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Thomas Burr
Thomas Burr
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Sociology 295: Sociology of Culture


Culture is one of the most studied aspects of human societies, and one of the most complex. It is best to treat this class as an introduction to the sociological study of culture.

In this class we start by understanding culture at an individual level, then analyze culture in increasingly large groups, and finally analyze popular culture across entire societies.

For the first few weeks of the semester we read about and discuss culture and individuals. This includes cognition, values, material culture, semiotics,  language, norms, and discourse.

The middle portion of the class covers culture in small and then large groups, including "idiocultures" (face-to-face groups such as families, clubs, and friendship circles), subcultures, social worlds, ethnic communities, social classes, and nations.

For the last few weeks we analyze how culture, in the form of popular arts (music, movies, television shows, books, magazines, websites, and so on) is produced, distributed, and consumed in large socioeconomic systems.