Contemporary Career & Elective Courses / Sociology II: Your Social Life

Sociology II: Your Social Life

Why do people disagree on so many big issues? Where do culture wars come from? Maybe you’ve wondered this as you’ve looked through your social media feed or read the latest online article about groups fighting over different social issues. Sociology II: Your Social Life takes a powerful look at how social institutions like families, religion, government, and education shape our world and how collective behavior and social movements can create change. Although the reality of the battles isn’t always pretty, gaining a clearer picture of the different sides can help you better understand how our lives are shaped by entertainment, social institutions, and social change.

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Course Highlights

  • Explore how social change can happen in society.
  • Analyze the effects of cities, population growth, and urban life on society.
  • Examine the benefits and effects of sports and entertainment.
  • Investigate the influence of religion, education, and other organizations on society.

Units at a Glance

Unit 1: Marriage and Family

In this unit, we will discuss the social institution of the family. We will examine different family arrangements around the world and the functions that families provide for individuals and society. We will also discuss different patterns in marriage and mate selection as well as look at how factors like race and class affect families. Finally, we will investigate the increase in divorce in North America and what factors may contribute to this.

Unit 2: Religion and Education

This unit focuses on the social institutions of religion and education. We will discuss what religion is and what functions it provides to individuals and society. In addition, we will examine several different types of religious organizations. We will also discuss what functions the educational system provides to society and how this social institution can reinforce social inequalities in society. Finally, we will look at the growth of online education and its benefits and issues for society.

Unit 3: The Economy and Politics

In this unit, we will examine the two social institutions known as the economy and politics. We will discuss the characteristics of capitalism and socialism and look at how the economy is changing in recent years. We will also investigate several different types of government structures and ways that people gain authority in society. Finally, we will look at several models of power and how government policies affect our everyday lives.

Unit 4: Sport and Entertainment

In this unit, we will examine the role and effects of sports and entertainment, particularly the mass media, on society. We will look at how sports are used to socialize children and how they reinforce assumptions of gender and race. We will also discuss the functions that the mass media provide to individuals and society and how the mass media reinforces traditional assumptions of social class and other inequalities. Finally, we will investigate the controversy over violence in the media.

Unit 5: Population and the Environment

In this unit, we will examine the study of population or demography. We will learn the basic concepts of demography and discuss some of the theories of population growth. In addition, we will discuss some of the trends in population from around the globe. In doing so, we will examine some of the effects that population growth has had on the environment and how the culture of North America contributes to environmental problems. Finally, we will discuss what human society can do to minimize environmental harm through culture.

Unit 6: Cities and Urban Life

In this unit, we will discuss the history and development of cities, including the recent increase in the size and number of cities. We will examine the structure of modern cities and some of the trends and patterns that can currently be seen in the world today, including urban decline, the growth of the Sunbelt, and sprawl. Finally, we will examine the patterns of behaviors and attitudes for city dwellers.

Unit 7: Collective Behavior and Social Movements

In this unit, we will examine collective behavior, including crowds, mobs, riots, fads, crazes, and panics. We will discuss theories about why these types of situations happen and some examples of each type. We will also investigate what social movements are, what types of social movements exist in society, and why they develop in society. Finally, we will look at the lifecycle of social movements to learn more about what makes them fail or succeed.

Unit 8: Social Change

In this unit, we will examine social change in society. In doing so, we will discuss some common causes of social change, look at how scholars have explained the patterns of social change, and explore why some people resist social change in society. We will also discuss the concept of modernity and examine what changes have occurred since the Industrial Revolution. Finally, we will examine theories of modernization in developing nations and the characteristics and issues of postmodern societies.

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