Areas of Specialization

The mission of the Department of Sociology is primarily focused on its undergraduate and graduate academic programs. As well, faculty members pursue active research programs, and thus the Department is home to many nationally and internationally acclaimed scholars.

Members of the Department of Sociology have affiliations with other research institutes at the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg (e.g., the Centre for Human Rights Research, which focuses on issues related to human rights and social justice,  The Centre on Aging, an interdisciplinary research institute, RESOLVE, a centre for research and education for solutions to violence and abuse, and WISER a multidisciplinary, longitudinal population health promotion research program).

The Sociology Department at the University of Manitoba offers students a solid grounding in the two core areas of the discipline: theory and methods. In addition, our courses are organized into clusters that reflect the specializations of our faculty: criminology and social justice; culture and social relations; population health and wellness; power, privilege and resistance; global sociology; and social policy and practice. Each of these core areas and clusters—and the courses that pertain to them—is described below.

 

 

SOCIOLOGY THEORY CORE

Theory is the activity of relating specific facts together into an overall pattern.  In sociology, theory and empirical research are closely connected: sociological theorizing is based on the results of past research, and works to explain those results while framing new research questions.  Theory also helps connect sociological knowledge to the practical demands of personal troubles and public issues. 
In sociology, basic theoretical questions include: 
    • What is society?
    • What are the key problems in society and what causes them?  
    • What binds individuals together into communities, and what fuels the conflicts between people?
    • How has our society developed to the condition it is in, and how is it likely to develop in the future? 
    • How can individuals act to change society for the better – and what is ‘better’ anyway? 

One of the exciting things about sociology as a discipline is that it suggests more than one possible answer to each of these questions.  Within the discipline, several quite different theoretical orientations are engaged in a debate over the most basic questions of social life.  Students are invited to join in that debate!

2000-Level Theory Course:

Sociological Theoretical Foundations (SOC 2220), a required course for the Sociology major and honours programs, has two main objectives. First, it introduces students to the debates over basic questions at the core of the discipline.  Students learn to see how differing claims about society presuppose differing theoretical choices. Second, it offers students the chance to develop skills in reading and critically analyzing the original writings of important theorists.
 
3000-Level Theory Courses:

Building on the basic skills laid down in SOC 2220, the third-year courses offer students a chance to explore sociological theory in some depth through the examination of specific topics or issues.  These courses especially allow instructors to engage students with their own areas of theoretical interest, and to help students develop their own budding research agendas. 

Sociology majors choose one; honours students take two of these courses:

SOC 3310 Theorizing Crime, Law & Social Justice
SOC 3330 Origins of Sociological Thought 
SOC 3350 Feminism and Sociological Theory 
SOC 3360 Theories in Social Psychology 
SOC 3390 Contemporary Sociological Theory 
SOC 3380 Power, Politics, and the Welfare State
SOC 3700 Sociology of Law 

4000-Level Theory Courses

The two Honours theory seminars hone students’ ability to engage closely with challenging theoretical texts, and orient them to the range of theoretical projects that inform contemporary sociological research. Students who go on to graduate study will have been given a road map and a set of tools that equip them to make and defend their own theoretical choices. Students who go on to other pursuits will have been given the means to think deeply about the social world, and to sense the other possibilities that lie beyond the social world as it currently is.

SOC 4460 Advanced Sociological Theory I 
SOC 4560 Advanced Sociological Theory II 

Graduate Theory Courses

While theorizing is a key component of all of our graduate course offerings, the department offers a number of specialized courses in which students can hone and advance their knowledge of sociological theory.

