Skip to main content

Search Bar Icon Close Menu

Online classes

Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2017/2018

SOCI 460: Classical Social Theory

Course Description

Reinforcement of major schools of thought in sociology from the Enlightenment through World War II.  Emphasis on theoretical thinking in sociology and analysis of the underlying principles and major works of Comte, Marx, Spencer, Weber, Durkheim, Simmel, Mannheim, Martineau, Perkins Gilman, DuBois, Mead, Veblen, Adorno, Horkheimer, Parsons.

Prerequisite: Junior Standing

Proctored Exams: Midterm and Final



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Allan, K. (2012). Explorations in classical sociological theory: Seeing the social world (3). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
    • [ISBN-978-1-4129-9243-5]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

The objectives of this course are multiple. First, is to impart an appreciation for theoretical thinking in sociology and familiarize students with the terms used by social theorists. A second objective is to understand the basic assumptions that various theorists make about human nature as well as the nature of human society. This is done by looking at how different theorists use different units of analysis in their theories. Furthermore, we seek to gain an understanding of the key arguments made by the most prominent orientations in classical social theory: Functionalism, Conflict Theory, and Interactionism.

Thus, one of the core objectives for this class is to enable students to think theoretically about society; to interpret the same social phenomena from different theoretical perspectives. This is done by looking at society from the viewpoints of the different theorists: where one theorist sees order another theorist sees disorder, where one theorist sees only individuals, another sees only social structures, where one theorist sees conflict another sees consensus, etc. This class uses one textbook. To succeed in this class, it is essential that you do all of the assigned reading.


Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the major theoretical traditions in sociology and the emergence of each out of their particular socio-historical contexts.
  2. Articulate the role of theory in sociology.
  3. Identify the influence of Enlightenment thought on the development of classical sociological theory.
  4. Identify and describe the theoretical perspectives of the classical social theorists.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 540-600 90-100%
B 480-539 80-89%
C 420-479 70-79%
D 360-419 60-69%
F 0-359 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (20) 100 17%
Papers (3) 300 50%
Midterm Exam (1) 100 17%
Final Exam (1) 100 17%
Total 600 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 5 Wednesday
Discussion 2 5
Discussion 3 5 Sunday
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 5 Wednesday
Discussion 5 5 Sunday
Proctor Information N/A
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 5 Wednesday
Discussion 7 5 Thursday
Dropbbox Assignment 1 100 Saturday
Discussion 8 5 Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 5 Wednesday
Discussion 10 5 Thursday
Discussion 11 5 Sunday
Midterm Exam 100
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 12 5 Wednesday
Dropbbox Assignment 2 100 Saturday
Discussion 13 5 Sunday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 14 5 Wednesday
Discussion 15 5 Thursday
Discussion 16 5 Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 17 5 Wednesday
Dropbbox Assignment 3 100 Saturday
Discussion 18 5 Sunday
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 19 5 Wednesday
Discussion 20 5 Friday
Final Exam 100 Saturday
Total Points 600

Assignment Overview

Readings

It is critical that weekly reading assignments be completed prior to submitting paper assignments or participating in online discussion. Mastering the weekly reading assignment is absolutely essential for your success in the course.

Discussions

There will be twenty Discussions within the course. The discussions are spread across the eight weeks of the semester. With the exception of the Introduction, (requiring only one post) each discussion requires an initial post and at least one peer response posting. Both the initial posting and the peer response posting are due on the Deadline date. The majority of our Discussions this semester are due on Wednesday and Sunday of each week, but as you can see from the schedule (above) there are three Discussions due on a Thursday. In addition, the final Discussion is due on a Friday. Please note that the first week of the course has a little different schedule because your graded Introduction Discussion is due on Wednesday along with your “regular” Discussion #2. Please refer to the Schedule of Due Dates table (see above). All work for each Discussion must be completed no later than 11:59 PM CT on the designated day, per the Schedule of Due Dates table. The standard-of-work for the Discussions is articulated below. Grading criteria in the form of a rubric can be found in the Content Area of the course in D2L.

Initial Post: Each of the discussion topics requires an essay-like response to the questions posed. Your answers should be based on your reading of the course materials, as well as my instructions provided. The questions in these discussions are designed to help you understand the selected key concepts in the assigned chapter. In order to get full credit for your discussion posts, you must answer the discussion topics thoroughly and your answers must show your knowledge of the assigned readings. In almost all cases, I am not asking for an opinion, but instead an informed answer. In particular, note that your initial post should be formatted with an essay-like response covering all the issues. The expectation is that you will write a minimum of 200 words on your primary answer (initial) post. This is approximately 15 lines – three or four paragraphs.

