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Course Information:

Meeting Time and Place:

Section Days Time Place
1 Monday, Wednesday & Friday 8:00 8:50 a.m. 206 Kethley
4 Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10:00 10:50 a.m. 204 Kethley


Professor: Dr. Alan Barton  
Office: 201F Kethley Hall  
Telephone: 846-4097  

Office Hours:

During Spring Semester, 2006, the professor holds regular office hours at the following times:


9:00 – 10:00 am, 11:00 – 12:00 noon, 5:00 - 6:00 pm
Tuesday 2:15 – 3:45 pm
Wednesday 9:00 – 10:00 am, 11:00 – 12:00 noon
Thursday 2:15 – 3:45 pm

9:00 – 10:00 am, 11:00 – 12:00 noon

If you cannot make one of these times, contact the professor to set up an appointment.

Course Web Page:

You can find the most up-to-date information pertaining to the course on the course web page.  Check the web page periodically for announcements, changes to the syllabus and information about the course.  The web page is located at:

Course Materials:

Reading and writing are important elements in this course, as they are in the discipline of sociology.  The following materials are REQUIRED.

Course Text:

Richard T. Schaefer. 2006. Sociology: A Brief Introduction. 6th Edition. McGraw Hill, Boston, MA.  ISBN: 0-07-296158-9.

Course Reader:

Ralph B. McNeil, Jr. and Kathleen A. Tiemann. 2005. Intersections: Readings in Sociology. Pearson Custom Publishing, New York, NY.  ISBN: 0-53-693871-7.

Writing Notebook:

A composition notebook, college ruled, with at least 40 sheets.  The bookstore sells one that is suitable, the Roaring Springs Paper Products Writing Notebook, "The Original Marble Cover–80 Sheets."

The text, reader and writing notebook are available at the campus bookstore.  You should purchase the text and reader, or otherwise make arrangements to access the course reading assignments.  YOU MUST PURCHASE A COMPOSITION NOTEBOOK.

    • Click here for tips on how to study the course readings.

Course Overview:

This course introduces you to concepts in the discipline of sociology.  We will primarily study how and why humans organize themselves into large and small groups, focusing on how sociologists study group behavior.  The course covers the general rubrics of social structure, social action, and social change, presenting theories that sociologists use to understand these dimensions of social life, and empirical research upon which these understandings are based.  We will use many practical examples from a variety of settings to understand inequality in social organizations.  You will have many opportunities to read about, write about, and discuss these topics over the course of the semester.  Please read the assigned readings before the class meeting for which the chapter is assigned, and come to class prepared to discuss the material in the readings.


Course Organization and Approach:

Sociology 101 uses a participatory, learner-centered, adult education approach.  This approach recognizes that YOU are responsible for your own learning.  The instructor can only provide opportunities to learn, but cannot force you to learn.  Course material is presented in substantive readings from the text; topical readings from the reader; lecture; and class discussions.  You are expected to work hard in this course; for every hour of class time, you should spend at least two to three hours outside of class preparing by doing readings, assignments, studying for exams, and thinking about the course material.

You are expected to take responsibility for the success of the course, that is, you should take an active interest not just in the course material, but in the course itself, making it a success for all participants.  Factors such as interest, motivation, creativity, and initiative are important elements in evaluating your performance in the course and assigning a grade.

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Learning is least useful when it is private and hidden; it most powerful when it becomes public and communal. Learning flourishes when we take what we think we know and offer it as community property among fellow learners so that it can be tested, examined, challenged, and improved before we internalize it.

                                                                                                       ~Lee Shulman

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Course Objectives:

After you successfully complete this course, you will be able to:

(1)  Identify and explain three sociological paradigms, and apply them to understand particular social issues and problems;

(2)  Define important sociological concepts, explain important sociological theories, and describe sociological research methods;

(3)  Explain how sociology has developed and changed through history;

(4)  Explain the connections between social structure, social action, and social change;

(5)  Identify 5 important social institutions, and explain the relationship between institutions and individuals;

(6)  Describe how current issues are shaped by social conditions and social structure.

These objectives contribute to overall course goals:

(1)  Developing critical thinking skills.  The discussions, readings, writing assignments and quizzes are designed to encourage you to develop and use higher-order thinking skills, including analytical, synthetic, comparative and applied thinking.