SOC 7190 Seminar in Selected Topics in Sociological Theory 
SOC 7320 Seminar in Political Sociology
SOC 7430 Seminar in Classical Sociological Theory 
SOC 7440 Seminar in Contemporary Sociological Theory 

SPECIAL AREAS OF STRENGTH WITHIN THE THEORY CORE

Area                                            Faculty with special expertise
Classical theory                          Axelrod
Criminological theory                 Comack, Smandych, Woolford
Critical cultural theory                Bookman, Fries, Woolford
Feminist theory                           Comack, Peter, Prentice, Ursel
Political economy/state theory    Hudson, Olsen, Prentice
Social psychology                       Albas, Roberts
Sociology of knowledge             Axelrod

 

 

Sociology Methods Core

Methodology is a central component of the sociology curriculum. Without a method, it would be impossible to conduct research! Undergraduate students studying sociology in our department are introduced to a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies during their studies. At the graduate level, students have the opportunity to further develop and apply their skills through a variety of courses in statistics, quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and evaluation research.

Undergraduate Courses

SOC 2290 Introduction to Research Methods (6 cr hrs)
SOC 3100 Practicum in Criminological/Sociological Research (6 cr hrs)
SOC 3820 Qualitative and Historical Methods in Sociology

Honours Courses

SOC 2010 Critical Issues in Sociology
SOC 4450 Honours Thesis Seminar (6 cr hrs)
SOC 4570 Quantitative Social Analysis
SOC 4580 Social Research Methods

Graduate Courses

SOC 7240 Selected Topics in Research and Methods
SOC 7390 Survey Research Methods.
SOC 7400 Advanced Quantitative Research Methods
SOC 7420 Qualitative Research Methods
SOC 7470 Evaluating Social Programs

SPECIAL AREAS OF STRENGTH WITHIN THE METHODS CORE

Area                                  Faculty with special expertise
Quantitative methods         Edgerton, Kampen, Linden, Peter, Roberts, Wilkinson
Qualitative methods          Comack, Funk, Peter, Prentice, Roberts, Smandych, Ursel
Historical sociology         Hudson, Prentice, Smandych, Woolford
Evaluation research          Cormier, Linden, Roberts, Ursel
Comparative methods       Edgerton, Olsen, Roberts, Smandych

 

 

Criminology and Social Justice

Criminology is the study of the nature and causes of and responses to crime in society. The concern for social justice broadens the investigation to ask whether our institutions—including law and the criminal justice system—are organized and implemented in ways that realize human rights and equality for all members of society.

Students can pursue either a 3-year major or 4-year honours program in Criminology in our department.

CONTENT/SUB-AREAS

Law and Society
The Criminal Justice System
Criminal Justice Research and Policy

Undergraduate Courses

SOC 2510 Criminology
SOC 2610 Criminal Justice & Corrections
SOC 3100 Practicum in Criminological/Sociological Research (6 cr hrs)
SOC 3310 Theorizing Law, Crime and Social Justice
SOC 3400 Policing and Crime Prevention
SOC 3700  Sociology of Law    
SOC 3710 Criminal Careers
SOC 3720 Criminal Law & Its Procedure
SOC 3750 Institutional Responses to Violence
SOC 3860 Genocide, Crime & Society      
SOC 3740 Selected Topics in Criminology (subject matter varies by instructor)
SOC 3790 Women, Crime and Social Justice
SOC 3830 Youth, Crime and Society
SOC 3850 Restorative Justice  
SOC 3880 Global Criminology and Criminal Justice
SOC 4490 Advanced Seminar in Criminology

Graduate Courses

SOC 7280 Seminar in Theories of Criminal Behaviour
SOC 7300 Sociology of Law & Social Control
SOC 7450 Selected Topics in Criminology

FACULTY WITH SPECIAL EXPERTISE

Elizabeth Comack (Inequality and the Law, Feminist Criminology), Frank Cormier (Aboriginal Justice Issues, Policing), Rick Linden (Policing, Aboriginal Justice, Crime Prevention), Russell Smandych (Comparative Legal History; Historical Sociology; Indigenous Peoples and Law; Global Criminology and Criminal Justice; Youth Justice), Jane Ursel (Criminal Justice Policy; Domestic Violence), Andrew Woolford (Conflict Resolution, Genocide Studies, Indigenous/Non-Indigenous Relations, Neoliberalism and the City )

 

 

Culture and Social Relations

Culture and social relations is concerned with the ways in which social identities and relations are shaped, reproduced, and reconfigured through various socio-cultural processes and institutions.  The individual in society is a subject of research for faculty specializing in the areas of symbolic interactionism, socialization, and social psychology. Faculty in this cluster also extend the socio-cultural approach to the study of class, gender, and ethnic relations, as well as to aspects of the media, consumer culture, and other institutions.

