Sociology 204

Lane Community College
Fall 2006
T/R 11:30-12:50
Center 402

Office....................................419F Center
Office Hours............T/R 10:15-10:45 AM
Office Telephone........................463-5187
Voice Mail.........463-3535 (Mailbox 7804)
Home Phone...............................736-0204

David H. Kessel


Please click on each link...You will find answers to most of your questions here...please look here first...before asking me...Thanks.

NEW 204 Discussion Board (NOT required)

LCC Catalog Course Description

Class Policies and General Comments

What you'll need for SOC 204

Course Objectives

Schedule of Topics

Required Reading Materials

Online Reader

Assignments and Instructions

Due Dates

Summary of Points in Course

Grading Scale

Grading Standards

Web Basics
A Tutorial for beginners and veterans alike

Lane Community College

TSS Directory

LCC Catalog Course Description

Introductory Sociology at LCC is split into three (3) 3-credit courses. This is the 1st one:

Soc 204 Introduction to Sociology

Development and application of the sociological imagination, concepts, and perspectives concerning human groups, includes attention to socialization, culture, organization, stratification and societies. Examines fundamental concepts and research methodology.

Grading Scale

A+....98-100 (Exceptional)
A......94-97 (Excellent)
A-.....90-93 (Good/Excellent)

B+....87-89 (Very Good)
B......84-86 (Good)
B-.....80-83 (Good/Fair)

C+....77-79 (Fair)
C......74-76 (Fair/Basic)
C-.....70-73 (Basic)

D+....66-69 (Poor/Basic)
D......60-65 (Poor)

F......??-59 (Needs alot more)

Required Reading Materials

Society in Focus, Fifth Thompson and Hickey (TH)

204 Online Reader

Schedule of Topics

IMPORTANT: For a detailed outline of topics and additional required readings, go to the Online Reader.

(Numbers are chapters in the Thompson/Hickey textbook)

9/26-9/28................ Introduction/TSS/Course Objectives (Online & Handouts)

10/03-10/05............ Definition/Sociological Concepts (Online & TH1)

10/10-10/19............ Sociological Perspective (TH 1)

10/24-11/02............ Sociological Research(TH 2)

11/07-11/09............ Culture and Society (TH 3)

11/14-11/21............ Socialization (TH 4) & Social Interaction (TH 5)

11/28-11/30............ Social Groups & Organizations (TH 6) & Conclusion (Online)

Assignments and Instructions


There will be four(4) Analysis Papers...each worth 25 pts...for a total of 100 pts. Topics can be found HERE


There will be an TAKE-HOME QUIZ...worth 50 points.


You will be asked to sociologically review an entertainment movie...worth 100 points. Eligible Movies are HERE. Movie Review Instructions are HERE


There will be a Take-Home Final Exam...worth 100 points...details in class.

Due Dates

10/03-------------Analysis Paper #1 Due
10/12-------------Quiz Due
10/26-------------Analysis Paper #2 Due
11/16-------------Analysis Paper #3 Due
11/30-------------Movie Review Due
12/07-------------Analysis Paper #4 Due
12/07-------------Final Exam Due (Noon or before)

Summary of Points in the Course

100 Points.........Analysis Papers
50 Points.......Take-Home Quiz
100 Points.........Movie Review
100 Points.......Final Exam

350 Points........Total


You are to pick ONE (1) of the following movies to do your Movie Review on...worth 100 points. I've picked these because each portrays society in a way we can relate to...with, of course, a "sociological imagination."

Each title is a link to a synopsis and review of the movie from All Movie Guide (AMG), pound for pound my favorite movie site on the Internet. You may, of course, use any movie site you like, but AMG is a good one. Click on the title and read about the movie.

After watching your movie sociologically (which is to say...not purely for entertainment, per se), use the following Guidelines to write your Review. These Guidelines are required as the format for your Review, although you can add issues and topics to them, as you wish:

Guidelines for Critical Academic Review of Entertainment Movie

Here are the movies:

The Truman Show



A Bug's Life

The Handmaid's Tale
(Click HERE for an "Essay on Book and Movie" by David H. Kessel

Analysis Paper Topics


Read this short piece, Why Study Sociology? Is this anything like you envisioned sociology? Just how DID you envision it, if at all? What about this description stands out...what do you think of it? In other words, react to this material as a kind of "pre-test" as we begin the class.

NOTE: "Why Study Sociology" is a summary of Chapter 1 of Invitation to Sociology by Peter L. Berger. Although this IS OPTIONAL, there is an Outline of Chapter 1 might want to look this over, too.


On page 3 of the T/H text the authors discuss "the sociological imagination," a term coined by the late sociologist, C. Wright Mills. It's essence is grasping the connections between our society's "history" and our personal "biography"...between "personal troubles" and "social issues." The authors say that it is "essential for sociological understanding, because it places individual behavior in its larger social context."

Also,in our Online Reader you also have some Notes on the S.I....which I wrote as an overview of the sociological imagination. Read these "Notes" which expand on what Thompson/Hickey have to say.

After reading and considering this information, I'd like you to assess the following seemingly "personal" or even "psychological" reactions we all often have. Most, as said, are interpreted as "private" matters that come from "within us." But what I'd like you to do is consider the "social context" in which they happen and are derived.

