Summer 2019 - SA 250 J100

Introduction to Sociological Theory (S) (4)

Class Number: 2551

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2019: Tue, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Ataman Avdan
    Office Hours: TU 16:00-17:00, or by appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 150.



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


Sociological theories attempt to make the social world understandable and to examine the complexity of social life. Designed as an introduction to sociological theory, this course will provide you with conceptual frameworks and analytical tools to explore social forces, patterns, and historical processes underlying a wide range of social phenomena that characterize our world(s), institutions, relationships, and daily practices. It encompasses a variety of themes and topics, including but not limited to alienation, commodity fetishism, commodification, social solidarity, division of labour, suicide, rationality, authority, bureaucracy, hegemony, historical bloc, public sphere, mass culture, development of underdevelopment, core-periphery, presentation of self, performance, stigma, intersectionality, discourses of femininity, multiple masculinities, politics of sexuality, emotional labour, surveillance, bio-politics, racialization, racial otherness, social field, habitus, and cultural capital. It is my hope that the most of these topics will resonate with you and at the end of this course, you will have an extensive perspective, or perspectives, to look at the world around you.


In the first part of this course, we will explore the classical works of Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Gramsci, and others who tried to make sense of the enormous social, economic, and political transformations during the 19th and early 20th centuries. We will place these authors’ contributions in their historical context and discuss how their works have shaped the discipline.

In the second part, our focus will be on the contemporary developments in sociological theory; we will read and discuss some representative texts of symbolic interactionism, world-systems analysis, feminist theories, critical race theory, Foucault, and Bourdieu.

Our goals are three-fold: a) to have a good understanding of the key arguments the theorists make, b) to explore their contributions to the development of sociology as a discipline, c) to understand how these theories apply to real social processes, problems, contradictions, and events in our own (global) society.


  • Annotations (300-400 wds; 5 x 3%) 15%
  • Current news article presentation 10%
  • Participation 15%
  • Exam 1 (in-class) 30%
  • Exam 2 (in-class) 30%


Grading: 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:



Dillon, M. (2014). Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and Their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell.
ISBN: 978-1-118471920

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.