Optional Concentrations

The following concentrations have been developed by Sociology faculty to serve as guides to students interested in designing a more focused and specialized path in fulfilling their requirements for the Sociology major or minor. While these remain optional, students interested in the fields of study below should follow the guidelines therein to develop a coherent program related to the area they intend to pursue. Students do not need to declare their concentrations at this time, but may be assigned to an advisor specializing in their field of study after discussion with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

Global Health and Social Policy

Description

This concentration explores the broad issue of health disparities in comparative international perspective and builds on the recognition that the problems of health and social policies are intricately linked: often invisible social, political, and economic arrangements harm the health of individuals, groups and societies and prevent them from realizing their full potential. For policymakers, these challenges have necessitated unprecedented international cooperation. For social scientists, this brings the importance of social structures and institutions to the fore.

Courses in the concentration investigate such issues as the role of political, institutional, historical and cultural factors in shaping the organization and delivery of health care; the development of the welfare state, social policies, and new social rights; the nature of scientific and professional work and the contribution of professional organizations to policies and reform processes; doctor-patient interaction; the global pharmaceutical industry and its relation to the development of disease categories; medical tourism; and the experience of illness and disability.

The concentration is intended to be of relevance to students interested in pursuing careers in the medical field, public health, policy, social work, the natural and social sciences, and law in the U.S. and abroad, as well as further education in medical sociology. Students who choose this concentration are also encouraged to consider a minor in Public Health or a 5-year BA/MPH program, both administered jointly by the College or Arts and Sciences and the School of Public Health.

Relevant lower-division courses:

SO206 Introduction to the Sociology of Globalization
SO207 Race and Ethnic Relations
SO215 Sociology of Health and Healthcare
SO232 Social Class and Inequality
SO242 Globalization and World Poverty
SO277 Technology, Science and Policy
SO320 Political Sociology
SO323 Markets in Biomedicine and Healthcare
SO334 Sociology of Mental Illness

Seminars:

SO418 Medical Sociology
SO420 Women and Social Change in the Developing World
SO434 Sociology of Mental Illness
SO438 International Migration
SO4** Global Health (to be taught Spring 2015 – Harris)
SO440 Political Sociology
SO447 Global Sociology

Global Sociology and Social Change


Description

This concentration is meant for students interested in studying global issues within the context of sociological theory and research. Unlike International Relations, the study of global systems and social change involves analyses of social relations that are not restricted to relations between nation-states. It studies flows and relations across and through nation-states as well as between them. This includes the study of international organizations like the World Health Organization or the United Nations but also global cities, global inequality, diasporas, immigration and migration, economic development, global markets and consumption, “fair trade” and free trade, social protests and global social movements, global commodity chains, and global humanitarianism. Globalization intensifies these flows and relations, creates new social challenges, and opens up new avenues and pathways of social transformation.

Students in this concentration can expect to learn the latest sociological theory and research relating to these transnational and global dynamics and how they impact social change. Students interested in future careers along the lines of this concentration might consider a range of options, including but not restricted to working in international organizations like the World Bank or the United Nations, various non-profit organizations such as those that deal with immigration or gender issues in the context of development, global marketing research or policy-oriented research institutes devoted to the study of global issues.

Relevant lower-division courses:

SO206 Introduction to the Sociology of Globalization
SO242 Globalization and World Poverty
SO243 Immigration Communities
SO246 Sociology of Market Transitions
SO320 Political Sociology
SO324 Post-Soviet Relations
SO328 Contemporary South Asian Societies
SO340 Social History of Migration

Seminars:

SO408 Ethnic, Race, and Minority Relations
SO420 Women and Social Change in the Developing World
SO438 International Migration
SO439 State Building and Failure in the Developing World
SO440 Political Sociology
SO447 Global Sociology
SO541 Modernity Seminar I
SO543 Modernity Seminar II

Intersecting Identities and Inequalities


Description

This concentration focuses on how the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality and other significant social locations shape identities and inequalities. Explaining how and why inequalities exist and persist has been fundamental to the discipline since its inception. From the early sociological work of W.E.B. Du Bois and Jane Addams to more contemporary theoretical insights from Michel Foucault and Patricia Hill Collins, sociology has been instrumental in disrupting beliefs about the natural or inevitable character of racial, classed, gendered, and sexualized hierarchies. The relevant courses will examine how these hierarchies are maintained, and in particular how they intersect and reinforce each other.