CONTENT/SUB-AREAS

The individual in society     
Community development and urban life
Popular culture, media, and consumer culture 
Religion       
Gender relations      
Education

Undergraduate Courses

SOC 2260 Cities and Urban Life
SOC 2320 Canadian Society and Culture
SOC 2330 Social Psychology
SOC 2360 Small Group Behaviour
SOC 2370 Ethnic Relations
SOC 2380 Sociology of Religion
SOC 2460 The Family
SOC 3580 Media, Culture and Society
SOC 3730 Society & Education
SOC 3810 Sociological Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality
SOC 3840 Social and Community Reconstruction

Graduate Courses


SOC 7110 Seminar in Sociology of Religion
SOC 7120 Seminar in Sociology of Education
SOC 7160 Selected Topics
SOC 7310 Seminar in Intergroup Relations
SOC 7340 Seminar in the Family

FACULTY WITH SPECIAL EXPERTISE

Dan Albas (Social Psychology, Small Group Behaviour), Charles Axelrod (Religion), Sonia Bookman (Media, Consumer Culture, Urban Life), Jason Edgerton (Education, Race/Ethnic Relations), Laura Funk (Age Identity, Intergenerational Relations, Family Relationships), Gregg Olsen (Music and Popular Culture), Tracey Peter (Gender/Sexuality), Lance Roberts (Social Psychology, Education), Jane Ursel (Family), Lori Wilkinson (Race/Ethnic Relations), Andrew Woolford (Cities and Urban Life).

 

 

Population Health and Wellness

According to the World Health Organization, health is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”  The teaching and research activities within this cluster are informed by the 12 social determinants of health, as defined by Health Canada: 1. Income and social status; 2. Social support networks; 3. Education; 4. Employment and working conditions; 5. Social environments; 6. Physical environments; 7. Biology and genetic endowment; 8. Personal health practices and coping skills; 9. Healthy child developments; 10. Health services; 11. Gender; and 12. Culture. The emphasis is on the social determinants of health, including both structural and behavioural factors.

CONTENT/SUB-AREAS

Health care systems
Social determinants of health
Health and illness behavior and experience
Mental health and wellbeing

Undergraduate Courses

SOC 2450 Sociology of the Body
SOC 2490 Sociology of Health and Illness
SOC 2620 Sociology of Aging
SOC 3450 Sociological Perspectives on the Social Determinants of Health
SOC 3540 Sociology of Health Care Systems
SOC 3660 Sociology of Mental Disorder

Graduate Courses

SOC 7370 Issues in Health Care
SOC 7380 Issues in Aging

FACULTY WITH SPECIAL EXPERTISE

Christopher J. Fries (Health, Medicine, and the Body), Laura Funk (Aging, Social Support and Caregiving, Social Determinants of Health), Tracey Peter (Mental Health, Suicide Prevention), Lance Roberts (Mental Health), Lori Wilkinson (Ethnicity, Immigration, and Health)

 

 

Power, Privilege, and Resistance

The Power, Privilege and Resistance cluster examines the dynamics of power and the relations of ruling. It is particularly attentive to the way that class, sex/gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality and other forms of social differentiation are created and organized and how these operate to produce power and resistance.  Faculty who specialize in this area seek to understand how power is expressed through movements, institutions, and structures.