     • Click here for more information on thinking critically.

(2)  Understanding the social structures and processes that condition our lives.  A basic goal of all sociology courses is to help you understand the nature and workings of these social structures, and how they open opportunities and impose constraints on individuals operating within these structures.  Sociologist C. Wright Mills called this using your "sociological imagination;" activities in this course are designed to encourage you to use your sociological imagination.

     • Click here for more information on the sociological imagination.


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16.9% of Mississippians have a college degree.  For the U.S., the figure is 24.4%  (Source:  U.S. Census, 2000). 

When you finish your degree, you will join an elite group.  What is your strategy for finishing your degree? 

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”  Luke 12:48 

Will you be ready to live up to the responsibilities of a college graduate?

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Course Policies:


YOU are responsible for learning the course material and for your progress in the course.  You are expected to attend class regularly and complete all of the assignments.  You are expected to know all material presented during class sessions, whether you attended the class or not.  If you miss a class session, you should check with another student to see what you missed.  “I didn’t know” is NEVER a valid excuse.  If you don’t know something, it is your job to find out.

Learning Opportunities:

Assigned work is designed to provide you with learning opportunities, and you are responsible for completing all of the assigned work in this course in a timely fashion.  All work is due at the time specified; no late assignments will be accepted, and missed assignments generally cannot be made up.  If you miss class or an assignment, you are making a choice that prioritizes other activities above the class, and you will receive a grade of zero for any assignment that you fail to turn in.

ALL work that you submit (except in-class work) should be typed/word processed.  If you submit a paper with more than one sheet, please attach all sheets with a staple or paper clip BEFORE you bring the assignment to class to turn in.  The instructor will NOT ACCEPT work that is handwritten or that has multiple pages that are not attached with a staple or paper clip.


You are expected to attend all class sessions and activities. 
Please make sure that you sign the roll sheet at each class meeting, as this will serve as official documentation of your attendance.  If you miss class, you must document your absence, or points will be deducted from your grade (See the information on grading attendance).  Please notify the instructor IN ADVANCE if you must miss class.  It is in your interest to provide the instructor with written notification (e.g. a note or e-mail) to document any missed classes.  It is risky simply to tell the instructor and expect him to remember.

Illnesses and Emergencies:
Illnesses and emergencies MUST be documented with a note from a doctor or other professional.  You should bring the note to the next class meeting and submit it to the instructor.  Illnesses and emergencies pertain only to the student, not to the student’s family, friends or others. 

University Activities:  If you must miss class for an official university activity, you should make arrangements with the instructor BEFORE the missed class.  Appropriate documentation is required.

Making Up Missed Work:  If you miss an exam or other assignment due to a documented illness, emergency or official university activity, a make up will be given at the end of the semester.  The make-up exam may use a different format, such as an oral exam with the instructor or an essay exam.

You are responsible for all material presented in all classes, even during an excused absence.  You should get class notes from another student for all class sessions you miss.

Class Participation:

Class participation is an important element in this course.  The purpose of class discussions is to provide you with an opportunity to practice thinking skills in a safe environment. 
In discussions, you are encouraged to explore ideas presented in the readings and lectures, to think about and apply concepts, and to develop arguments and evaluate evidence.

If you repeatedly engage in disruptive behaviors during class discussions, you will be asked to leave the classroom.

  • You must demonstrate appropriate respect for the opinions and ideas of other students during class discussions.  It is acceptable (and encouraged) to disagree with the perspectives of other students or the instructor, but you should phrase this to show disagreement with the idea or opinion, not with the person presenting the idea or opinion.  If you repeatedly show disrespect for other class members, you will be asked to leave the classroom.
  • Class discussions are NOT a time to chat with other students about topics not related to the course.  Talking privately with other students while the rest of the class is trying to carry on a discussion is disruptive, bothersome, and disrespectful to other students and to the professor.  If you repeatedly speak when you do not have the floor, you will be asked to leave the classroom.
  • Class is NOT a time to catch up on your sleep.  If you are not prepared to stay awake and participate in class discussions and other activities, you should not come to class.  If you continually fall asleep during class sessions, you will be asked to leave the classroom.

If you are asked to leave the classroom for disruptive or disrespectful behavior, you cannot make up any work that you miss as a result.

