Introduction to Sociology course

Chapter 4. Sociological perspectives

Sociologists study many different topics such as education, crime, organizations, health, family, work, immigration, to name only a few. One way to introduce you to this variety of topics is to simply discuss each topic one by one. However, it is also fruitful for you to see some common patterns between this variety of topics. First, you can study any topic by relating it to overarching sociological themes. A theme emphasizes certain characteristics of a topic and it can be used as a perspective that helps you to see common patterns between topics. Second, you can study any topic by adopting a multilevel perspective, which is useful for understanding the interplay between social contexts and individuals.


Ch. 4
Ch. 4.2Sociological Themes and Topics
Ch. 4.3Causal Explaining or Subjective Understanding?
Ch. 4.4Multilevel Framework (‘Coleman boat’)

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Further reading

Additional chapter resources

  • Origins of sociological perspectives. Are you interested in biographies and key writings/ideas of classical sociologists? Then check these videos on Dubois, Marx, Martineau, Weber, Durkheim.
  • Multilevel perspective: Struggling with this multilevel micro-macro framework a.k.a. Coleman boat? Then watch this nice educational video on the micro-macro link made by Prof. Thomas Grund (enjoy!).