Spring 2020 - SA 304 D100

Social Control (S) (4)

Class Number: 3081

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Wed, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



This course examines how the organization of control (formal and informal) affects both individuals and society. It will investigate how control takes form, how it functions, the ideologies supporting it, and the resistance it produces. We will ask the following questions: who are the agents of social control; who or what do they control; and how do they control?


This course invites students to explore governance practices and forms of social control of the global political economy. To study the social control of the global political economy is, by definition, to examine the way in which social, political and economic agents control and regulate how the world is governed, regulated and disciplined. To this extent, the course offers students the opportunity to explore wide-ranging topics such as: power and knowledge, the transformations of power, the history and development of global capitalism, media and globalization, state security, immigration, labour, work, gender, race and feminism. Thus, we will theorize and ponder the longstanding relationship between power and knowledge and in so doing, explore questions such as: How has power transformed over time? How have powerful states and international institutions organized and controlled the development of global capitalist society? How and in what ways do the actions of multilateral organizations, and the media’s perpetuation of Western cultural hegemony, control nation-states as well as individual subject-citizens?

In a challenge to the overall course theme of control, we will also explore notions of freedom, agency and contestation. In this respect, we will examine how people navigate, co-exist with, and challenge macro and micro forms of social, cultural, political and economic control of their ‘everyday’ lives. Through these interrogations, students will develop an understanding of the diffuse nature of control, the wide array of actions, subjects and spaces that are subject to control, and the complex infrastructures and discourses that enact control. Throughout the course, we will broach a wide-variety of empirical topics and theoretical perspectives, examining both formal and informal structures of control, with an emphasis to look beyond the state and traditional power structures of coercion.


  • Attendance and participation 10%
  • Annotated paper proposal 15%
  • Weekly presentations 15%
  • Midterm exam (take-home) 25%
  • Final essay 35%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology & 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.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



Readings will be available through the SFU Library. Additional material may be available on Canvas.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/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