Electronic Devices (Cell Phones, Pagers, etc.):

Please make sure that all cell phones, pagers, and similar electronic devices are turned off during class time.  If your phone or pager repeatedly interrupts class, you will be asked to leave the classroom.

DO NOT bring cell phones or other portable communication devices to class during exams or in-class assignments.  If the instructor sees a cell phone or other device during an exam or in-class assignment, you will receive a grade of zero on the exam or assignment, and you will be asked to leave the classroom.

If you must have a cell phone or pager (e.g. if you are a volunteer fireman or emergency responder), you MUST make arrangements with the instructor in advance.

Academic Honesty:

You are expected to comply with all academic standards and ethics as defined in the DSU Bulletin and Handbook.  You are expected to do your own work in this course.  Plagiarism, fraud and other forms of cheating will NOT be tolerated.

You should be fully aware of the Course Policy on Plagiarism and Cheating.  If you are suspected of cheating in this course, your case will be assigned to the Division of Social Sciences Academic Honesty and Ethics Committee.  The minimum sanction for a first offense will be a 10 point deduction or a zero on the assignment, whichever is greater.  Repeat offenses will result in stiffer sanctions, including dismissal from the course with a grade of "F."  In addition, a report will be filed with the Chair of the Division of Social Sciences, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and DSU's Vice President for Academic Affairs.

IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO UNDERSTAND THESE GUIDELINES.  Make sure you know what constitutes plagiarism and cheating BEFORE turning in any assignments.  Once you turn in an assignment, you are representing it as your own work.  If you are suspected of committing plagiarism, pleas of “I didn’t know what plagiarism was” will not be accepted.

If you are not sure what constitutes plagiarism, see the DSU Library's "Plagiarism Prevention: A Guide for Students."  The Course Policy on Plagiarism and Cheating also outlines examples of plagiarism.  If it is still unclear, see the instructor.

Special Accommodations:

Appropriate accommodations will be made for students with medical problems or diagnosed disabilities.  Have Dr. Richard Houston at Reily Student Health Center (846-4690) contact the course instructor to make arrangements.


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An international study of 13-year-olds ... found that Koreans ranked first in mathematics and Americans last. When asked if they thought they were "good at mathematics," only 23 percent of the Korean youngsters said "yes" compared to 68 percent of American 13-year-olds. The American educational dogma that students should "feel good about themselves" was a success in its own terms though not in any other terms.

                                                    ~Thomas Sowell (quoted in J.M. Henslin, 2004)

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Learning Opportunities:

The following exercises are assigned to assist you in learning the principles of sociology:

(1) Attendance (10 points)

• You are expected to attend all class sessions.  Please arrive on time.
• If you miss class frequently, or show up late to class, this suggests a lack of interest in the course material, and this will be reflected in your final grade.
• Make sure you sign the attendance sheet at each class session.
• See the course policy on absences (above).

Additional Resources:

• Click here for information on how attendance is graded.

(2) Critical Engagement (10 points)

• You are expected to engage actively in all class discussions and classroom activities, and ask questions about the readings, lectures, and other substantive course material.  If you do not ask any questions in class over the course of the semester, you can expect a score of zero on this element.
• Please do not come to class meetings unprepared (i.e. not having done
- and thought about - the assigned readings).

Additional Resources:

• Click here for tips on taking effective notes.
• Click here for tips on getting the most out of class sessions.
• Click here for more tips on getting the most out of class sessions.
Click here for tips on how to study the course readings.

(3) Informal Writing (20 points)

• You must purchase a composition book similar to the one indicated in the required materials section above.
• Keep up with the informal writing assignments in your notebook.
• Leave your composition book in the box in class after each class session.
• The purpose of the informal writing assignments is to provide you with opportunities to practice writing, and to help you think about the course material prior to lectures and discussion.
• You are expected to do your own work on these essays.  The policy on plagiarism and cheating will be enforced with no exceptions.

Additional Resources:

• Click here for tips on writing for this course.
• Click here for an explanation of the informal essays and grading.

