Open Educational Resources

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1-29-2023


This is an online course intended to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to the foundations of sociological theory. Through history, and across different disciplines, scientists have attempted to formulate explanations (paradigms and theories) that allow them to make sense of the social world around them. Sociological theories, similar to the ones used in other scientific disciplines, aim to identify patterns, forces, and power relations in order to interpret the past and present as well as to predict the future. In fact, we constantly construct and use theories in our everyday lives—from trying to make sense of group-leadership patterns and consumer choices in cars, to understanding the rising global popularity of opiates among youth, gender differences in homeless populations, and racial disparities in educational outcomes in the United States.


Course Goals/Objectives

1. This course is aimed at demonstrating the social mechanism approach to theory building.

2. Students will review some of the most influential classical and contemporary social theories and apply these theories to weekly exercises.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course students will have:

1. Learned the methods used for theorizing in sociology. To achieve this objective, students will be exposed to a general introduction to social theory with a view towards understanding theory construction and the predictive value of social theory.

2. Understood social theory, analyzed content, and interpreted different sources of data to support dissimilar theoretical arguments.