introduction to sociology

Topics: Sociology, Social constructionism, Human rights Pages: 7 (3477 words) Published: October 2, 2014
YORK UNIVERSITY - Department of Equity Studies - COURSE SYLLABUS

AP/HREQ 1040 6.00A – Power and Society: Critical Issues in Social Science

Term: Y - 2014-2015

Instructor: Dr. Claudio Colaguori e-mail: office: 328 Atkinson Bldg.

Lecture Location and Time: 135 Vanier College – Thursday afternoons from 2:30 to 4:30 pm (plus tutorial before or after class) – Our course runs from September 11, 2014 to April 2, 2015 inclusive.

Tutorial Times and Locations:
Tutorial # 1 Thursday 1:30pm in VC 107A       Tutorial # 6 Thursday 4:30 pm in SC 220 Tutorial # 2 Thursday 4:30pm in ACE 003       Tutorial # 7 Thursday 1:30 pm in Ross S201 Tutorial # 3 Thursday 1:30pm in SC 205        Tutorial # 8 Thursday 4:30 pm in Ross S133 Tutorial # 4 Thursday 4:30pm in CB 115       Tutorial # 9 Thursday 1:30pm in SC 214 Tutorial # 5 Thursday 1:30 pm in VC 119        Tutorial # 10 Thursday 11:30 in MC 049

Course Description:
This course introduces students to various ways power relations exist in the organization of our society. It covers themes such as human nature and socialization, culture, consumerism, mass media, social control, race and colonialism, the environment, public health and globalization, among others. The course consists of four segments each with its own thematic focus. The course inquires into areas such as: ‘What are the primary concerns and points of focus within critical social science’? ‘What is the role of culture in the formation of self and identity’? ‘How can we understand some of the main social problems in the emerging global society’? “What social forces maintain the inequalities and problems in our society?” The main course theme is that the social reality we live in is not an inevitable formation, but rather is a “socially constructed reality” – this means that our society develops as the product of powerful social forces, and subsequently is always involved in processes of continuous change brought about by human action. The course provides an understanding of the power dynamics that shape our social realities, and approaches issues from a social justice perspective. The course challenges many “taken-for-granted” beliefs people often make in their understanding of how society works. Part of this challenge involves taking a critical approach to issues, and to question commonly held assumptions about self and society, culture and human nature. The critical social science approach inevitably poses difficulties to many students who are called upon to look at the society with which they are familiar in new and often controversial ways. Through ‘conceptual analysis’, students are invited to develop analytic thinking skills which allow for a rigorous examination of the course themes, and the development of a critical understanding of the social world. It is essential that students be in regular attendance at lectures and tutorials, and to complete the required readings before each class so that one is prepared to understand the lectures and films and to engage in the tutorial. Course themes include the following topics:

The ‘Social Construction of Reality’ Thesis / society as a human invention Culture, Socialization and Human Nature
Power, Ideology and Social Justice
Mass Media, Consumer Culture and Popular Ideology
Popular Constructions of Gender – Media Representations of Masculinity and Femininity Competition as a basis of power
Race, Racism and Imperialism
The Environment – Mass Production and Mass Destruction
Globalization as Progress and Regress

Note: This course satisfies part of your General Education degree requirement, thus it involves: a significant component of writing
the development of critical thinking, reading and writing skills an interdisciplinary approach to a variety of issues
a broad and inclusive approach to the subject matter
Required course materials:
1) One course reading kit, available at the York Bookstore consisting of selected...
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