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Sociology of Culture

Sociology of Culture

SOCI 4620

MoWeFr 10:00AM - 10:50AM

Wooten 122

Jan 16, 2018- May 11, 2018

Associate Professor Gabe Ignatow

Office: 288E Sycamore Hall


What is culture? How do cultures shape individuals, nations, and economies? And what kinds of social processes influence cultural production and consumption (art, music, literature, movies, television)? This course looks at questions of culture through a sociological lense, and at society through a cultural lense. Most of the readings will be from cultural sociology and the sociology of culture, but we will also discuss anthropology, literary criticism, philosophy, and cultural history.

The course is fairly theoretical as sociology courses go, and requires serious reading and discussion. It is particularly suitable for students interested in the media, arts, literature, religion, social theory, and cultural differences.


1. Articles linked from this site

2. Articles available in from on-campus computers


Two exams (short-answer blue book) 25% and 30% each

Final exam (short-answer blue book) 25%

Pop quizzes, 20%

Attendance Policy

Attendance is mandatory, and active participation in class discussion is encouraged.

Attendance will not be taken, but absence will be noted.

There will be no make-up quizzes. Make-up exams can be scheduled for the week following the original exam date, but are generally more challenging than the original exam.


Part I: Introduction

week 1

William Sewell jr., The Concept(s) of Culture (download from bottom of this page)

week 2

Part II: Karl Marx and Critical Theory

Critical Theory, from Standord Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, The Culture Industry

weeks 3 and 4

Part III: Max Weber and Values Analysis

Max Weber, “The Social Psychology of the World Religions” (download from bottom of this page)

Max Weber, "The Protestant Sects and the Spirit of Capitalism"

Bryan Turner, Islam, Capitalism and the Weber Theses (bottom of page)

Samuel Huntington, Cultures Count (bottom of page)

week 5

Part IV: Cultural Anthropology and Cultural Relativism

Ruth Benedict, The Diversity of Cultures (bottom of page)

Clifford Geertz, Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture

Richard Shweder, "On the Return of the 'Civilizing' Project" (bottom of page)

Exam 1 February 16

weeks 6 and 7

Part V: Emile Durkheim and Neo-Durkheimian Cultural Sociology

Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, Introduction and Chapter 1

Film: "Warriors of the Amazon"

week 8

Part VI: Culture and Social Class

Sulkunen, Pekka. Sociology Made Visible: On the Cultural Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu

Pierre Bourdieu, Social Space and Symbolic Power (bottom of page)

week 9

Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production (read through pg. 40) and The Market of Symbolic Goods

Sam Friedman, Habitus clivé and the emotional imprint of social mobility

week 10

Small, Harding, and Lamont, Reconsidering Culture and Poverty

Exam 2 Friday March 30

week 11

Part VII: Culture and Morality

Lamont et al. "Cultural and Moral Boundaries in the United States" (attached at bottom of this page)

Gretchen Purser, The Dignity of Job-Seeking Men (attached at bottom of this page)

week 12

VIII. Cultural Consumption

Richard Peterson and Roger Kern, "Changing Highbrow Taste: From Snob to Omnivore" (bottom of page)

Bethany Bryson, Anything But Heavy Metal

Sam Friedman, Cultural Omnivores or Culturally Homeless?

week 13

Part IX: The Culture Industries

Peterson and Anand, The Production of Culture Perspective

Richard Peterson, Why 1955? Explaining the Advent of Rock Music (get from JSTOR)

week 14

Wendy Griswold, American Character and the American Novel (get from JSTOR)

Sam Friedman, The Hidden Tastemakers: Comedy Scouts as Cultural Brokers at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Final Exam

*Students with disabilities are invited to meet during office hours, or to email, to discuss any special needs for this class.

*As for all classes at UNT, academic dishonesty, plagiarism, collusion and falsification of academic records or the attempt to do these things constitute academic dishonesty, as per the UNT Code of Student Conduct and Discipline. All exams for this course are closed-book and closed-notes unless otherwise specified by the instructor.


I encourage in and out of classroom input. I am available for consultation during my open office hours (or preferably by appointment) and welcome the opportunity to assist students. To arrange for an appointment and for purposes of this course, please use the Blackboard Learn message function or email me at


Academic dishonesty (cheating and/or plagiarism) will not be tolerated at any time. Any person suspected of academic dishonesty will be handled in accordance with the policies and procedures set forth by the University of North Texas, the College of Public Affairs and Community Service and the Department of Sociology. You will find the complete provisions of the code in the student handbook. Please note that I take academic dishonesty very seriously and the consequences will be very harsh.

Plagiarism is defined as the act of taking another's ideas, words, writings, or research findings and not giving them proper credit through quotations or citations. Even when we are paraphrasing another's ideas, we must give them credit. To do otherwise is to allow the reader to think these ideas and words are your own when they are not. This act is considered theft of intellectual property. Plagiarism is considered one of the most serious transgressions that can be committed in the educational community.

In the case of plagiarism, there are several options available to an instructor, including verbal and/or written reprimand, assignment of a lower grade with an explanation from the instructor, expulsion from the course with the assignment of a passing grade (WP), expulsion from the course with the assignment of a failing grade (WF), and/or expulsion from the university.

Therefore, all written work should be properly cited when:

  1. Describing the ideas of another (even if it is not a direct quotation),

  2. Describing the research of another (even if it is not a direct quotation),

  3. Using the words, phrases, paragraphs, or pages of another, and/or

  4. Quoting the words of another.


If you intend to miss class sessions for religious reasons sometime during the semester, you must notify me in writing by no later than 5 PM on July 14 (Friday).


