Theories and concepts in sociology

lpols1234  2022-2023  Louvain-la-Neuve

Theories and concepts in sociology
4.00 credits
30.0 h
Main themes
This course will approach the most familiar issues in Sociology and Anthropology from the point of view of action analysis. Particular attention is given to the following topics: 1. action within interpersonal interaction - social construction of space (frontstage, backstage, barriers) - social construction of time (time lived, temporal metrics, speaking turns, etc.) - role adoption and self-presentation - meetings, shared knowledge, context 2. Group action: - birth, sexuality, kinship, marriage, death - socialisation: learning the rules, habitus, relationship between culture and personality etc. - Organisational theories: strategies, power (legitimacy and processes), identity (professional, family, etc.), regulation - Technical mediation - conformity, deviance, stigmatism 3. Social action: - social structures: classes, social status, social stratification - technical relations to nature and division of labour - Theories of economic exchange: gifts, markets, distribution, exploitation, embedding - Theories of the state (stateless societies, forms of legitimacy, elitism, pluralism, etc.) - Theories of culture and religion (myths, totemism, standard sociological theories of the phenomenon of religion, etc.) - social change: class struggles, social movements - theories of history (evolutionism, diffusionism, historical particularism, etc.) 4. Epistemology: - the debate on explaining vs. understanding (broad outline) - the defining features of Sociology and Anthropology as compared to other disciplines - sociological and anthropological paradigms
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 Whereas the first year BAC 1 course introduces students to Sociology and Anthropology through social issues typical of modern societies, this second year BAC 2 course aims instead to give students theoretical and conceptual skills (at a mid-level of abstraction and systematicity) in both disciplines. In particular, students are expected to develop: - an understanding of the major theoretical issues in Sociology and Anthropology: power, culture, economics, social integration, socialisation, change etc - an ability to analyse social action on a number of (micro, meso, macrosociological) levels - a basic ability to place the concepts within a wider range of possible theories.
The course "Theories and Concepts in Sociology" aims to help students better understand the processes of conceptualization and theorization in sociology. The course is based on three parts: (1) a first part aims to develop the "sociological look" based on empirical investigations that have led to innovative conceptualizations, (2) a second part develops the fundamental sociological theorizations proposed by Durkheim, Weber and Marx, and (3) a third part addresses more contemporary conceptualizations and theorizations.
Teaching methods
Presentations, analysis of empirical materials, completion of appropriation work by students
Evaluation methods
The evaluation is divided into 3 parts: 
(1) Submission of 5 "small works" during the year and a cross-sectional analysis. This corresponds to a continuous evaluation and is valued at 5 out of 20 points. The "small works" must be submitted by the specified dates via Moddle. Since they are subject to collective correction during the year, the work can be improved but not postponed. This portfolio is valued for the first and possible second session.
(2) a first part of the exam on the course content (10 points out of 20)
(3) a second part of the exam dealing with in-depth readings (5 points out of  20)
A minimum of 10/20 on the first part of the course content exam is required to pass, and a minimum of 13/20 on the same part to obtain a grade, once the scores of the different parts are aggregated.
Other information
Course entry requirements: Socio-anthropologie des mondes contemporains (ex LESPO1113)
Online resources
See the Moodle page of the course
Teaching materials
  • Van Campenhoudt, L. et Marquis, N., Cours de sociologie, Paris, Dunod.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Minor in Human and Social Sciences

Bachelor in Human and Social Sciences

Bachelor in Sociology and Anthropology

Minor in Sociology and Anthropology