Syllabus_Soc112_Spring11 - Sociology 112 Social Interaction...

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Sociology 112: Social Interaction Spring 2011 Classroom: 106 Fetzer Hall Class Hours: Tu/Th 3:30 – 4:45 Instructor: Amy Lucas 267 Hamilton Hall [email protected] Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:00 to 3:00 Course Description This course is designed to introduce you to the basic sociological concepts underpinning the study of social interaction. As the title of our primary text suggests, we will be going “inside social life” to explore the ways people create, make sense of, reproduce, and/or challenge the meanings and experiences of everyday life. Throughout this course, we will use a theoretical perspective known as “symbolic interactionism,” which views humans as continually engaged in the process of seeking and creating meaning through interaction with others. In particular, we will focus on understanding the “rules” of social interaction and how social behavior is negotiated as a learned, but often unrecognized, process. Our starting point will be the social construction of “the self,” i.e., personal identity. As the semester progresses, we will give increasing attention to the ways that individual action both shapes and is shaped by social contexts and institutional structures. In particular, we will examine the role of identity in producing social interaction, looking at patterns of interaction through the lenses of gender, race, and class. We will also examine the interplay between various levels of social interaction, particularly between the individual and the institutional settings of social life. To end the course we will spend some time explicitly linking micro patterns of interaction within macro social structures, paying specific attention to the distribution of power and privilege.
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Course Goals The goal of this course is to stimulate thought about what we take for granted as “natural” in the social world, so that we may think more critically about the ways our own social interactions both reinforce and challenge the cultural practices and social institutions which constrain those very interactions. By doing so, I expect us to work toward the following goals: We will learn to think about social interaction in a sociologically mindful manner. This means we will ask why people do what they do, think, and say during social interaction and what the consequences are of these actions. We will learn to understand how meaning and experience of everyday life are maintained, reproduced and challenged. We will learn how identities, interactions, and institutions are socially constructed. We will learn to appreciate the connection of identities, interactions, and institutions to issues of power, privilege, and oppression. We will learn how to critical engage and evaluate the subject matter, our classmates, and
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Syllabus_Soc112_Spring11 - Sociology 112 Social Interaction...

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