30528 - SOCIOLOGY
Course taught in English
Lezioni della classe erogate in presenza
There are no prerequisites. This is an introductory course.
The purpose of this course is to expose students to the prevailing theories, methods, and research issues of contemporary sociology. The course links key research issues and debates in sociology with research methods and analytic strategies so that students can understand how a sociological perspective contributes to our ability to understand and explain both the macro- and micro-aspects of societies and social organization.
- Power, Authority, Class and Socialization
- Kinship, Community, Groups and Networks
SOCIAL DYNAMICS AND INEQUALITY
- Social Stratification and Social Mobility
- Poverty & Inequality in High-Income Countries
- Global Stratification and Migration
- Public Health, Global Health & Epidemics
THE SOCIOLOGY OF ECONOMIC LIFE
- The Economy as an Instituted Process
- Labour Markets and Labour Movements
- The Global 1%
THE SOCIOLOGY OF POLITICAL LIFE
- The State and its Critics
- Welfare States in Comparative Perspective
THE SOCIOLOGY OF GLOBALIZATION
- Globalization and Challenges to the State
- The Future of States and Globalization
- Think sociologically about world phenomena.
- Differentiate sociological thinking from other disciplines.
- Use conceptual tools from sociology to explain social, political and economic dynamics.
- Apply sociological reasoning and sociological tools so that they can formulate broader or fuller explanations for social phenomena, compared to those offered by other social science disciplines.
- Interpret data in ways that problematize overly simple solutions and rely on strong explanatory frameworks.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
- Individual assignments
Students may elect to write a short paper as an individual assignment (see Assessment Methods).
Three take-home assignments (30% of grade each)
The three take-home essay-style assignments aim to assess students’ ability to apply the analytical tools presented during the course, to develop sociological explanations for different phenomena, and to interpret major social changes in a rigorous way. The questions will draw on the material/theories covered in classes and will invite students to develop arguments based on their own reading and any relevant empirical evidence (no independent data analysis is expected, but it can be employed). The emphasis should be on developing an argument that directly engages with the essay topic; further guidance and instructions to be offered during class 1 (see slides and syllabus).
The maximum word limit will be 1,200 words per question (no minimum). Academic-style referencing is expected, as appropriate. All assignment topics will be available via Blackboard (under “assessment”).
Final exam (10% of grade)
The short final exam will last one hour. On the final lecture of the course, we will provide a list of six key concepts introduced throughout the course, and the exam will present you with two of these: you will have to briefly define them and provide two short examples on how they can be used to explain social phenomena. Each answer should be no more than 200 words (one paragraph).
Optional: Short assignment (0-1 extra point)
Students may elect to write a short assignment on the topic of inequality to boost their grades. This will take the form of a hypothetical ‘explainer’ blog post for a policy think tank. Example topics include: ‘Changing inequality patterns in Italy — here is what you need to know,’ ‘The gender pay gap in Turkey — here is what you need to know,’ ‘The impact of the 2015 refugee inflows on wages in Germany — here is what you need to know’…
The precise topic should be tailored to your interests, as long as it relates to inequality in a meaningful way: you should review the evidence on your chosen topic and weave it together into a coherent narrative (while acknowledging any gaps in our knowledge). Further guidance will be provided in class 1.
Short assignments will be graded as follows: excellent (adds 1 point to your final mark), good (adds 0.5 point to your final mark), poor (does not alter your final mark). Length should be approximately 700 words.
Final written exam (100%)
The final exam includes two types of questions:
- 16 multiple choice questions.
- 2 essay-style questions (7 points each).
The questions cover all topics of the course. Please see mandatory readings and material covered in the lectures.
Students are provided with a selection of readings on the course Bboard site.
Lezioni della classe erogate in presenza
This course is designed to be a broad introduction to the field of sociology. Students encounter some of the most influential theories developed, imagined and used by sociologists to make sense of the social world. We discuss and acquire familiarity with the concepts sociologists typically use in their work, and with some of the core methods sociologists employ to investigate the social world. For instance, students gain an understanding of what sociologists mean when they talk about culture, socialization and social structure, and how sociologists analyse these concepts linking theory and empirical analyses. The course also encourages students to think critically (i.e. as a social scientist, about human life and societies and develop their own questions about social life). Finally, the course pays particular attention to the broad themes of inequality as it pertains to race, class and gender, the digital revolution and the social changes it brought about, and family changes, by adopting a life course perspective.
- What is Sociology?
- Sociological perspectives.
- Asking and answering sociological questions.
- Research methods.
- Social norms.
- Socialization and social interactions.
- Crime and Deviance
- Gender and sexuality.
- Cities and urban life.
- Work and The Economy.
- The life course.
- Stratification and social class.
- Global inequality.
- Race and ethnicity.
- Digital revolution.
- Autonomously and critically search, and understand, sociological research on a wide range of topics, with diverse methodological approaches, linking this research to wider knowledge across the spectrum of social sciences.
- Cast sociological explanatory hypotheses on a wide range of social phenomena, in particular concerning policy-relevant issues, and to sketch research designs useful to test such hypotheses.
- Face-to-face lectures
- Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
- Interactive class activities: in almost every lecture there are interactive class activties, such as role playing, puzzles to be solved in group, designing online surveys.
Students can choose between two options:
- A written exam or two partial exams (each with a 2/5 weight towards the overall grade), plus a short paper, written individually or together with another student (with a 1/5 weight towards the overall grade).
- A written exam, either taken through two partial exams (each with a 1/2 weight towards the overall grade) or one general exam (with a 100% weight towards the overall grade).
- Exams: written exams includes both short answers and essay-style questions. The questions cover theory, and interpretation of the results of applied research. The exam cover all topics of the course. Material covered in the lectures, in the text book and other set readings may be included in the exam.
- Project (optional): the project may be conducted by students working alone or in couple. It is worth 1/5 of your grade. Students working in couple receive the same grade. The grade you obtain in the project is valid for one-year cycle. The maximum length of the project is 1,500 words. You are required to design a sociological research project that can be carried out in two alternative ways:
- Applied project: by using secondary data (Europena Social Survey dataset), statistical analyses, interpreting the results and drawing independent conclusions based on sociological theory and hypotheses.
- Critical review project: by making a review of the literature on a specific topic; comparing results from two papers that adopt different theoretical approaches, and/or methods, and/or study different populations (e.g. countries); highlighting similarities and/or differences; drawing independent conclusions.
- Book: A. GIDDENS, P.W. SUTTON, Sociology, Polity, 8th Edition.
- Readings: a set of readings and lecture slides are available on Bboard.