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Introduction to Sociology

Introduction to Sociology

6 ECTS credits
180 h study time

Offer 1 with catalog number 1020434AER for all students in the 1st semester at a (A) Bachelor - preliminary level.

Information about this course is applicable on academic year 2017-2018.

1st semester
Enrollment based on exam contract
Grading method

Grading (scale from 0 to 20)

Can retake in second session
Taught in
Partnership agreement
  • Under interuniversity agreement for degree program
Faculty of Economic & Social Sciences & Solvay BS
Educational Team:
  • Jannick DEMANET (course titular)
    External partner(s)
    Universiteit Gent
    Activities and contact hours
    • 39 contact hours Lecture
    Course content

    The main objective of this interdisciplinary course is to shed light on the specific nature of the sociological approach in the study of society, social groups, and interaction. We start with an introduction of the sociological approach and the main theoretical frameworks within sociology: functionalism, the conflict perspective, and the action perspectives. Thereafter, we focus on the different levels of social complexity, starting from the macro level (societies and world systems), over the meso level (groups and organizations) and arriving at the micro level (interpersonal interaction). Along the way, we discuss two specific angles from which to study social phenomena: the study of structure and the study of culture. Next, three fundamental processes supporting the construction of social reality are explained: institutionalization, socialization and stratification. In a next part of the course, the whole of these insights is applied to a number of subfields in sociology, such as the study of deviance, and the institutions managing power and religion. We end with establishing the bridge between theory and method, discussing the various sociological perspectives. We go into the question of how these different methodological and theoretical approaches complement each other within the whole of the scientific study of social reality.

    Course material
    • Handbook (Required): Sociology., A Global Introduction, Macionis, J.J., & Plummer, K., Prentice-Hall, 978-0-273-72791-0, 2016
    Additional info

    Didactic forms

    • Lectures and interactive lectures with class discussions, peer-to-peer learning;
    • E-learning, online exercises and mock exam.
    Programme Objectives

    General competences

    This course imparts knowledge of the main theories within sociology.

    It teaches how sociology as a science approaches social reality in an analytical fashion.

    The objective is to pierce through the taken-for-granted-ness of our own social reality.

    Relation to the learning outcomes of the programme:

    • LO1: has an active knowledge of the most important theories, currents and concepts prevailing in the domain of the social sciences.
    • LO2: is familiar with the historical developments that have occurred in the fields of sociology, political sciences and communication sciences over time.
    • LO3: recognises the cross-sections, the intersections and the cross-fertilisations that are noticeable amongst the different social sciences.
    • LO5: knows the historical, political, juridical and socio-economic structures that shape the activities and define the agency of the European political institutions, private and public social organisations and media-organisations.
    • L012: recognises the multilayered and complex character of social, political and media- related facts and phenomena.

    - To have insight into the basic elements of sociological analysis.
    - To have insight into the fundamental processes of social reality and to be able to apply these to the subfields of sociology.
    - To have insight into the paradigms of sociology.
    - To understand in which way different methodological and theoretical approaches complement each other within the whole of the scientific study of social reality.


    The final grade is composed based on the following categories:

    • Written Exam determines 100% of the final mark.

    Within the Written Exam category, the following assignments need to be completed:

    Written Exam with a relative weight of 100 which comprises 100% of the final mark.

    Additional info with regard to grading

    Formative assessment

    • Interactive lectures with group discussion, peer-to-peer learning, and application of theoretical subject matter to everyday examples;
    • By making online exercises on the online learning platform, students can monitor their progress with the subject matter. The exercises will be accompanied by feedback. Moreover, a ¬†mock exam will appear on the online learning platform in the course of the semester, which is very similar to the real exam. As such, students get insight into the build-up of the final exam and their mastery of the subject matter.

    Summative assessment

    Written exam, questions similar to mock exam. Emphasis will be laid on application and insight, rather than on reproduction of the subject matter.