Douglas College wordmark
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Snapchat logo YouTube logo Wordpress logo
back to search

The Sociology of Popular Culture

Course Code: SOCI 2255
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Sociology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course uses various sociological perspectives to analyze the role of popular culture in society. The course examines the development and social significance of various forms of popular culture in the context of recent theories and debates about the relationship of culture to society. Representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality in popular culture will be analyzed. The course will also examine the role of popular culture in the maintenance of social inequality as well as its utility as a medium for challenging inequality.

Course Content

  1. Defining culture and popular culture
  2. Why should we study popular culture?
  3. Marxism and popular culture
  4. Post-structuralism, discourse, and popular culture
  5. Postmodernism and popular culture
  6. Feminist approaches to popular culture
  7. Representations of gender and sexuality in popular culture
  8. Representations of race in popular culture
  9. Representations of class in popular culture
  10. Production and consumption of popular culture
  11. Popular culture and consumerism
  12. Neoliberalism, globalization, and popular culture

Methods of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:

  • Lecture
  • Small group exercises
  • Class discussion
  • Computer lab work
  • Audio-visual materials
  • Guest speakers

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:

One mid-term exam  30%
One annotated bibliography       15%
One research project  25%
One final exam  30%
Total 100%

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

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Define popular culture.
  2. Explain the difference between ‘high’ culture and ‘popular’ culture.
  3. Explain the social organization of popular culture.
  4. Summarize major sociological theories of popular culture.
  5. Compare various perspectives on issues of debate in the sociology of popular culture.
  6. Critically analyze conventional ideas about popular culture.
  7. Critically analyze representations of race, class, gender, and sexuality in popular culture.
  8. Explain the role of popular culture in reinforcing and challenging social inequalities.
  9. Explain the relationship between forms of popular culture and consumerism in society.
  10. Critically analyze the impact of globalization on popular culture in Canada and around the world.

course prerequisites

SOCI 1125 or SOCI 1145 or SOCI 1155

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.