Sociology

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Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, communities, and societies, and how people interact in these contexts. Since human behavior is shaped by social factors, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the family to education; from crime to religion; from the divisions of race, social class, and gender to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from environment and sustainability to   the sociology of sports. Few fields have such a broad scope and relevance for research, theory, service, and the application of knowledge. The Sociology Department emphasizes engaged pedagogy, critical thinking, theoretical and methodological understanding, service learning, and the application of theory to practice. Sociology majors have the opportunity to be involved in research, sustainable community development, and law enforcement, as well as local community service projects. Since many sociology majors continue their education in graduate school, the department seeks to prepare them    for success at the graduate level. Others often utilize their sociology degree for work in community development, human and community services, the business world, and a wide variety of careers that involve problem- solving and gathering, organizing, and analyzing information (i.e., data). The department sponsors the local chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honors Society.

The Department of Sociology requires majors to:

  • understand basic theories and concepts in sociology
  • design a research or community engagement project.

For more information about the Sociology major leading to a teaching certification, please contact the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education.

Degree Type: Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Program Contact: Assistant Professor John Johnson

 

Majors and Minors

Classes

SOC113 : Modern Social Problems

This course is designed to offer a description and analysis of selected social problems, their causes, effects, and social responses to these problems.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC121 : Introduction to Social and Criminal Justice

This course is an introduction to the philosophical and historical background of law enforcement agencies, processes, purposes, and functions. It includes an evaluation of law enforcement today, including current trends in social and criminal justice. This course provides an overview of crime and the criminal justice system: Police, Courts, and Correction.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC211 : Community

This course is designed to introduce students to the role of communities in the creation of society. It will offer a critique of contemporary social mobility. Please note that this course employs service learning and therefore involves significant work outside of the classroom.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC213 : Marriage and Family

This course is designed to offer a sociological and historical analysis of the institution of marriage in the United States, with an emphasis on the changing structure of marriage and family in a contemporary context.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC218 : Cultural Diversity

This course is designed to introduce students to the diversity of human cultural experience in the contemporary world, and to cultivate students’ cultural awareness and sense of global citizenship. Over the course of the semester, we will explore sociological approaches to the study of culture, investigate the relationships between culture, identity (race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and religion), and society, overview trends in development and globalization, and examine human rights issues in a global context.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC220 : Equality and Social Justice

This course is designed to examine social justice in relation to the economy, racial paradigms, political structures, and past and present social welfare policies. A specific emphasis will be placed on government responses to inequities in American society.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC302 : Social Thought

This course will explore many of the foundational social thinkers who have framed how we understand contemporary social life. It will explore themes including industrialization, capitalism, democracy, nationalism, individualism, religion, sex, race, postmodernity and globalization.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC304 : Contemporary Sociological Theory

This seminar is designed to examine the contributions of contemporary sociological theory to the understanding of the main structures, processes, and contradictions of modern societies. Whereas classical theory courses primarily focus on the works of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, this course will offer a broader range of theorists, beginning with the microsociological thought of Schutz and Blumer, and ending up with many of the postmodern questions being asked by theorists like Immanuel Wallerstein.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC306 : Social Movements and Social Change

This course is designed to examine the origins, dynamics, and consequences of social movements through both sociological theory and empirical case studies.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC309 : Sociology of Religion

This course is designed to offer students a classical understanding of the sociology of religion and a contemporary look at ways in which religion is used in society.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC311 : Ethics in Social and Criminal Justice

This course examines the many difficult decisions that social and criminal justice professionals make in an environment of competing interests. The decision-making of criminal justice professionals is often impacted by their ethical dilemmas. Emphasis is placed on addressing moral issues and concerns of our justice process in personal, social, and criminal justice contexts.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC121.

SOC319 : Work and Organizational Sociology

This course is designed to introduce students to the societal assumptions of work and organizations and the role of work and organizations in perpetuating or solving social inequalities.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC324 : Law and Society

This course is designed to expose students to the theoretical frameworks from sociology that are used to examine how the law shapes society and society shapes the law. We will begin by reading and discussing how various theoretical traditions understood the role of law in society, whose interests they saw the law serving, and the law’s role in societal transformation. We will apply these theoretical perspectives to current legal issues and policies. The approach we will take to studying the law will emphasize the social, political, cultural and historical aspects of the law, rather than studying the law through legal doctrines, statutes or judicial opinions (though at times these aspects of the law will be raised). From this vantage point, this course will enable students to understand how the law influences and is influenced by social change, social reproduction and inequality (including race, class, gender, and sexuality). We will also analyze the role of law in contemporary legal issues related to these topics in order to understand and evaluate how the law seeks to achieve certain objectives such as compliance, deterrence and social control. Finally, as many students may have an interest in pursuing a legal career, we will examine how the legal profession and the field of law have changed over time and the enduring hierarchies and divisions that have remained.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC121.

SOC326 : Punishment and Alternatives

This course critically examines the purposes, outcomes, and effectiveness of the contemporary US criminal justice system. It will incorporate not only comparative perspectives approaches, but will encourage student to (re)imagine effective and just alternatives to punishment. Criminal justice areas covered include: policing, corrections, incarceration. We will explore policing, corrections, incarceration using retributive, restorative, transformative, and abolitionist frameworks to punitive criminal justice through an intersectional lens of racial, economic, and gender justice.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC121.

