Summer 2021 - SA 250 D100

Introduction to Sociological Theory (S) (4)

Class Number: 1958

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 12 – Aug 9, 2021: Tue, 4:30–8:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 11, 2021
    Wed, 11:59–11:59 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Ataman Avdan
    Office Hours: Tu 15:00-16:00, 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 examine social life’s complexity. Designed as an introduction to the fascinating world of 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, politics of sexuality, emotional labour, surveillance, bio-politics, racialization, racial otherness, social field, habitus, and cultural capital. I hope that 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, postcolonial theories, Foucault, and Bourdieu.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. identify the main themes and approaches in sociological theory;
  2. examine the contributions to the development of sociology as a discipline;
  3. compare and contrast different approaches;
  4. critically evaluate how these theories apply to real social processes, problems, contradictions, and events in our own (global) society.


  • Quizzes (4 x 10%) 40%
  • Midterm exam 20%
  • Current news article presentation 10%
  • Final exam 30%


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.



Please see SFU Bookstore website for information on textbook purchase options.


Dillon, M. (2020). Introduction to Sociological Theory: Theorists, Concepts, and Their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century, 3rd Ed. Wiley Blackwell.
ISBN: 978-1-119410911

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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).