Provide an answer to each question and then instead of treating them as personally-generated...consider/explain how each can be the result of social interactions (that process of taking and being taken into account by others). I think you'll find that answers given can be linked to our social situations. In other words, use your sociological imagination (look at the bigger picture):

1. What most embarrasses you?

2. What surprises you?

3. What bores you?

4. What most offends you?

5. What pleases you?

6. What most irritates you?



This Analysis paper is about Research. The following link is to a piece of controversial (and "unrespectable") research (a participant observation) by Laud Humprheys in the early 70's. It's called "Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places." It can be found HERE. In it Laud combined many different methods to study the issue of why men go to restrooms, especially Rest Stop rooms, to have a certain kind of sexual activity. His study raised all kinds of critiques about his overall methodology and about questions of ethics. Be warned...the language is explicit, but not unnecessarily so.

What I'd like you to do...after bracketing your feelings and values about the subject matter to analyze it pointing out the various methods he used and the ethical questions (as well as other matters we covered) in this piece of research. Toward the end of the article (which is just a summary by Laud of his entire book of the same name) he helps you do just that...but can you think of any other methods he used?

In addition, there's a short "Focus" about it in the textbook on page 38...and finally, there is a link to an online commentary about it at the top of the article itself.

So, put those brackets in place and read about a fascinating reality...even if offensive to yours or my own "morality." Quite clearly, Laud's study falls firmly into the "Unrespectability Motif"...the study of things not "approved" of in our society, but which, nevertheless, happens. Stick mainly to Research aspects of it...although some commentary about the issue itself is okay to an extent.


As Thompson and Hickey allude to on page 71 (Chapter 3) and the "Culture Outline" (Online Reader) makes more specific, competition is a major component of American Culture...a (if not "the") most consistently socialized social relation in American society. Critique of competition is usually limited to the "amount" of it and followed by advice to cut back. Otherwise, competition is left pretty much alone. Rarely do we find anyone who critiques competition as thoroughly as Alfie Kohn. You have a short summary article*** called "No Contest: A Case Against Competition" linked here and in the Online Reader, in which Kohn discusses four "myths" about Competition. I'd like you to read this piece and analyze it.

***Keep in mind, this is only a very short summary by Kohn. He's written an entire book with the same name. Since he can't mention everything in a short article which he covers in a full-length book, don't assume he doesn't deal with issues you feel have been left out of the article. Instead of criticizing him for not mentioning something, make suggestions about what else needs to be considered.

ALSO: Competition, of course, is one of those "sacred cows" of American culture and is often a very personal issue with us. Strive to bracket your personal views so that Kohn's critique can be examined critically...ok?


Remember those Course Objectives we spent time going over in the beginning of the quarter? Sure you do. Well, bring "closure" to the course, I want you to evaluate YOURSELF as to how well or not what "met" those objectives...yes, all ten of them. This isn't about your's about YOU in relation to what we set out to do in SOC 204. So, evaluate a thorough and serious job and you'll easily get the full 25 points for it. Do less than that and well, lets just say you'll get less than the full 25. By the way, this is the one paper I keep for my records...thanks.

What You'll Need for SOC 204

& SOC 204

You are going to need access to a Computer for this course with access to the Internet. Whether its your own computer, your parent‘s, one in a Lab, a friend's computer, or one at a Library, they're not that difficult to find these days.

That means you'll need to have or to learn a basic minimum of skills in navigating the Internet. It's a tool that's quickly become a necessity in today's world...especially as it relates to academics. If you have no experience in doing this, don’t worry, there's plenty of help available...especially at LCC (Social Science Lab is on the 4th floor of Center Bldg) and on the Internet itself. I've put a link under MEMU (above) to a "beginners" tutorial which takes you through it step by step. I’m also willing to help get you started, if necessary.

Why? Besides being an immensely rich and important source of all sorts of information, the Internet provides the opportunity for providing reading material for academic classes...making materials accessible to anyone...anytime. This also cuts down on the amount of copying necessary...saving paper and money. My own website, The Sociology Shop, will be an integral component of this will have a “room” for our class, links to required reading materials, a Message Board for our class, and the details of the course...including assignments and instructions you will need, plus, of course, due dates. The Online Reader...beyond the, in effect, a substitute for asking you to buy a Reader, thus saving you money. Thus you need to become familiar with The Sociology Shop in general as well as familiar with our “Sociology 204 Room”...which you are “in” right now. We will be viewing it in class on a regular basis.

ALSO, you will need an EMAIL address for this course. There will be occasions I may need to email you individually as well as the class as a whole. Likewise, you may need to email me with questions or information and possibly, an assignment. If you don't have an Email account, please get one is a requirement of the course, not an option. Many are free, such as Yahoo and Hotmail...and these can be accessed on any computer, anywhere. I will be glad to assist you in setting one up...just ask me. IF you already have one (or when you get one), please send me a message (indicating your name---sometimes usernames don’t reveal that) so I can enter your address into my address book and create the class list. Send it to Please pay prompt attention to this matter...Thanks.

I firmly believe in the use of this technology as a teaching and learning's an essential component of the course.