SOC328 : Criminological Theory

This course will focus on examining sociological explanations of crime and how these theories relate to empirical evidence and social policy. We will begin by asking the question, “What is crime?” From there, we will look at how crime is measured and what general patterns emerge from previous surveys of criminal behavior. Next, we will dive into the heart of the course: investigation of the various explanations of crime and the implications these theories have for crime control policies and social change. Finally, we will conclude with a discussion about what the future holds for crime and social control in American society.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC121.

SOC330 : Sociology of Sport

This course is designed to give students a basic understanding of the role of sport in human life through social theories, methods, and research findings of sociological inquiry.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC335 : Sociology of Appalachia

This course is designed to introduce students to the culture, economics, politics, families, literature, and religions of the Appalachian region.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC355 : Environment and Sustainability

This course is designed to help the student think about the environment, sustainability, and the role of society and culture in determining how we will survive and prosper on this planet. Please note that this course employs service learning and therefore involves significant work outside of the classroom.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC360 : Sociology of Health, Illness, and Healthcare

This course is designed to examine the U.S. health care system from a critical perspective. It will consider the system in comparison with developed and developing countries, the culture and practice of medicine, inequalities in the U.S. and global health contexts, and alternatives. The course will address the social meanings of health, illness, mental health and will give attention differences between health care and sick care.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC365 : Education for Social Change

This course is designed to offer students sociological explanations of the racial and ethnic, class, and gender inequalities that are reproduced within education and focuses on critical pedagogical theories and practices that promote social justice and social change.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC373 : Class and Stratification

This course is designed to provide a survey of major sociological theories and research on inequality in modern societies, with emphasis on the contemporary United States. We will examine: the distribution of wealth, status, political power, and other valued resources; the structure and effects of class, race, gender, and other modes of social differentiation; social mobility; and the reproduction of inequality.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC375 : Tutorial Topics

The study of a special topic in sociology. Required as preparation for students interested in pursuing study through the Oxford Program at Georgetown College. Please consult department chair for current offerings.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

one course in sociology and permission of the instructor.

SOC380 : Race and Ethnicity

This course is designed to introduce students to a sociological overview of issues pertaining to race and ethnicity in the United States.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC390 : Gender and Society

This course is designed to offer an explanation of the social construction of gender. The central themes of the course will be changes and continuities in gender roles within the United States, social processes that influence our lives and our gender identities, and the connections between gender, power, and inequality.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC400 : Community and Economic Resilience

This course is designed to explore the challenges of empowering communities in a world marked by marginalization, disempowerment, globalization, and injustice. Topics to be covered include worldview issues that influence our understanding of poverty and development; a framework for transformational development; an overview of contemporary development theory; and the development practitioner. Please note that this course employs service learning and therefore involves significant work outside of the classroom.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC403 : Criminal Procedure

This course focuses primarily on the constitutional issues confronting law enforcement and suspects during a criminal investigation as a result of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It covers the law of search and seizure, self-incrimination, and the right to counsel as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court. Attention will also be given to differences in these areas between the U.S. Supreme Court and the law of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It covers important selected procedural issues that arise during the prosecution of a criminal case, including double jeopardy, discovery, pretrial hearings, jury selection, confrontation, and the ethical responsibilities of a prosecutor.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC121.

SOC405 : Development and Globalization

This course is designed to introduce the student to how sociologists approach the study and practice of development. It explores cross-culturally how local populations have responded to development; the different topics of development, such as agriculture and rural development; and the ways sociological knowledge is applied in addressing development problems.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC415 : Food, Health, and Environment

This course is designed to look at the food we eat, the way we think about food, and the need for reform in our overall understanding of food. Particular attention will be paid to concerns such as food insecurity, food safety, environmental and health impacts, as well as the role of food systems in perpetuating systemic inequality. Please note that this course employs service learning and therefore involves significant work outside of the classroom.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC420 : Research Methods for Community Change

This course is designed to provide an overview of the history, theory, and methods of participatory community-based research for social change. Communitybased research (CBR) is a collaborative, change-oriented approach to research that equitably engages all partners in the research process and recognizes the unique strengths that each brings. CBR is research that is conducted with and for, not on, members of a community. CBR begins with a research topic based in the needs of communities, and has the aim of combining knowledge with action and achieving social change on behalf of disadvantaged communities or groups. Please note that this course employs service learning and therefore involves significant work outside of the classroom.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC425 : Aging in Mass Society

This course is designed to offer a comprehensive study of the dimensions of aging from young adulthood through the senior years. Particular emphasis will be placed on the analysis of problems related to aging with exploration of possible solutions, including social services.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC427 : Social Network Analysis

This course is designed to provide an introduction to social network analysis. Special attention will be paid to the theories behind this research, but this class will also provide an introduction to the theoretical concepts and methodology of social network analysis from a research perspective. Although technical in a certain sense, the course will not require any mathematical background.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC435 : Social Justice Through Folk Music

This course is designed to explore stories of injustice, social action, social movements, and social change through the perspective of folk music.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118.

SOC440 : Independent Study

Emphasis on independent research.

Credit Hour(s)

1 - 3

Prerequisites

one course in sociology and permission of the instructor.

SOC445 : Social Research Methods

Social science research methods focus on issues of social and behavioral research design, covering such topics as the relationship between theory and research, the ethics of social science research, units of analysis, identification of variables and statement of hypotheses, sampling, measurement, and modes of social observation.

Credit Hour(s)

3

SOC460 : Internship in Applied Sociology

Supervised internship experiences in the application of sociological concepts in selected organizations.

Credit Hour(s)

3 - 6

Prerequisites

one course in sociology and permission of the instructor.

SOC470 : Topics

The study of special topics in sociology.

Credit Hour(s)

1 - 3

Prerequisites

SOC111 or 118