Let's get social.
Sociology: where you learn that you can totally tell your teacher that you didn't do your homework because you've been systemically oppressed.
Okay, so maybe that wouldn't fly with your teacher. But this course will give you insight into all the ways society influences your attitudes, beliefs, values, and behavior.
Shmoop's introduction to sociology is a semester-long elective, aligned with Florida social studies standards, that covers the major topics in the field of sociology. From culture and socialization to the role of technology in connecting modern society, we'll explore the ways in which you're just one cog in the wheel of the educational machine. (That does not mean you can slack off in our course, by the way.)
By the end of this course you'll know
- what exactly makes up a culture. Hint: it has nothing to do with Picasso and Mozart.
- how you were socialized to think that girls like pink and boys like blue.
- the biggest social institutions at work in the United States.
- how power, authority, economies, and politics work. They're complicated.
- what makes us all different: race, religion, ethnicity, social class, age. They're also complicated.
- how the wheel of social change gets going.
And a lot more.
So for anyone who has ever wanted to stop class to debate gender in music videos, point out the difference between prison and jail, or finally share a chart that explains why bacon-covered mac and cheese can be high-culture, we welcome you.
Course BreakdownPurchase units individually
Unit 1. Building a Foundation
Let's introduce ourselves to the field of sociology. Sociology, it's nice to meet you. During this intro class we'll be discussing the not-so-basics: the development of the field of sociology, research methods, its big boy founders Marx, Comte, and Durkheim, paradigms, the sociological imagination, and all that fun stuff.
Unit 2. Culture, Socialization, and Groups
What is "culture"? Well, it's not wearing a top hat and monocle to the opera—and this unit will expound upon that. Unit 2 is about the way people tick, especially when they're in groups. We'll dissect sub-cultures, group identity, socialization, cliques, primary and secondary groups, and if you're formed by your innate nature or the circumstances around you. At the end of this unit, not only will you be a culture know-it-all, but you'll be able to form a whole sub-culture of peers who've been nurtured to be interested in culture too. (...You'll understand this joke soon, don't worry.)
Unit 3. Race, Religion, and Gender
Have you ever felt exasperated while filling out forms or paperwork about all the categories you're arbitrarily stuffed into? Race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion...what do all these things even mean? In Unit 3, Shmoop will get to the bottom of some very tricky issues: the differences between major world religions, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, and prejudice and discrimination. What you'll find will shock you—mostly because so much of these things aren't biological; they're social constructions.
Unit 4. Social Structures and Social Control
Shmoop doesn't have any beef with dreaming, but Unit 4 is going to debunk a lot of the ideas about fairness and social mobility you hold dear. "Social stratification" is the way that societies tend to divide into systems of social standing, and this unit focuses on how inequality is perpetuated through de facto discrimination, economic stratification, and the way we sanction crime and deviation. Plus, we'll also discuss how you're basically trapped into the same fate your parents and grandparents had before you. Fun American dream-stuff like that.
Unit 5. Politics and Power
Let's look at Politics and Power as more than "What makes a Democrat and a Republican?" (Though don't worry—we'll address that.) The world is run on an ornate system of power and authority, and Shmoop is here to address that with you. We'll discuss the secret strategies of voting, systems of government and types of leaders, and global injustice, stratification, and poverty. You know—lightweight stuff.
Unit 6. Agents of Social Change
Facebook, television, Instagram: this unit is all about agents of social change, from urbanization and population growth to the miracles of the media and technology. We'll take those glorious insights about social groups, power, and stratification and see how those concepts combine in the case of collective action and social change. The course is capped off with the opportunity to research a social issue of your choice.