Peer Response Posts: Our discussions are the vehicle for class interaction. Since this is not a correspondence course, we should all take on responsibility for creating an active learning community. We often learn from the posts submitted by others. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to read posts from your fellow classmates and all of the posts from the instructor. You are required to post at least one peer response post in each discussion, but you are certainly encouraged to post more often. The expectation is that you will write a minimum of 100 words on your required peer post. You are encouraged to write additional peer posts.

Your initial posts will be graded based upon timeliness and quality. Your participation in the discussion must have the following components in order to be eligible for the maximum credit of five (5) points:
1. Relevance to the topic
2. Fully addresses the topic
3. Submitted by the designated deadline date
4. In essay format, minimum of 200 words in length
5. Contains few or no grammatical errors
6. Adheres to the conventions of online etiquette
7. Reads a majority of the posts in each discussion topic
8. Posts at least one peer response, minimum of 100 words in length, for each discussion

Papers

You will write 3 papers in this course. You can find more details about each paper in the Course Outline section below and in the Content section of the course.

APA format is required for this assignment, including:
1. Title Page
2. Abstract
3. Reference to the required text properly cited within the body and in a separate reference page. Be careful not to plagiarize (refer to Plagiarism Policy for specific details).

One of the primary criteria for the evaluation of your papers will be your ability to demonstrate analytical and critical thinking skills by expressing the ideas in your own words. As a result, avoid excessive use of direct quotes from the required text.

You need not use any outside resources for these paper assignments. Only use the required text and be sure to reference the text when you draw upon it. All work for this course should be original. Papers submitted in other classes (former or current) are not acceptable and will not receive credit.

Papers should be written in proper English, free of errors in spelling and grammar. Only written assignments that are complete, succinct, detailed, clear, and relevant to the subject matter assigned, i.e., a “model paper,” are eligible for the maximum points. Poor or incomplete writing in content and format, along with tardiness may result in a full forfeiture of points. Please proofread your work before submitting and, if possible, having someone else proofread as well.

Each paper should be double-spaced, using a 12-point font, Times New Roman or Arial, preferred, with one-inch (1”) page.

Exams

A Midterm Exam and a Final Exam are both required in this course. Both examinations are administered in the D2L course environment with an approved proctor.

The Midterm Exam contains five essay questions, worth 20 points each, totaling 100 points. The Final exam contains four essay questions worth 20 points each, and 20 multiple choice questions worth one point each. You will have 2 hours (120 minutes) for each exam. No notes, textbooks, reference materials, or mobile telephones are allowed during the examination.

The Midterm Exam will be available from Tuesday to Sunday of Week Four. The Final Exam will be available from Tuesday to Saturday of Week Eight. The timeframes designated for each examination period are designed to accommodate the scheduling needs of the proctors. Students should directly arrange the specific appointments with their proctors.


Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Introduction of Terms and Concepts
Readings
Preface and Chapter 1 in our textbook
Discussion 1
Introduce yourself in the Introductions topic in the Discussion section, our “virtual classroom.” Please tell us more than your name -- include some of the following information if you are comfortable sharing: your occupation, hobbies, interests, your geographical location, and any other information that will help us get to know you. Please post your response in the appropriate discussion topic by 11:59 PM CST on Wednesday.
Discussion 2
Explain how Sociology is the “queen of the sciences.” What purpose did Comte see for Sociology? How do you see your own involvement with Sociology differently now that you’ve read Chapter #1? Please post your initial response and your peer response in the appropriate discussion topic by 11:59 PM CST/CDT on Wednesday.

Before you post, be sure to take a moment to reread the guidelines for grading posts (see above). I have also posted a grading rubric in the Content Area of the course. In order to get full credit for your discussion posts, you must answer the discussion question(s) thoroughly and your answers must show your knowledge of the assigned readings. In most cases, I am not asking for an opinion, but instead an informed answer.
Discussion 3
What are the advantages and goals of positivism, especially as it relates to Sociological Theory? What are the appropriate methods for Sociology? Please post your initial response and your peer response in the appropriate discussion topic by 11:59 PM CST/CDT on Sunday.
Week 2: Herbert Spencer’s Positivism – Seeing Society for the First Time
Readings
Chapter 2
Discussion 4
Explain how Spencer’s organismic analogy (p. 32-36) applies to how he would analyze various institutions of society (e.g., the family, education, religion, government, etc.). Be sure to consider the three sets of theoretical ideas: the relationship between needs and functions, systems thinking, and systemic equilibrium. Please post your initial response and your peer response in the appropriate discussion topic by 11:59 PM CST on Wednesday.
Discussion 5
Discuss the four interrelated elements of social institutions (pp. 43-44). Then use these ideas to explain how Spencer accounted for domestic institutions. Please post your initial response and your peer response in the appropriate discussion topic by 11:59 PM CST on Sunday.
Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Week 3: Karl Marx – Class Inequality
Readings
Chapter 3
Discussion 6
Explain in your own words what is meant by the statement that Karl Marx is an economic determinist (p. 77, p. 91). Second, discuss both Marx’s assumptions about human nature (pp. 74-77, pp. 79-80) and his assumptions about ontology (that result in the concept of material dialectic) (pp. 77-79). Please post your initial response and your peer response in the appropriate discussion topic by 11:59 PM CST on Wednesday.
Discussion 7
Explain how industrialization, markets and commodification are intrinsically expansive in capitalism, and apply this dynamic to contemporary capitalism and your family’s buying patterns. Please post your initial response and your peer response in the appropriate discussion topic by 11:59 PM CST on Thursday.
Dropbbox Assignment 1

