ERIC Number: EJ1004215
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 158
Teaching Sociological Theory for a New Century: Contending with the "Time Crunch"
American Sociologist, v44 n2 p132-154 Jun 2013
Despite being a decade into the 21st century, sociological theory continues to be taught at the undergraduate and graduate level in nearly every program in the United States as if it were still 1970. 40 years ago, it made sense to dichotomize theory into two courses--"classical" and "contemporary"--because the latter of the two only covered theory from about the 1930s to the "present." Today a literal and figurative "time crunch" has emerged that makes teaching theory difficult and at times, arbitrary based on the professor's training, mentor, ideological/epistemological biases, and structural factors like textbook choice and number of academic weeks allotted per course. That is, we spend a large amount of time debating who should be in or out, and not enough time preparing our students for the application of theory towards the ultimate goal: knowledge about the social world. Students, then, leave confused at how one uses theory, what theory actually is, and, often times, disengaged from theory because of the density with which some theories approach the social world. In the paper below, the "time crunch" and its tendency to produce a "lost generation" of theorists is examined. After elucidating how the "time crunch" constrains sociology, four possible solutions are presented. This list of solutions is neither definitive nor exhaustive, and is meant to generate a rich discussion about the direction the discipline should head in the new century.
Descriptors: Social Theories, Sociology, Educational Sociology, Undergraduate Study, Graduate Study, Higher Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States