This concentration will be especially relevant to those students who come to sociology because of their passions for social justice and interests in combating racism, classism, sexism and homophobia. Completing the degree with this concentration will set the student on a path of either an applied career (in social work, nonprofits, community organizing, and so forth) or an advanced degree with social justice applications (law, public policy, sociology, area studies, etc.).

Relevant lower division courses:

SO205 American Families
SO207 Race & Ethnicity
SO232 Sociology and Inequality
SO244 Urban Sociology
SO240 Sociology of Gender
SO241 Sex & Social Life
SO253 Pop Culture
SO304 Formal Organizations
SO306 Boston’s People
SO352 American Masculinities

Seminars:

SO403 Gender Stratification
SO404 Family
SO408 Ethnic, Race, and Minority Relations
SO411 Sociology of the Nonprofit Sector
SO420 Women and Social Change in the Developing World
SO439 State Building and Failure in the Developing World
SO444 Education
SO452 Contemporary Debates in Sexualities Research
SO541 Modernity Seminar I
SO543 Modernity Seminar II

Money and Markets


Description

This concentration will focus on the sociological investigation of societal spaces, processes, and actors characterized by market exchange and governed by the medium of money. Typically, the study of the economy has been the purview of the discipline of economics, which focuses on how markets arise from exchange between rational individuals pursuing their own utility. Sociological approach, on the other hand, underscores the social construction of market exchange and the social conditions of the use of money. The concentration investigates the role of culture and networks in explaining actors’ preferences for some goods over others, it shows how social inequalities both produce and are produced out of individuals’ experiences in the market and in the workplace, and it investigates the broader implications of market participation on actors’ lives, both in the US and in transitioning and developing countries, among other topics. The concentration also includes consideration of the growing use of market exchange and money to distribute goods and services across an array of fields, including healthcare, the nonprofit sector, and international development.

The concentration would be of relevance to students with an academic interest in these topics, to those who intend to pursue graduate degrees in business administration, accounting, or marketing and/or to those students who plan careers across a wide array of occupations, including marketing, advertising, public relations, hospitality, human resources, health and nonprofit administration/management, media, accounting, finance, and management.

Relevant lower division courses:

SO206 Introduction to the Sociology of Globalization
SO242 Globalization and World Poverty
SO246 Sociology of Market Transitions
SO302 Networks
SO304 Formal Organizations
SO313 Economic Sociology
SO320 Political Sociology
SO323 Markets in Biomedicine and Health Care
SO333 Workplace

Seminars:

SO411 Sociology of the Nonprofit Sector
SO448 Culture, Markets, and Inequality
SO4** Economic Sociology (to be taught AY15-16 – Guseva)

Culture, Media and Markets


Description

Society is organized around meanings, and meanings in turn are produced by and filtered through media and markets. Meanings range from the value of objects to deep human values to ethnic or gendered images. The media and markets include everything from the film industry to social networking to novels. This cluster of courses is meant to introduce students interested in the intersection of popular culture, media culture, and the economy to the major sociological research and theory in these areas. Thematically, the concentration converges with other majors and departments at BU, including Communications, Management, and Economics (to name just some), but provides students with a distinct sociological basis for understanding the intersections of culture, media and markets.

This concentration will attract students interested in careers in mass media and cultural production industries.

Relevant lower-division courses

SO253 Popular Culture
SO256 Contemporary American Society
SO277 Technology and Society
SO302 Networks
SO304 Formal Organizations
SO313 Economic Sociology
SO315 Social Nature of Technology
SO318 Sociology of Childhood and Youth
SO333 Workplace
SO345 Film and Society

Seminars:

SO437 Sociology of Culture
SO448 Culture, Markets and Inequality
SO450 Technology
SO4** Economic Sociology (to be taught AY 15-16 – Guseva)