Introduction to Social Theory

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
SOCI 2235
Introduction to Social Theory
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 4 hrs. per week / semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: formal lectures, class discussions. Audio-visual aids will be introduced when appropriate.

Course Description
This course introduces classical and contemporary social theories by examining their social and historical development. The connection between sociological research and the development of sociological theories is emphasized as well as the relevance of theory to the critical examination of current social issues.
Course Content


  1. Introduction: the aims of Sociology and the role of theory within the discipline.
  2. The origins of social theory (i.e. Auguste Comte; Herbert Spencer and Social Darwinism; Harriet Martineau; W.E.B. Dubois; Jane Addams)
  3. Emile Durkheim and the origins of functionalism
  4. Karl Marx
  5. Max Weber
  6. Classical theories of everyday life
  7. Contemporary functionalism
  8. Contemporary theories of everyday life
  9. NeoMarxism
  10. Classical and contemporary feminism
  11. Critical race theory
  12. Theories of modernity
  13. Post-Structuralism
  14. Postmodernism
  15. Theories of globalization


Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Outline the historical development of sociological theory.
  2. Distinguish between the different schools of thought within sociological theory.
  3. Identify major sociological theorists and the theoretical concepts associated with them.
  4. Compare and contrast different types of sociological theory.
  5. Evaluate and discuss sociological theories critically.
  6. Analyze sociological concepts and issues using various forms of sociological theory.
  7. Discuss the relevance of sociological research to the development of sociological theory and vice versa.


Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.

 An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Three Exams


Research Outline


Term Paper Assignment


Class Participation




 Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.


Textbook Materials

Examples of textbooks that may be used in this course include:

  • Sears, A. and Cairns, J. (2015) A Good Book in Theory: Making Sense Through Inquiry. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Dillon, M. (2014). Introduction to Sociological Theory. Toronto: Wiley.
  • Kivisto, P. (2013) Social Theory: Roots and Branches. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Ritzer, G. (2012). Contemporary Social Theory and Its Classical Roots. New York: McGraw-Hill
  • Mann, D. (2011). Understanding Society: A Survey of Modern Social Theory. Toronto: Oxford University Press.
  • Ransome, P. (2010). Social Theory for Beginners. Bristol: Policy Press.
  • Allan, K. (2010). The Social Lens: An Invitation to Social and Sociological Theory. Toronto: Pearson Education Canada.