Social Structure and Social Organization
The Macrosociological Perspective: Social Structure and Social Institutions
The Microsociological Perspective: Social Interaction in Everyday Life
What is a Valid Sociological Topic?
Common Sense and the Need for Sociological Research
A Research Model
Sociological Research Methods
Ethics in Sociological Research
Societies to Social Networks; Bureaucracy and Formal Organizations
Societies and their Transformation (Durkheim)
Groups within Societies (Marx)
Group Dynamics (Simmel)
The Rationalization of Society (Weber)
Formal Organizations and Bureaucracy
Deviance and Social Control
What is Deviance?
Three Perspectives on Deviance: Symbolic Interactionism, Functionalism, Conflict Theory
Social Reactions to Deviance
Systems of Social Stratification
What is Social Class? What Determines Social Class?
Sociological Models of Social Class (Marx vs. Weber)
Consequences of Social Class
How do Elites Maintain Stratification?
Poverty and Social Mobility in Contemporary Society
Global Stratification: Three Worlds?
Sex and Gender in Society
Contemporary Issues of Sex and Gender
Learned Gender: Models of Gender Socialization
Gender Inequality in the United States
Gender Inequality in Global Perspective
Gender Inequality in the Work Place
Gender and Violence
Homosexuality: Shifts in Major Theoretical Approaches
Race and Ethnicity
What is Race? What is Ethnicity?
Racial, Ethnic, and Sexual Prejudice and Discrimination
Theories of Prejudice
Global Patterns of Intergroup Relations
Race and Ethnicity in Europe and the United States
Racial and Ethnic diversity in Today’s Globalized World
The Dynamics of Pluralizing Modernity
Marriage and the Family
Marriage and Family in Historical Perspective
Marriage and Family in Comparative Cross-Cultural Perspective
The Functions of the Family
The Family Life Cycle
Diversity and Trends in U.S. Families
Divorce and Remarriage
Cohabitation―an Alternative Form of Marriage?
The Future of Marriage and the Family
Education and in Contemporary Society
The Development of Modern Education
Education in Global Perspective
Functionalist, Conflict, and Symbolic Perspectives on Education
Education in Europe and the U.S.
Religion in Contemporary Society
What is Religion?
Symbolic and Conflict Perspectives
Protestantism and the Spirit of Capitalism (Weber)
The World’s Major Religions
Religion in the United States and Western Europe
Politics and Religion
Secularization of Society and the Future of Religion
Population and Urbanization: Global Demographic Challenges
Population in Global Perspective
New Malthusians and anti-Malthusians
A Shrinking Europe vis-à-vis the Third World’s Demographic Explosion
The Development of Cities; Models of Urban Growth
Global Cities as the Main Centers for the Export and the Processing of Capital, and for Global Investment Decisions
Cities and City Life
Urban Problems and Social Policy