Spring 2016 - SA 250 J100

Introduction to Sociological Theory (S) (4)

Class Number: 5571

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 5 – Apr 11, 2016: Wed, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Efe Gurcan
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 150.



An account of sociological theory, outlining the main ideas and concepts of the principal schools of thought.


This course examines key theories of classical and contemporary sociologists whose arguments continue to dominate major debates in sociology. How does society operate as an independent force above and out of reach of individuals? Where do human collectivities find the potency to act independently and make free choices on their behalf? How do power relations in society influence our social condition at the intersection of class, gender and race? How do power relations assert themselves in the cultural and ideological sphere? Where do knowledge and intellectual production stand in power relationships? The focus will be on how contemporary theories critically build on the classical tradition of social theory along with an emphasis on neo-Marxist, neo-Weberian, post-structuralist and intersectionality thinking. At the end of this course, students will have successfully gained an intermediate understanding of the complexity of social systems and ability of critical thinking on social issues in light of the key concepts underlying major sociological theories. The course lectures will only supplement the assigned readings by providing historical and conceptual background material. We will rely on documentaries, news articles and analyses of current events to foster a critical understanding of the capitalist society.


  • Attendance and Participation: 10%
  • Seminar Presentation: 10%
  • 1st Midterm: 25%
  • 2nd Midterm: 25%
  • Paper: 30%


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.    



Excerpts from the following books will be uploaded on Canvas:

  • Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (with other writings), Wordsworth, 2008 
  • Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, Prometheus Books, 1999 
  • Emile Durkheim, The Division of Labor in Society, Macmillan, 1984 
  • From Max Weber, Eds. Hans Heinrich Gerth & Charles Wright Mills, Oxford University Press, 1958 
  • The Gramsci Reader, New York University Press, 2000 
  • C. Wright Mills, Power, Politics, and People, Oxford University Press, 1963 
  • Michel Foucault, Foucault Reader, Pantheon, 1984
  • Pierre Bourdieu, Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action, Stanford University Press, 1984
  • Nicos Poulantzas, State, Power, Socialism, Verso, 2000 
  • Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment, Routledge, 2000

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