Dr. Tricarico, PhD
Room 121/Medical Arts
(718) 631-6015 -6015
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Sociology is a social science; the scientific study of society. Sociology seeks to understand how human beings live with others. We create social life, including social structures and culture, which, in turn, shape our individual lives. A sociological perspective keeps “the social” in focus as it asks questions about our everyday existence.
This course is an introduction to sociology. An introductory course surveys the academic discipline or field. This course intends to give you a fundamental grasp of the subject matter of sociology. A consistent focus is on the core concepts of culture and social structure; this is highlighted in a “survey” of representative topics: the group and the individual, socialization and the self, the family, gender, and social stratification. The course keeps in focus the science of sociology, that is, the logical and objective approach to the subject matter of society.
Methods of Instruction
The course utilizes a mix of instructional strategies. The course is based on small research projects. The projects are sociological excursions into the everyday social world, involving the collection and analysis of empirical data (see accompanying handout). The whole class will serve as a forum for student presentation of periodic research projects that are the basis of a course grade. A first draft will be presented orally in class. Constructive in-class feedback is intended to guide revisions of the first draft for written submission.
Written work is expected to reference readings in the course text, Intersections: Readings in Sociology, which I have edited (Pearson, 2009). Previous editions are acceptable. The book has been customized for this course; it is assigned to enhance comprehension of the material presented by the instructor. Written work is expected to integrate insights from the readings. It should also reference class lectures and discussion, which means that students should take representative notes in class. Note taking creates a “student text” that complements the assigned text.
There will be regular class meetings in M126 which is a “Smart Room” equipped with Internet capability. This allows access to the Internet for instructional purposes; students are encouraged to utilize the technology in the classroom setting. Smart technology is available to exhibit a range of content including video including the PBS productions “Carrier”, “The Merchants of Cool”, on the subject of youth culture, and “Let’s Get Married”, a documentary on major trends in family formation.
A course grade is determined by computing an average of grades assigned to research projects (presentations and written reports). There will be as many as 5 research projects required for completion of the course.
Contributions to class discussion – defined as enhancing the group learning experience - are factored into the average grade. An optimal group experience is predicated on respect for one another as individuals and the goals of the class. This includes the need to manage potential disruptions from personal technology (cell phones, iPods, laptops, etc.).
Projects must be completed in a timely fashion; this refers both to in-class presentations and written submissions. Students are asked to conference with me if additional time is necessary. Irresponsibility will result in grading penalties. Research Projects with Guide for Writing Papers
Course grades conform to the college’s grading schedule (see QCC Catalogue or Student Handbook).
The college attendance policy is in force, permitting absences that are equivalent to 6 hours of class time (e.g., six 50 minute class meetings). A written explanation is required for excess absences. Persistent lateness must be remedied.
Pertinent questions or comments are, of course, welcome at any time during class. I encourage you to visit my office for matters that pertain to the course. Email is preferred to telephone except during office hours.
Office hours: 2 – 3 PM in M121 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday
TOPIC OUTLINE [with readings]
1 The Subject Matter of Sociology
Defining the “social”: social structures and social interaction (social constraints and social construction)
Social life is patterned
“Finding the general in the particular”
READ: Mills, Durkheim, Putnam, Becker, Kraybill, etc.
Video: “Carrier” (PBS, 2007); “The Amish in Ohio” (YouTube)
2 Culture, Society, and Socialization
Culture is the total way of life of a society
Subcultures: ethnic and youth formations
Culture as the making of meaning within the social group
Culture and change: immigrant group assimilation
The transmission of culture from one generation to another
Biological capabilities and limitations of human beings
Agents of socialization
Secondary socialization and the complexity of modern status passages
READ: Jenkins, Charon, Kraybill, Kinney, Neugarten and Neugarten, Goffman, Tricarico
Video: “The Outsiders – Amish Teens”, Part 5 (YouTube); “The Merchants of Cool” (Frontline, 2001)
A biological and a social institution
Mate selection (patterns)
Family change and new “living arrangements”
READ: Coontz, Ingoldsby, Lareau
Video: “Let’s Get Married” (Frontline, 2002)
4 Stratification / American Social Class System
Types of stratification systems
Class and status: economic and social ranking (Max Weber)
Hierarchies of wealth, power, and prestige
Class and culture: the significance of life-chances and life-styles
READ: Anderson, Lareau, Ogbu, Tricarico