Your participation is critical to the success of the class and a key component in your grade. Come to lecture prepared to ask questions. Come to precept prepared to discuss the week's readings and lectures.
Every week you're expected to do a memo of no more than 200 words on an assigned topic. Before starting to write, do all of the week's readings, even if your memo primarily addresses only one of them. Use the memo to identify an issue, develop an idea, or take a position, and be prepared to kick off a discussion in precept about the points you make.
For the first precept (the week of September 16), please bring your memo and hand it in to the preceptor. At that first meeting, preceptors will say how they prefer to receive memos from then on. Some preceptors may prefer to get them by email the day before you meet.Sociology 101 will have a midterm and a final examination. Each examination will include both short IDs and essay questions. More details about the format will be provided during the semester.
Grading: Midterm (30%), Final (40%), Precept [including memos and participation] (30%)
Week 1 (9/16-9/20): Keeping in mind the general theme of "Us and Them" and, in particular, Robert Putnam's assigned article, please compare two short music videos about America. The first is "Way Out Here" (2010, with Josh Thompson), which has been described as an unofficial Tea Party anthem. The second, which you can start at 2 minutes 45 seconds into the film, is the World War II era short "The House I Live In" (1945, with Frank Sinatra). Because of space limits, focus on just one or two points.
Week 2: Pick one question:
C. Wright Mills's "The Promise" might bring to mind a quotation from Star Wars: "Never tell me the odds!" In that classic film, Han Solo made this statement as he was flying through an asteroid field. C-3PO had just told him the odds of flying through it without being smashed. Please reflect on these words as they relate to Mills’s essay. In your response, make direct reference to Mills's argument and explain the implications of Han Solo's words for it.
In what way is William Ogburn's "Folkways of a Scientific Sociology" a brilliant prediction of how social science would evolve in the twenty-first century? In what way is it out of date?
Week 3: Take a concept from Goffman (e,g. tie signs or facework) and show how it would apply to social network sites, on-line forums, or other aspects of social life on the web?
Week 4: What role does power play in creating social order from the perspective of any two of the theorists considered this week (Hobbes, Smith, Marx, and Weber)?
Week 5: Tell us your best "strength of weak ties" story. Explain the concept of the strength of weak ties, and then think about instances in your life where you have found an opportunity through people who are more "socially distant" from you than your family or close friends. At the time, you might have said these were "lucky breaks" or "coincidences." How can you use the theory of the strength of weak ties to explain those lucky breaks sociologically?
Week 6: no memos (midterm).
Week 7: What does social class mean and what difference has it made in your own experience?
Week 8. Do Myrdal, Clark, Moynihan and the assigned Supreme Court opinion in Brown v. Board of Education each exemplify Mill’s idea of a “sociological imagination”? If so, how? If not, why? (In answering the question, please make at least brief reference to each of these pieces by author’s last name or the Court.)
Week 9. Pick one of the following readings: Schumpeter, Dimaggio and Powell, Bell, or Benkler. Discuss how a specific mechanism of change analyzed in the reading is affecting some aspect of American society today.
Week 10: No precepts this week.
Week 11. Identify a taken-for-granted or neglected situation in everyday life. Define the situation (including how each of the actors in the situation defines it) and focus on interactional dynamics as well the self, and how the self evolves and unfolds through the interactions. Think about process.
Week 12: Compare and contrast Jane Jacobs's ideas about urban life with Wilson and Kelling's "Broken Windows" theory. Which do you find to be more convincing?
Mitchell Duneier is the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology. After he dropped out of both Northwestern University and the New York University School of Law, it seemed to Mitch's parents and friends that he could never finish anything. But FINALLY he shocked them all upon completing a doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago, which was simultaneously published as Slim's Table. He went on to write Sidewalk and Introduction to Sociology(with Anthony Giddens, now in its 10th edition). In 2011, Mitch taught Princeton's first on-line Coursera class for students in a 113 different countries but recently announced that he would stop offering it. His other courses of the past few years have included "Sociology from E-Street: Bruce Springsteen's America" and "The Global Ghetto," a Princeton seminar that meets in Rome, Venice, and Warsaw. In 2009, he received an honorary bachelor's degree from Northwestern University.
Paul Starr is professor of sociology and public affairs and Stuart Professor of Communications and Public Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction and the Bancroft Prize in American History for The Social Transformation of American Medicine (1983) and the Goldsmith Prize for The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications (2004). Co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect magazine, he writes on current issues in American politics and society and served as a senior health adviser to President Clinton in 1993. His most recent books are Freedom' s Power (2007) and Remedy and Reaction (2011, revised ed. 2013).
Sharon Cornelissen is originally from the Netherlands. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts and Sciences at University College Utrecht and her M.A. in Sociology at the New School for Social Research before entering the graduate program in sociology at Princeton. An urban ethnographer, she is finishing a project on "dumpster divers" (people who collect their food from retail trash), for which she did participant-observation fieldwork in New York City.
Erin Johnston received her B.A. in sociology and psychology at Rutgers University before entering the graduate program in sociology at Princeton. Her primary interests lie at the intersection of the sociology of religion and culture. She is currently studying the social transmission of spiritual practices through case studies of classes and training programs offered at a Catholic prayer house, a yoga studio, and a Wiccan coven.
Allison Kenney received her B.A. in Public Policy Studies and German Languages and Literature from Duke University. After a year in Essen, Germany as a Fulbright Fellow, she worked for three years at Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy. As a graduate student at Princeton, she is pursuing research in the sociology of education, organizational studies, and leadership.
Jeff Lane received his B.A. from Wesleyan University. He is an urban ethnographer in the graduate program at Princeton, studying the intersection of street life and Internet use in Harlem, where he lives with his wife. Jeff is also the author of Under the Boards (University of Nebraska Press, 2007) on the production of race and masculinity in the basketball industry.
Arum Park received her BA and MA in Sociology from Seoul National University. Her research interests include the sociology of technology and culture, especially questions concerning the Internet, online communities, and the digital divide. Before entering Princeton's graduate program in sociology, she worked as an intern at the Internet Addiction Prevention Center in Seoul, Korea.
Lauren G. Senesac received her in B.A. Sociology and Computer Science at Furman University before entering the graduate program in sociology at Princeton. She currently studies community biology labs as an emerging organizational form and has additional interests in information technology policy and social networks.