What Are the Different Types of Sociology Coursework?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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Sociology coursework ranges from positivism to antipositivism and from functionalism to conflict theory. Other sociology coursework, such as contemporary social theory, economic sociology and criminology, helps students to study the function of social behavior in governments and people. Political sociology is another type of sociology coursework that attempts to solve the questions of why some humans do not take part in electing officials and passing laws. Sociology is the study of society and the people who make up societies.

Much of the sociology coursework focuses on the study of people and attempts to answer questions concerning the behavior and actions of the members of any given society. Positivism is one of the oldest forms of societal study and focuses on the belief that only the scientific method can be used to explain society's actions. Positivism claims that the only true knowledge is scientific, testable knowledge.

Early sociologists tied sociology to the natural sciences. They argued, through positivism, that the social sciences are logical extensions of the natural sciences. As such, they should retain the same objectivity, rationalism and causality when attempting to explain a society's behavior as those used when explaining any other group actions that might occur in nature.


Other sociology coursework, such as antipositivism, argues that society cannot be judged in the same manner as other forms in nature due, in part, to the ability of humans to make decisions and form beliefs independently of science. The functionalism type of sociology coursework studies the actions of society as a necessary requirement to allow societies to function as intended. Conflict theory is another type of sociology coursework that focuses its beliefs on the struggle between opposing forces within society such as master and slave, oppressor and oppressed and king and serf. This is also known as a Marxist theory, as Karl Marx subscribed to this school of thought.

The late 1960s gave way to a new course of study for the sociologist, this new sociology coursework focused on the contemporary social theory. One of the most notable theories to come from this course of study is the structuralist movement. This course of study examines the structure of the social system as a whole. Other coursework in the sociology field is social organization, social psychology and social change and dysfunction, which studies criminality, juvenile delinquency and drug addiction. Other social phenomenons, such as divorce, prostitution and the death penalty, are studied in this type of sociology coursework.


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