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Introduction to Sociology

SOCY 122/6.0

An introduction to the concepts, theories and methods of sociological enquiry, and their application to the analysis of Canadian society.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Student will be able to:

  • Analyze and evaluate a variety of social phenomena from a sociological frame to demonstrate a sociological perspective of the world;
  • Apply key foundational principles from the various classical and contemporary theoretical perspectives to analyze the contemporary world;
  • Develop and employ what C. Wright Mills termed “a vocabulary adequate for clear social reflection” to critically assess various classical and contemporary social issues; and
  • Demonstrate their ability to generate written arguments supported with quality academic materials from appropriate databases.


Topics covered in this course include:

  • The Millennials, Knowledge and Culture
  • C. Wright and the Sociologial Imagination
  • The Dialectic of Dynamic, Unstable Social Formations
  • Marx and the Dynamics of Social Change
  • Emilie Durkheim & the Classical Tradition
  • Max Weber and & the Classical Tradition
  • High Culture & the Fear of Mass Culture
  • The Dialectics of Popular Culture
  • Thinking Sociologically
  • Sociology of Work
  • Social Inequality
  • Gender Inequality
  • Gender Inequality and Feminist Sociology
  • Sociology of Deviant Behaviour
  • The Long Shadow of the 20th Century
    • Part I - World War II and Genocide
    • Part II - From Total War to Total Living
    • Part III - The Neo-Liberal World and 9/11


In the first half of the course, students will be introduced to what most sociologists refer to as “the classical tradition” – the foundation upon which all later approaches to sociological analysis developed. Students will begin by exploring themselves as part of a particular “generation” – as "Generation Z." The profile of Generation Z is developed further through the use of what C. Wright Mills termed "the sociological imagination," providing students with a sociological frame of reference to critically examine themselves. That analysis takes place within the context of the opportunities and challenges that higher education provides for today's students. The course then turns to three of the most important, macro-sociological frameworks that constitute the classical tradition – the work of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. The first half ends with an examination of culture and popular culture through the use of two "case studies" - the early work of Bob Dylan and rock and roll.  

In the second half, students are introduced to more contemporary approaches and theories concerning life in the twenty-first century and the focus is on a number of substantive areas—the sociology of work, social inequality, deviant behaviour, war and the making of the modern period, and the nature of the contemporary social world. In addition to introducing students to sociology as a discipline and some of its various sub-fields, students are given the opportunity to develop skills in information literacy and communication. Basic library research skills and critical thinking skills are emphasized in association with sociological analysis. At the end of this course, students should have a solid background in the discipline and be well on the way of transforming themselves from passive information consumers to a critical, knowledge producers.


Fall-Winter 2018-19
Course Dates: 
Sept 6, 2018 - Apr 5, 2019
Exam Dates: 
Apr 11 - 27, 2019


5% - Encyclopedia Assignment
5% - Library Assignment
15% - Annotated Bibliography Assignment (Anatomy of a Research Paper)
12% - Group Activities
8% - Forum Discussions
10% - Online Midterm Exam
25% - Research Essay
20% - Proctored Final Exam

*Evaluation Subject to Change*

Live Sessions

This course has required and optional live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities). Please consult the Timeline in the first week of class.

Final Examination

Students must write their exams on the day and time scheduled by the University.  The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre.  Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.



Instructor message

Welcome to Sociology 122Instructor Photo. This course is designed to introduce students to the “sociological perspective” and the way sociologists approach and study the social world. It also introduces students to a number of substantive areas of study undertaken by sociologists.In the first half of the course, students will be introduced to what most sociologists refer to as “the classical tradition”—the foundation upon which all later approaches to sociological analysis developed. Students will begin by exploring themselves as part of a particular “generation” – the so-called “Millennials.” The discussion will focus on the extent to which their biographies, to this point in time, have prepared them for what constitutes and is expected for them to gain a liberal education within the contemporary, university system. The section also addresses the manner in which universities may have to adjust to the backgrounds and learning modalities of the Millennial generation. The course then turns to three of the most important, macro-sociological frameworks that shaped the classical tradition—the work of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. Weber's work leads into a discussion of modernism and modernity and an examination of the extent to which the contemporary world is one of high modernity or a postmodern world. The first part ends with an examination of culture, popular culture and the work of Bob Dylan.

In the second half of the course, students will begin by overviewing some contemporary theoretical perspectives used by sociologists and then focus upon a number of substantive areas of sociological analysis: the sociology of work, social inequality, deviant behaviour, and what is identified as “the long shadow of the twentieth century” where selected social issues are examined: War and the holocaust, the welfare state and consumer society in the post-WWII period, the Vietnam War, the Student Movement, the Second Wave Women’s Movement, the rise of neo-liberalism, the social and political significance and impact of the first and second Gulf wars and the war in Afghanistan.

SOCY 122 is designed for students who intend to take further sociology courses and for those in other concentrations who wish to acquaint themselves with the essentials of the discipline.

Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend, on average, about 10 hours per week (240 hours total) on the course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

  • Laptop or Desktop computer purchased within the last 5 years. (mobile devices are not supported)
  • Windows Vista SP2/Mac OSX 10.9 or higher
  • Up to date versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. Please note that Google Chrome is not recommended for use in our courses.
  • Most recent version of Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash

 See also Getting Started.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.