CONTENT/SUB-AREAS

Class & Poverty
Stratification & Social Mobility
Human Rights
Social Inequality/Social Justice
Violence
Social Movements
Racialization and Ethnic Studies
Aboriginal Peoples
Gender and Sexuality
Work
Education

Undergraduate Courses

SOC 2310 Selected Social Problems
SOC 2350 Collective Behaviour 
SOC 2370 Ethnic Relations
SOC 2460 The Family
SOC 2630 Social Change
SOC 3370 Sociology of Work
SOC 3380 Power, Politics and the Welfare State
SOC 3700 Sociology of Law
SOC 3730 Society and Education
SOC 3750 Institutional Response to Violence in Family and Intimate Relations
SOC 3810 Sociological Perspective on Gender and Sexuality
SOC 3880 Global Criminology and Criminal Justice
SOC 3890 Power and Social Inequality: A Comparative Perspective

Graduate Courses

SOC 7120 Seminar in the Sociology of Education
SOC 7160 Selected Topics
SOC7300 Seminar in Law & Social Control
SOC 7310 Seminar in Intergroup Relations
SOC 7340 Seminar in the Family
SOC 7480 Social Inequality

FACULTY MEMBERS WITH SPECIAL EXPERTISE

Elizabeth Comack, Jason Edgerton, Mark Hudson, Gregg Olsen, Tracey Peter, Susan Prentice, Russell Smandych, Jane Ursel, Lori Wilkinson, Andrew Woolford

 

 

Global Sociology

The Global Sociology cluster is distinguished by the scale of its analysis, rather than by its specific substantive content. Researchers in this cluster examine relations, structures, institutions, and flows that transcend the usual unit of social-scientific research, the nation state. The cluster emphasizes the movement of people, ideas, culture, capital, and commodities as they form webs of connection, difference, and inequality across the globe.

CONTENT/SUB-AREAS

Globalization
Global Criminology                  
Human Rights
Consumer Culture
Immigration and Refugee Studies     
Ecology and the environment           
Work
International Development
Global Inequality
Global Cities
Transnational Social Movements
                      
Undergraduate Courses

SOC 2270 Cities and Urban Life
SOC 2350 Collective Behaviour
SOC 2480 Population Problems
SOC 2490 Sociology of Health and Illness
SOC 3370 Sociology of Work
SOC 3380 Power, Politics and the Welfare State
SOC 3510 Population Dynamics and Change
SOC 3580 Media, Culture, and Society
SOC 3838 Ecology and Society
SOC 3860 Genocide, Crime & Society 
SOC 3880 Global Criminology and Criminal Justice
SOC 3890 Power and Social Inequality: A Comparative Perspective

Graduate Courses

SOC 7160 Selected Topics
SOC 7320 Seminar in Political Sociology
SOC 7480 Social Inequality
SOC 7490 Globalization

FACULTY MEMBERS WITH SPECIAL EXPERTISE

Sonia Bookman, Jason Edgerton, Mark Hudson, Karen Kampen, Gregg Olsen, Russell Smandych, Lori Wilkinson, Andrew Woolford.

 

 

Social Policy and Practice

The state and its various policy domains are the focus of the Social Policy and Practice cluster. Research and teaching in this area emphasize that the state and its policies are products and sites of struggle. Faculty members undertake analysis of social and public policy and corresponding practice—comparatively, historically, and through close case study.

CONTENT/SUB-AREAS

Welfare State analysis
Multiculturalism and diversity
Immigration
Family
Healthcare
Education
Social movements

Undergraduate Courses

SOC 2370 Ethnic Relations
SOC 2460 The Family
SOC 3100 Practicum in Criminological/Sociological Research (6 cr hrs)
SOC 3380 Power, Politics and the Welfare State
SOC 3540 Sociology of Health Care Systems
SOC 3640 Families in Social Crisis
SOC 3730 Society & Education
SOC 3750 Institutional Response to Violence in Family and Intimate Relations

Graduate Courses

SOC 7160 Selected Topics
SOC 7129 Seminar in Sociology of Education
SOC 7320 Political Sociology
SOC 7340 Seminar in the Family
SOC 7370 Issues in Health Care Seminar
SOC 7470 Evaluating Social Programs

FACULTY MEMBERS WITH SPECIAL EXPERTISE

Jason Edgerton, Christopher J. Fries, Gregg Olsen, Susan Prentice, Lance Roberts, Jane Ursel, Lori Wilkinson