Sociology 204

Lane Community College
Spring 2005
T/R 11:30-12:50
Bldg. 19...Room 232

Office....................................419F Center
Office Hours......T/R 10-11 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.

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

Beginner's Central
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......83-86 (Good)
B-.....80-82 (Good/Fair)

C+....77-79 (Fair)
C......73-76 (Fair/Basic)
C-.....70-72 (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)

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)

3/29-3/31............1. Introduction/TSS/Course Objectives (Online)

4/05-4/12............2. Definition/Sociological Concepts (Online)

4/14-4/21............3. Sociological Perspective (TH 1)

4/26-5/03............4. Sociological Research(TH 2)

5/05-5/12............5. Culture and Society (TH 3)

5/17-5/19............6. Socialization (TH 4)

5/24-5/26............7. Social Interaction (TH 5)

5/31-6/02............8. Social Groups & Organizations (TH 6)

5/31-6/02............9. Conclusion (Online)

Assignments and Instructions


There will be five(5) Analysis Papers...each worth 20 pts...for a total of 100 pts. Topics can be found HERE


There will be an TAKE-HOME QUIZ...worth 50 points. The Quiz is HERE


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


There will be an Internet Assignment worth 50 points. Instructions are HERE.


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

Due Dates

4/05-------------Analysis Paper #1 Due
4/19-------------Take-Home Quiz Due
4/26-------------Analysis Paper #2 Due
5/12-------------Analysis Paper #3 Due
5/19-------------Internet Assignment Due
5/24-------------Analysis Paper #4 Due
5/31-------------Movie Review Due
6/02-------------Analysis Paper #5 Due
6/09-------------Final Exam Due (10-11:50 AM)

Summary of Points in the Course

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

400 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


Sociology 204
Spring 2005
Take-Home Quiz
Sociological Concepts and Definition of Sociology

Some of the following statements are True and some are False (as indicated). Write a short paragraph (2-4 sentences) explaining WHY each is T or F. Don’t just give a definition (i.e. the definition of ..... is, so it has to be F or T). Rather, explain or reason your answer through or from the definition. Each question is worth three (3) points = 45 points.

1. The root meaning of “critical” is to be negative, to find fault, and to judge severely. (F)

2. “If we act as if...or believe...something is true, it become true for us”...refers to the Thomas Theorum (T)

3. To claim that the name for or description of something is NOT that “something” an epistemological claim. (T)

4. The primary characteristic of paradigms...which makes them questionable as accurate portrayals of that they are limited and partial views of that reality. (T)

5. A logic system (tools for knowing) is something we’re born with rather than being taught to us. (F)

6. As defined and used in this course, the root opposite of ignorance is intelligence. (F)

7. To maintain that our previous experiences have nothing to do with what and how we perceive things is an example of critical thinking. (F)

8. As a tool of critically understanding social reality, presupposing refers to deciding, before investigation, what something is about. (F)

9. The opposite of empathy is ethnocentrism. (T)

10. The only meaning of “obvious” used in this class is that which is plainly self-evident. (F)

11. It can be inferred from Kessel’s definition of Sociology that individuals and groups are two entirely different entities. (F)

12. To say that “meaning” presupposes a “meaning-maker” which presupposes particular values which presupposes particular a radical analysis. (T)

13. “Purple cows” it relates to paradigms...represent everything and anything that falls outside the frames or boundaries of a paradigm. (T)

14. The primary purpose or benefit of “bracketing” one’s values in an educational setting (or anywhere else) is that it keeps them safe and sound and free from possible change. (F)

15. Realizing that previous actions taken...which seemed unavoidable at the time...were, in fact, a matter of choice or agency...necessitates a critical self-consciousness. (T)

Short Essay (5 points)

Write a short summary essay explaining how these various concepts facilitate the application of the “First Wisdom of Sociology” (“things are not what they seem”) to a sociological investigation of social reality.


1. Due Date: In class on Thursday, April 21.

2. Finished Quiz can be turned in before the Due Date...emailing it is fine, too.

3. NO extensions will be granted on this Quiz.

4. I prefer typed papers, but handwritten is fine...if legible.

5. Don’t go as concise and precise as you can.


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?


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?


Although Quiet Rage's (Stanford Prison Experiment) main theme is incarceration...the pathology of imprisonment, we watched this video focused on two other themes...the methodology and the power of roles in social situations. While the first theme is certainly important, I'd like you to analyze/react to the video in terms of the experiment itself and the dynamic of the role-playing. will be hard to NOT mention the theme of incarceration, do this only in relation to the two other themes (i.e. don't focus on the criminology part). Was it a "good" experiment...should it even had been done...what are the ethical questions, etc. What does the video illustrate about the power of role...for the student participants as well as for the staff? Does this role-playing expand to facets of our "ordinary" short, what did you make of it all?


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 20 points for it. Do less than that and well, lets just say you'll get less than the full 20. 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.