Please refer to the UNT Faculty Handbook  or your department  regarding  the Add/Drop    Policy.


U.S. Federal Regulation:  For F–1 students  enrolled  in classes  for credit or classroom  hours, no  more than the equivalent of one class or three credits per session, term, semester,  trimester,  or quarter  may be counted toward the full course of study requirement if the class is taken on-line or through  distance  education  and does  not require the student's  physical  attendance  for classes,  examination  or other  purposes  integral to completion  of the class. An on-line or distance  education  course is a course that is  offered principally through the use of television, audio, or computer transmission including  open broadcast, closed circuit, cable, microwave, or satellite,  audio conferencing, or computer  conferencing.  If the F–1  student's course of study is in a language study program, no on-line or distance education classes may be considered  to count toward  a student's  full course  of study requirement.

To read detailed Immigration and Customs Enforcement regulations for F-1 students taking online courses,  please go to the Electronic  Code of Federal  Regulations  website  at:

The specific portion concerning  distance education  courses is located   at:

"Title 8 CFR 214.2 Paragraph (f) (6) (i) (G)” and can be found buried within this document


To comply with immigration regulations, an F-1 visa holder within the United States may need to  engage in an on- campus experiential component  for this course. This component  (which must be approved  in advance by the instructor) can include activities such as taking an on-campus exam, participating in an on-campus  lecture or lab activity, or other on-campus  experience  integral to the completion  of this   course.

If such an on-campus  activity is required,  it is the student’s  responsibility  to do the  following:

  1. Submit a written request to the instructor for an on-campus experiential component  within one week of  the start of the  course.

  2. Ensure that the activity on campus takes place and the instructor  documents  it in writing with a    notice sent to the International Student and Scholar Services Office. ISSS has a form available  that you may use for this purpose.

Because the decision may have serious immigration consequences, if an F-1 student  is unsure about his or her need to participate in an on-campus experiential component for this course, s/he should contact the UNT International Student and Scholar Services Office (telephone 940-565-2195 or email  to get clarification  before  the one-week deadline.


The University of North Texas seeks to provide appropriate academic adjustments for all individuals with disabilities. This University will comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations and guidelines, specifically Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with respect to providing appropriate academic adjustments to afford equal educational opportunity.

However, it is the responsibility of the student to register with and provide medical verification and academic schedules to Disability Support Services (DSS) at the beginning of each semester and no later than the second week of school unless otherwise determined by the coordinator. The student also must contact the faculty member in a timely manner to arrange for appropriate academic adjustments.

Appropriate adjustments and auxiliary aid are available for persons with disabilities. Call 940-565-2456 (TDD access 1-800-735-2989).

The University of North Texas makes reasonable academic accommodation for students with disabilities. Students seeking accommodation must first register with the Office of Disability Accommodation (ODA) to verify their eligibility. If a disability is verified, the ODA will provide you with an accommodation letter to be delivered to faculty to begin a private discussion regarding your specific needs in a course. You may request accommodations at any time, however, ODA notices of accommodation should be provided as early as possible in the semester to avoid any delay in implementation. Note that students must obtain a new letter of accommodation for every semester and must meet with each faculty member prior to implementation in each class. Students are strongly encouraged to deliver letters of accommodation during faculty office hours or by appointment. Faculty members have the authority to ask students to discuss such letters during their designated office hours to protect the privacy of the student. For additional information see the Office of Disability Accommodation website at: You may also contact them by phone at 940.565.4323.


Links to all of these services  can be found on the Academic  Support  tab within Blackboard    Learn:

  • Academic Resource Center: buy textbooks and supplies, access academic catalogs and programs, register for classes, and more.

  • Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities: provides Code of Student Conduct along with other useful links.

  • Office of Disability Accommodation: ODA exist to prevent discrimination on the basis of disability and to help students reach a higher level of independence.

  • Counseling and Testing Services: CTS provides counseling services to the UNT community as well as testing services; such as admissions testing, computer-based testing, career testing and other tests.

  • UNT Libraries: online library services

  • Online Tutoring: chat in real time, mark up your paper using drawing tools and edit the text of your paper with the tutor’s help.

  • The Learning Center Support Programs: various program links provided to enhance the student experience.

  • Supplemental Instruction: program for every student, not just for students that are struggling.

  • UNT Writing Lab: offers free writing tutoring to all UNT students, undergraduate and graduate.

  • Math Tutor Lab: located in GAB, room 440.

  • Succeed at UNT: how to be “a successful student” information.


The following information has been provided to assist you in preparation for the technological aspect  of the course.

Minimum Technical Skills Needed:

Examples  include:

  1. Using the learning management system,

  2. Using email with attachments,

  3. Creating and submitting files in commonly used word processing program formats,

  4. Copying and pasting,

  5. Downloading and installing software, and

  6. Using spreadsheet programs.


The University of North Texas UIT Student Helpdesk provides  student  technical  support  in the use of Blackboard and supported  resources.  The student  help desk may be reached   at:

Email: Phone: 940.565-2324

In Person: Sage Hall, Room 130 Our hours are:

Monday-Thursday 8am-midnight Friday 8am-8pm

Saturday 9am-5p Sunday 8am-midnight


The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template®, or VPAT® documents Blackboard Learn 9.1's conformance with the accessibility standards  under  Section  508 of the Rehabilitation  Act (29 U.S.C.  '794 d), as amended  by the Workforce  Investment  Act  of 1998  (P.L. 105 - 220), August  7,  1998.

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