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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Wadiya A Udell
BISSEB 333
Bothell Campus

The Individual and Society

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.

Class description

This course is designed to provide an analysis of various social science theories conceptualizing the relationship between the individual and society. The course will emphasize psychological theories of the individual that have gained prominence in Western culture. The first half of the course will focus on three individual-level theories of human nature. 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 emphasize the role of cultural, social, economic, and political structures in explaining individual behavior. The second half of the course will take this social ecological perspective of human nature, emphasizing the role of societal structure in explaining individual behavior and social change. We will examine this latter perspective via a qualitative study on class differences in child raising practices; focusing on the ways in which certain practices serve as an advantage or disadvantage to children from different economic classes.

Student learning goals

1. To become familiar with three theories of psychology: behavioral, psychoanalytic, and humanistic/phenomenological, particularly as they explain identity development and human behavior;

2. To become familiar with a range of methods used by social scientists to study individual behavior and behavior in social contexts;

3. To develop an understanding of US American constructions of social class, race/ethnicity, and gender and examine how they interact to shape identity and behavior;

4. To develop the capacity to think critically about psychological theory within the context of multiple frameworks;

5. 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.

General method of instruction

Teaching methods include a mixture of lecture, large class discussion involving all participants, and small group discussions.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Regular homework, midterm, one or two papers, presentation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Wadiya A Udell
Date: 10/17/2011