Fall 2016 - SA 327 D100

Sociology of Knowledge (S) (4)

Class Number: 3485

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2016: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of sociological theories concerning the interaction of social structures, and meaning and belief systems.


The Sociology of Knowledge explores the relationship between thought and society, focusing on historical and contemporary analysis of ‘knowledge,’ its creation and use. We will ask ourselves what claims we make about ‘knowing’ objects, including our ‘selves,’ and we will explore how claims to ‘have knowledge’ affect methods for describing and analyzing social life. The course will fall into 4 sections:  

  1. the question of ‘knowledge’ in the post-Enlightenment thought 
  2. the relationship between ‘knowledge’ and method (the rise of scientific method and the use of evidence in scientific and social scientific reasoning)
  3. knowledge and the everyday (social construction theory, interpretive social sciences) 
  4. ‘knowledge’ in post-modernity (challenges from social movements, especially feminism and anti-colonialist/anti-racist movements; philosophy, literature, and judgment)   
The bulk of readings will be in primary texts. Students will learn how and where to find ‘theoretical’ texts in our library’s eBook/eJournals section and beyond. Everyone will read a small number of theoretical texts in common, and then form small teams devoted to mastering additional texts to apply to specific problems defined by the group. Quizes and tests will be partially designed by students to cover the specific materials they are working on. Class time will be devoted to discussion of primary texts, with lectures to preview readings, provide historical background, and augment small group work. In addition to group presentations, each student will be able to pursue themes of interest in two short papers. Tests and quizzes are conceptualized as a means to sustain readings and gauge progress rather than as an end in themselves.


  1. Learn how to identify and access theoretical texts 
  2. Identify and describe the major themes in sociology of knowledge 
  3. Master and employ key vocabulary and concepts used analysis of knowledge 
  4. Apply theories to contemporary social problems 
  5. Develop theory-reading skills 
  6. Develop analytical writing skills


  • Group Presentations/Debates 30%
  • Term Test 1 15%
  • Term Test 2 15%
  • Weekly quiz 10%
  • Analysis of contemporary issue 15%
  • Comparative paper 15%


Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy  
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐ S10.04).  Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.



All texts will be available in eBook form through our library.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html