(4) Discussion Questions on Readings (20 points)

• The articles you read in the course reader will be used as the basis for class discussions
• Bring 5 questions to class pertaining to each article.  Your questions can be about points in the reading that are unclear, or they can be about how the readings illustrate theoretical points from the text.
• Your questions should by typed, and submitted to the instructor at the end of the class session.  If you do not attend the session, submit your questions to the instructor before class, either by e-mail, by leaving a copy in the instructor's mailbox, or by sending them with another student.
• During the class session, you will be organized into discussion groups.  You will meet with this group and discuss your questions.  You then will develop three discussion questions based on the assigned reading and the questions group members brought to class.
• Once all groups have developed their discussion questions, you will ask one of your questions of the class, to stimulate a class discussion on the reading.
• Good discussion questions relate and apply the course material from lecture and the text to the practical aspects in the course readings.

(5) Midterm Exam (20 points)

• There will be a midterm exam on March 3.
• The midterm exam will consist of 40 questions.  The format of the questions will be multiple choice, true/false, and matching terms.  See the link below for examples of the types of questions on the midterm.
• Each correct response is worth 1/2 point.
• Bring a Scantron form no. 882-E and a No. 2 pencil to the midterm exam.
• The exam tests your ability to absorb and synthesize course material presented in the readings and lectures.
• The midterm exam covers all course material presented since the beginning of the course, including readings, lectures, discussions and other activities.

Additional Resources:

• Click here for suggestions on studying for the midterm.
• Click here for sample exam questions.

(6) Final Exam (20 points)

• The final exam will be given during the regularly scheduled time.  Graduating seniors will be given an alternate exam during Dead Week.
• The final exam will consist of 40 questions.  The format of the questions will be multiple choice, true/false, and matching terms.
• Each correct response is worth 1/2 point.
• Bring a Scantron form no. 882-E and a No. 2 pencil to the final exam.
• The final exam covers all course material presented since the midterm exam, including readings, lectures, discussions and other activities.

(7) Course Engagement (+/- 10 points)

• A total of 10 points may be added or subtracted from your final grade to reflect the degree of engagement in the course that you exhibit.
• Engaged students demonstrate qualities such as motivation, extra effort, interest in the course material, leadership, improvement over the course of the semester, and a professional approach to their studies.
• Lack of engagement is manifested by frequent absences, talking with others or dozing off in class, lack of interest in the course material, lack of preparation, and infrequent participation in course activities.

Additional Resources:

• Click here for tips on developing good study habits.


Your grade in this course is based upon your performance in the course.  That is, your grade will reflect what you do.

Computing Your Grade:

Your final grade in the course will be calculated as follows:

• There are a total of 100 points available for the semester.  Your final score is simply the sum of all points earned over the semester.
• If you accumulate 90 or more points during the semester, you will get an “A” in the course.  If you accumulate 80 to 89 points, you will get a “B,” for 70 to 79 points you will get a “C,” and for 60 to 69 points you will get a “D.”  If you get less than 60 points, your final grade will be an “F.”
• Note that you start with zero and earn points; you do not start with 100 and lose points.

If you comply with all course requirements and submit all of the assignments satisfactorily and on time, you can expect a “C” in this course.  To receive a higher grade, you must demonstrate a superior grasp of course material and an ability to apply the material in productive ways.  It is also helpful to show an interest in the course material and in learning, a professional approach to your studies, and an achievement-based orientation.

Note that you simply cannot pass this class unless you attend the lectures and discussions regularly, as a substantial portion of your grade depends on attendance and active participation in class activities.


Course Outline:






Introduction to Sociology


Course Introduction; Review Syllabus;
Course Policies and Expectations



Sociological Themes Schaefer Text
Ch. 1, pp. 1–9, 14–26


Sociological Imagination


Martin Luther King Holiday
Sociological Thinkers Schaefer Text
Ch. 1, pp. 9–14


The Sociological Imagination C. Wright Mills, "The Promise"
Intersections Reader, pp. 12–23; Bring Discussion Questions


Social Research


The Scientific Method and the Social Sciences

Schaefer Text
Ch. 2, pp. 27–36
Methods of Social Research Schaefer Text
Ch. 2, pp. 36–49
Theory and Methods Robert K. Merton, "The Bearing of Empirical Research upon the Development of Social Theory"
Intersections Reader, pp. 41–58; Bring Discussion Questions


Structure and Culture


Basics of Social Structure
Social Institutions Chart
Schaefer Text
Ch. 5, pp. 106–117
Cultural Building Blocks Schaefer Text
Ch. 3, pp. 53–58, 62–68
Understanding Culture:  Role Play Schaefer Text
Ch. 3, pp. 58–62, 68–78







