Socialization is the process by which individuals develop into social beings. Examines various theories of socialization and human development. Explores the role played by social structure and institutions in the integration of the individual into society.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to social science theories and research by examining different constructions of the relationship between the individual and society. The course will emphasize psychological theories of the individual that have gained prominence in Western culture. Until recently, such theories assumed the possibility of self-determination and often focused on the functioning of an autonomous self (e.g., “self help,” “self control,” “self actualization”). In contrast, other social science theorists argue that cultural, social, economic, and political structures situate or locate people within a hierarchical set of social relations that often over-determine their identities. The course takes up the latter claim through examining a study (or group of studies) that shows how socialization patterns and social structure matter in the lives of individuals.
Student learning goals
To become familiar with three theories of psychology: behavioral, psychoanalytic, and humanistic/phenomenological, particularly as they explain identity development and human behavior;
To apply theories of human behavior by writing an analysis of a case study;
To develop an understanding of US American constructions of social class, race/ethnicity, and gender and examine how they interpenetrate identity and behavior and to recognize patterns of social, economic and political inequality, especially when they produce stigmatized and privileged experiences;
To develop the capacity to think critically about psychological theory within the context of multiple frameworks without losing perspective, integrity, and hope;
To become familiar with the general distinctions between qualitative and quantitative research traditions and to undertake a qualitative research project to explore the role of culture in the construction of identity;
To identify effective small group interactions in light of task and process functions.
General method of instruction
The class will consist of a mixture of lecture, large class discussion, and small group discussion.
Class assignments and grading
Students will complete weekly participation exercises designed to help them engaged in informed small group discussions about the readings; they will take a midterm exam and final and write a case analysis. They will conduct an interview and analyze it.
The participation exercises are roughly worth 1/3 of the grade; the exams worth 1/3, and the case analysis and interview analysis is worth 1/3.