Write a paper (4 page minimum) that compares the domain assumptions of Herbert Spencer and Karl Marx. Address the following:

• What are some similarities and differences in Spencer’s and Marx’s assumptions about ontology (pp. 32-43, pp. 77-79), epistemology (p. 31, p. 52, pp. 63-70), and the nature of human nature (p.29, pp. 74-77, pp. 79-80)? Be sure to address all three types of domain assumptions for both Spencer and Marx.

Note: Check the Content Area of the course in D2L before beginning this assignment to see whether additional Paper #1 assignment options are available.

Reminder: You need only to use the required text as a source for this paper. Make sure to review the Assignment Overview for required elements of the papers (above).

Submit this assignment as a Microsoft Word document to the appropriate Dropbox by 11:59 PM CST on Saturday of Week #3.

Discussion 8
Explain the connection between Marx’s concepts of false consciousness and ideology (pp. 95-102). What is the role of religion in Marx’s analysis of ideology and false consciousness? Please post your initial response and your peer response in the appropriate discussion topic by 11:59 PM CST on Sunday.
Midterm Exam Review
A midterm exam review sheet is available in the Content section of the course during this week. Please use this midterm exam review, since it is the best preparation for your midterm exam.

You will take the midterm exam between Tuesday and Saturday of Week 4. The midterm exam will cover all of the assigned material through Week 4.
Week 4: Emile Durkheim’s Order Perspective – Diversity and Social Solidarity
Readings
Chapter 4
Discussion 9
Discuss Durkheim’s concept of collective consciousness (pp. 119-122). What are some of the mechanisms through which people become aware of the collective consciousness, and by what means does it influence people’s actions? Second, discuss Durkheim’s view of religion (pp. 122-132). What is the role of religion in society, and why do religious ideas change over time? Please post your initial response and your peer response in the appropriate discussion topic by 11:59 PM CST on Wednesday.
Discussion 10
Following Durkheim, describe how humans create a sacred world (pp. 127-132). In this description, include Durkheim’s ritual theory (Figure 4.1). Finally, provide at least one original example of how effervescence manifests itself in the civil sphere. Post your response by 11:59 PM CST on Thursday.
Discussion 11
Discuss how Durkheim addressed the question “How much structural and social diversity can a society have and still maintain consensus around a moral center?” Be sure to include the shift from mechanical to organic solidarity and the division of labor (pp. 132-144). Also include the section on individualism and suicide -- this section explains how Durkheim examined inadequate levels of group attachment and levels of behavioral regulation. Please post your response by 11:59 PM CST on Sunday.
Midterm Exam
This examination will cover course materials from Weeks 1-4. You will take the midterm exam under the supervision of an approved proctor between Tuesday and Sunday of this week. It will consist of five essay questions, worth 20 points each, totaling 100 points. You will have two hours to complete the exam. No notes or books are allowed during the exam. Each Columbia College site (and each individual proctor) has their own hours and methods for handling proctoring of exams, so please be informed of their hours so that you will be able to take your exam between Tuesday and Sunday of this week.
Week 5: Max Weber –Rationality and Organization
Readings
Chapter 5
Discussion 12
Following Weber, explain how religion evolved from polytheism to ethical monotheism. Second, explain how this change is related to the development of the religious culture of capitalism. Finally, describe the spiritual values of modern society. Post your responses by 11:59 pm CST on Wednesday.
Dropbbox Assignment 2
Write an approximately 4 page paper that compares the domain assumptions of Emile Durkheim and Max Weber. Address the following:

• How do Durkheim’s and Weber’s assumptions about ontology, epistemology, and the nature of human nature influence the manner in which they approach the study of society and social institutions? Address all three types of domain assumptions for both Durkheim and Weber. Be sure to discuss social institutions in your response.

