Theories and concepts in sociology

lpols1234  2018-2019  Louvain-la-Neuve

Theories and concepts in sociology
4 credits
30.0 h
Zune Marc;
Main themes
This course will approach the most familiar issues in Sociology and Anthropology from the point of view of action analysis. Particular attention is given to the following topics: 1. action within interpersonal interaction - social construction of space (frontstage, backstage, barriers) - social construction of time (time lived, temporal metrics, speaking turns, etc.) - role adoption and self-presentation - meetings, shared knowledge, context 2. Group action: - birth, sexuality, kinship, marriage, death - socialisation: learning the rules, habitus, relationship between culture and personality etc. - Organisational theories: strategies, power (legitimacy and processes), identity (professional, family, etc.), regulation - Technical mediation - conformity, deviance, stigmatism 3. Social action: - social structures: classes, social status, social stratification - technical relations to nature and division of labour - Theories of economic exchange: gifts, markets, distribution, exploitation, embedding - Theories of the state (stateless societies, forms of legitimacy, elitism, pluralism, etc.) - Theories of culture and religion (myths, totemism, standard sociological theories of the phenomenon of religion, etc.) - social change: class struggles, social movements - theories of history (evolutionism, diffusionism, historical particularism, etc.) 4. Epistemology: - the debate on explaining vs. understanding (broad outline) - the defining features of Sociology and Anthropology as compared to other disciplines - sociological and anthropological paradigms

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 Whereas the first year BAC 1 course introduces students to Sociology and Anthropology through social issues typical of modern societies, this second year BAC 2 course aims instead to give students theoretical and conceptual skills (at a mid-level of abstraction and systematicity) in both disciplines. In particular, students are expected to develop: - an understanding of the major theoretical issues in Sociology and Anthropology: power, culture, economics, social integration, socialisation, change etc - an ability to analyse social action on a number of (micro, meso, macrosociological) levels - a basic ability to place the concepts within a wider range of possible theories.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
There will be emphasis on learning the basic concepts within the sociological and anthropological tradition. The course teacher will: 1. widen students' understanding of socio-anthropological culture by giving non-Western and non-modern examples, and encouraging them thus to adopt a comparative approach 2. show that sociological and anthropological approaches offer multiple explanations 3. demonstrate a simple approach to tackling epistemological questions, the methodologies being the subject of specific courses in BAC 2 and the metatheoretical debate of a specific course in BAC 3. 4. introduce basic concepts used in Anthropology within a sociological perspective, without encroaching on the contents of the specific Cultural Anthropology course given in BAC 2 At least one ECTS will be devoted to theoretical text reading related to the subjects studied in the course.
Other information
Course entry requirements: Students should have taken Sociology and Anthropology I Evaluation: The course will be examined through an oral examination.
  • Luc Van Campenhoudt, Introduction à l'analyse des phénomènes sociaux, Paris, Dunod, 2001.
Teaching materials
  • Luc Van Campenhoudt, Introduction à l'analyse des phénomènes sociaux, Paris, Dunod, 2001.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Bachelor in Sociology and Anthropology

Bachelor in Human and Social Sciences

Minor in Human and Social Sciences

Minor in Sociology and Anthropology