Social Structure, Social Change, Social Action


Social Structure and Social Change George Ritzer, "The McDonaldization of Society," Intersections Reader, pp. 129–145; Bring Discussion Questions
Social Structure and Social Action Schaefer Text
Ch. 5, pp. 102-106; 117–125
Social Movements and Social Change Schaefer Text
Ch. 16, pp. 423–429; Ch. 14, pp. 379–385


Social Change


Technological Bases of Social Change
Technology Chart
Schaefer Text
Ch. 16, pp. 429–443
Population and Poverty Donella H. Meadows et al., "The Driving Force: Exponential Population Growth"
Intersections Reader, pp. 24–40; Bring Discussion Questions
Demographic Bases of Social Change Schaefer Text
Ch. 15, pp. 388–398




Learning Social Roles Schaefer Text
Ch. 4, pp. 79–92
The Effects of Socialization Kingsley Davis, "Final Note on a Case of Extreme Isolation," Intersections Reader, pp. 73–83; Bring Discussion Questions
Agents of Socialization Schaefer Text
Ch. 4, pp. 92–99


Understanding Social Structure


Emergent Properties

Emile Durkheim, "What is a Social Fact?" Intersections Reader, pp. 1–11; Bring Discussion Questions

Types of Groups
Primary & Secondary Groups Chart
Schaefer Text
Ch. 6, pp. 128–135

Midterm Exam








Social Control


Formal Organizations and Bureaucracies Schaefer Text
Ch. 6, pp. 135–142

Deviance and Social Control

Schaefer Text
Ch. 8, pp. 172–191

Authority and Obedience Philip Meyer, "If Hitler Asked You to Electrocute a Stranger, Would You? Probably," Intersections Reader, pp. 98–109; Bring Discussion Questions

Spring Holidays




Stratification and Social Inequality


Stratification and Poverty in the United States Schaefer Text
Ch. 9, pp. 202–222

Social Groups and Stratification

Max Weber, "Class, Status, Party," Intersections Reader, pp. 84–97; Bring Discussion Questions

A New Global Order: Stratification in the World System Schaefer Text
Ch. 9, pp. 222–235


Social Relations


Prejudice and Discrimination

Schaefer Text
Ch. 10, pp. 239–249


Institutionalized Discrimination

Schaefer Text
Ch. 10, pp. 249–255

Race and Ethnicity in the United States Schaefer Text
Ch. 10, pp. 255–267


Social Relations and Social Institutions


The Effects of Racial Discrimination Joe R. Feagin, et al., "Black Students at Predominantly White Colleges and Universities: The Rhetoric and the Reality," Intersections Reader, pp. 59–72; Bring Discussion Questions

Gender Roles, Sex Discrimination, Women's Movement

Schaefer Text
Ch. 11, pp. 270–285

Marriage and the Family Schaefer Text
Ch. 12, pp. 299–308







Social Institutions


Diversity and the Family Schaefer Text
Ch. 12, pp. 309–324

Functions of Religion; Religious Markets;

Schaefer Text, Chapter 13, pp. 325–343



Social Institutions


The Protestant Ethic & Capitalism None

Functions of Schools; Role of Schools in Society

Schaefer Text, Chapter 13, pp. 343–355

Issues in U.S. Education Jonathan Kozol, "Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools," Intersections Reader, pp. 110–128; Bring Discussion Questions


Social Institutions


Types of Authority; Power and Pluralism

Schaefer Text, Chapter 14, pp. 366–377

Economic Systems; Economic Change Schaefer Text, Chapter 14, pp. 359–366
Corporations in the Global Economy Schaefer Text, Chapter 14, pp. 377–379, Chapter 6, pp. 142–146  Chapter 7, pp. 163–168

Sociology in Practice

Social Change None

Sociology as a Profession


The Value of Sociology
Course Evaluation


Final Exam

Tue. 5/9

FINAL EXAM, Sec. 1 (MWF 8:00 – 8:50 am)

8:00 am, 206 Kethley Hall

FINAL EXAM, Sec. 4 (MWF 10:00 – 10:50 am) 8:00 am, 204 Kethley Hall


Be prepared; don’t give up

See what others have to say about preparation

See what others have to say about perseverance

Grading Course