Note: Check the Content Area of the course in D2L before beginning this assignment to see whether additional Paper #2 assignment options are available.

Reminder: You are to use only the required text as a source for this paper. Make sure to review the Assignment Overview for required elements of the papers (above).

Submit this assignment as a Microsoft Word document to the appropriate Dropbox by 11:59 PM CST/CDT on Saturday.
Discussion 13
Explain Weber’s theory of stratification and social change. How do class, status and power legitimate authority in modern society? Finally explain the relationship between authority and social change in bureaucratic society. Post your responses by 11:59 pm CST on Sunday.
Week 6: Georg Simmel & George Herbert Mead – Modern Person
Readings

Chapter 6

Discussion 14
According our textbook, “Humans…need to decide what…input means before acting.” (Allan, 2013: 226). In this Discussion, compare and contrast natural signs and significant gestures. Provide appropriate examples. Post your responses by 11:59 pm CST on Wednesday.
Discussion 15
Discuss Mead’s concept of the self. How did he use the concept of role-taking to account for how the self is developed? How would you be able to tell that a person’s self is fully developed? Provide appropriate examples. Please post your responses in the appropriate discussion topic by 11:59 PM CST on Thursday.
Discussion 16
Following Simmel’s theory, perform an analysis of your network of group affiliations. Discuss at least two of your primary membership groups – do you belong due to organic motivations or rational motivations? Have you experienced the type of role conflict, or the blase’ attitude, which concerned Simmel? Over the next 5 years, how do you see your web of group affiliations changing? Post your responses by 11:59 pm CST on Sunday.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Harriet Martineau & Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Seeing Gender
Readings
Chapter 7
Discussion 17
Discuss Harriet Martineau’s theory of gender. In your discussion, focus on her ideas about cultural logic and workforce participation. Post your responses by 11:59 pm CST on Wednesday.
Dropbbox Assignment 3
Write an approximately 4 page paper that examines the first wave of feminist theory by comparing and contrasting Martineau's and Gilman's approach to explaining gender inequality. Second, discuss what this first wave of feminism means to our society and the individual actor in the post-modern era. In your paper, be sure to address the following:

• Describe Martineau's conceptualization of the "cultural logic" of gender, as well as her ideas concerning gender and workforce participation.

• Explain Gilman's use of gynaecocentric theory -- analyze her conceptualization of the sexuo-economic relations, to include her ideas involving morbid excess in sex-distinction.

• Discuss the importance of the 1st wave of feminist thought to our society and to the individual actor in the post-modern era.

Note: Check the Content Area of the course in D2L before beginning this assignment to see whether additional Paper #3 assignment options are available.

Reminder: You need only to use the required text as a source for this paper. Make sure to review the Assignment Overview for required elements of the papers (above).

Submit this assignment as a Microsoft Word document to the appropriate Dropbox by 11:59 PM CST on Saturday.
Discussion 18
Discuss Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s sexuo-economic theory of evolution and its effects on the economy and gender. Post your responses by 11:59 pm CST on Sunday.
Final Exam Review
A final exam review sheet is available in the Content section of the course during this week. Please use this final exam review, since it is the best preparation for your final exam.

You will take the final exam between Wednesday and Saturday of Week 8. The final exam will cover all of the material assigned during Weeks 5-8.
Week 8: Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois – Seeing Race
Readings
Chapter 8
Discussion 19
Many Sociologists agree that “the use of Otherness in racism is even more profound” than its use in gender (Allan, p. 307). How does Frederick Douglass’s public Sociology help us to understand the denial of Black humanity? Post your responses by 11:59 pm CST on Wednesday.
Discussion 20
How does W.E.B. Dubois’s concept of double consciousness help us to understand the basic method of cultural oppression? Second, how does the representation of the terms black and white in our society contribute to cultural oppression? Post your responses by 11:59 pm CST on Friday.
Final Exam
The Final Exam will cover course materials assigned during Weeks 5-8. The exam contains four essay questions worth 20 points each, and 20 multiple choice questions worth one point each. This examination will be administered online via computer and under the supervision of an approved Proctor. This examination must be completed within 120 minutes. Be sure to make the Proctor arrangement well in advance as to avoid the unexpected. The final exam must be taken between Tuesday and Saturday of this week. No books or notes are allowed during the exam.


Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

No late assignments will be accepted without extenuating circumstances beyond the control of the student and with instructor notification prior to the due date (Columbia College Catalog).

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


+

Request info