Introduction to Sociology

Dr. Robert Sanderson
Office hours by appointment only
Stabler Hall 401-G
Phone: 569-3173


“Sociology is more like a passion. The sociological perspective is more like a demon that possesses one compellingly again and again to questions that are its own. An introduction to sociology is, therefore, an invitation to a very special kind of passion. No passion is without its dangers. The sociologist who sells his wares should make sure that he clearly pronounces a caveat emptor quite early in the transaction.”

-- Peter Berger, Invitation to Sociology


A. Giddens and M. Duneier, Introduction to Sociology (3rd edition)
G. Massey, Readings for Sociology (3rd edition)



This course is designed to introduce students to the study of human social relationships. Sociology’s major interests are in how they change, and how they persist over time. Principles, concepts, theories, and methods of inquiry are presented in order to familiarize students with the fundamental sociological processes, which help us to better understand the complexity of human beings and their place within society.

Perhaps the single most important goal of this course is to foster the development of your sociological imagination. That is to say, students are encouraged to comprehend the connection between one’s own personal problems, biography, history and the myriad public issues that confront us daily. To that end, we will focus on the influence of the social structure, its institutional arrangements, culture, ideologies, and behavioral practices of those who construct them in order to develop our ability to think sociologically about our lives.


1. To distinguish sociology as a social science from other scientific disciplines.

2. To apply the main sociological theories in the field of sociology and the methods employed to the world we live in.

3. Explain the impact of socialization on your personality and group life.

4. Provide an overview of stratification in America based on class, race, and gender differences.

5. Provide Sociological explanations of structure, functions and conflicts within the family, religious and educational institutions in the US.

6. Review demographic trends and changing characteristics in the US as produced by changes in technology, urbanization and social structure.

7. Participate in a series of simulation games and writing exercises, which will enhance your ability to master sociological material and develop your critical thinking skills.


The course will consist of lectures and assigned reading material from the text. In addition, I will distribute handouts when we reach the appropriate time in the course. Students will be responsible for, and are expected to be prepared for discussion of class topics, reading material and any writing assignments.


There will be four exams and a comprehensive final. Each exam will be equal in weight and will cover lecture, text, any films, and handout material. Exams will be a mixture of objective, short answer, and essay questions.


A= 90 - 100
B= 80 - 89
C= 70 - 79
D= 60 - 69
F= 59 and Below


It is the policy of UALR to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law. Any disabled student who needs accommodation, for example, in seating placement or in arrangements for examinations, should inform the instructor at the beginning of the course. The chair of the department offering this course is also available to assist with accommodations. Disabled students are also encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Support Services, located in the Donaghey Student Center, telephone 569-3143.