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.



Text BookS


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:

5% attendance/participation

30% midterm exam

20% oral presentation

45% final exam


Letter % Generally Accepted Meaning
     A 96-100 Excellent
      A- 90-95
      B+ 87-89 Good
     B 83-86
      B- 80-82
       C+ 77-79 Acceptable
     C 73-76
      C- 70-72
        D+ 67-69 Not Acceptable (failing)
     D 63-66
      D- 60-62
     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.



General Information


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

Voluntary Associations

Corporate Culture


Deviance and Social Control

What is Deviance?

Three Perspectives on Deviance: Symbolic Interactionism, Functionalism, Conflict Theory

Social Reactions to Deviance




Global Stratification

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

Global Urbanization

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


                                                            FINAL EXAM