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   Course Title    Introduction to Sociology
Lecturer    Svetlozar Ivanov
Institution    Sofia University
Country    Bulgaria


The main objective of the course is to provide students of journalism, public relations, and book-publishing information about main theories and key concepts in Sociology and to help them to develop analytical skills and to understand major social phenomena. The course is related to other courses taught at the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication, esp. to Social Psychology, Theory of Mass Communication, Political Science, and Methods for Empirical Research.


Lectures and seminars with discussions on each topic.


  1. Sociology as a Social Science. Development of sociology as a social science. Auguste Komte: "social physics". Herbert Spencer: social Darwinism. Contributions of Max Weber, Emil Durkheim, and Karl Marx. Parson’s model A-G-I-L. Main empirical methods: questionnaire, interview, observation, experiment, and content analysis.
    Durkheim, Emile. 1933. Division of Labor in Society. New York: Free Press.
  2. Culture and Socialization. Elements of culture: language, symbols, values, and norms. Milton Rokeach’s theory about terminal and instrumental values. Cultural explanation of social change. David McClelland: achievement motivation. Inglehart’s theory about post-material values and cognitive mobilization. Agents of socialization: family, peer group, school, and mass media.
    Inglehart, Ronald 1990. Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  3. Theory of Modernization I: Main Traits and Differences between Traditional and Modern Societies. Rationalization, secularization, urbanization. Durkheim: mechanical and organic solidarity. Toennies: Gemeinchaft and Gesellschaft. Different pace of modernization.
    Weber, Max. 1976. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. London: Routledge.
  4. Theory of Modernization II: Variances for Modernization. Criticism of europocentrism. The modernization of Japan and other societies in Eastern Asia. Michio Morishima: the role of Confucianism for Japanese modernization.
    Berger, Peter. 1986. The Capitalist Revolution. Fifty Propositions about Prosperity, Equality, and Liberty. New York: Basic Books.
  5. Theory of Civilizations. Main traits of a civilization. Toynbee’s theory about challenge and response. Differences between Western and Eastern Europe. Huntington: reactions of non-Western societies toward Western civilization. Eurointegration of former socialist countries in the context of civilization theories.
    Toynbee, Arnold. 1946. A Study of History. 2 vol. New York: Oxford University Press.
    Huntington, Samuel. 1996. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Free Press.
  6. Politics, State, and Civil Society. The meaning of politics. Type of government: democracy, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, monarchy, oligarchy, absolutism, etc. Direct and representative democracy. Almond and Verba: political culture. The concept of civil society. Revitalization of the idea in Eastern Europe: the rise of Solidarnost in Poland. Putnam: the role of social capital and civic community.
    Almond, Gabriel, and Sidney Verba. 1989. The Civic Culture. Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.
    Putnam, Robert. 1993. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
    Kubik, Jan. 1994. The Power of Symbols against the Symbols of Power. University Park, Penns.: Pennsylvania State University.
  7. Socialism, Communism, and Marxism. Different branches of socialism: religious, utopian, ethical, revolutionary. Marx and Engels: theory of class struggle and criticism of capitalism. Social basis and superstructure. Split between communists and social democrats. Lenin’s contribution: the role of the party. Criticism of socialism and communism.
    Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1978. "Manifesto of the Communist Party". Tucker, Robert (ed.), The Marx-Engels Reader. New York: Norton and Company, pp.469-500.
  8. Socialism in Russia and Eastern Europe. Historical differences of the development of Eastern Europe and Russia. Istvan Bibo and Jeno Szuch about the three historical regions in Europe: Western, East-Central and Eastern. Impact of socialist ideology. Socialism as a forced modernization. Socialism as a civilization phenomenon: the traits of Orthodox civilization and socialist development. Differences between socialist countries in Central and in Eastern Europe: does culture matter?
    Szucs, Jeno. 1983. "The Three Historical Regions in Europe." Acta Historica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 29 (2-4), pp.131-184.
    Longworth, Philip. 1994. Making of Eastern Europe. New York: St. Martin's Press.
  9. Social Change in Eastern Europe Since 1989. Political and economic reforms in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland as compared with those in Bulgaria and Romania. The dissolution of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. The rise of nationalism.
    Henderson, Karen, and Robinson, Neil. 1997. Post-Communist Politics. London: Prentice Hall.
  10. Information Society. Debate on post-modern, post-industrial and information society. Information economy and the decline of industrial branches of economy. Computer revolution, globalization, multicultural society. The advent of the Internet and the Web and their social impact.
    Toffler, Alvin. 1980. The Third Wave. New York: Basic Books.
  11. Social Groups and Organizations. Primary groups and secondary groups. In-groups and out-groups. Reference groups. Industrial sociology: Taylor, Hawthorne experiment, Maslow’s model of the hierarchy of human needs.
    Aronson, Eliot. 1972. The Social Animal. San Francisco: Freeman and Company.
  12. Ethnicity and Ethnic Relations. Patterns of inter-group relations: genocide, assimilation, segregation, and tolerance. Prejudice in ethnic relations, discrimination, scapegoating, and self-fulfilling prophecy. Affirmative action. Ethnical conflicts in Eastern Europe.
    Merton, Robert. 1968. Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: Free Press.
  13. Sociological Theory of the Frankfurt School. The genesis of critical theory. Adorno: authoritarian personality. Fromm: the escape from freedom. Marcuse: one-dimensional men. Habermas: the public sphere.
    Adorno, Theodore, Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D., and Sanford, R. 1950. The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper.
    Habermas, Jurgen. 1989. Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

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