Introduction to general sociology


Sociology is concerned with the scientific study of social phenomena. It is a plural discipline, both in terms of its objects and of its theoretical traditions and methods of investigation. The analytical tools and the very conception of society and individuals are the subject of intense debates. This course aims to shed some light on this diversity, while highlight the scientific basis of all sociological research activities. Knowledge must, by no means, be compartmentalized into two types (as is often done in sociology instruction): theory (authors and paradigms) and methods (techniques and surveys). Thus, conceptual issues and empirical data will be examined jointly. The course comprises two parts (1- A scientific analysis of the social world; 2- Diversity of investigations and in the questions raised by researchers). More specifically, a number of case studies built on strong theoretical and methodological frameworks will be presented (among the issues analysed are: suicide; cultural practices; sex and gender; discrimination).

Recommended Prerequisite(s)

The course is intended for a diverse audience: Erasmus students and students in the standard program. This diversity is obviously taken into account in the pedagogical design of the course. All students will be able to understand the empirical, methodological and conceptual issues analysed in this introduction to general sociology.


  • Émile Durkheim, Le suicide. Étude de sociologie, Paris, (1897).
  • Émile Durkheim, Les règles de la méthode sociologique, Paris, Puf, 1996, (1895).
  • Max Weber, L’éthique protestante et l’esprit du capitalisme, Paris, Plon, 1964 (trad.).
  • Norbert Elias, Qu’est-ce que la sociologie ? Paris, Agora, 1991 [1970].
  • Séverine Misset, « Classification ouvrière et confrontation de générations d’ouvriers qualifiés : vers une remise en cause de l’ordre de l’ancienneté ? », Sociétés contemporaines, 2/90, 2013, p. 29-52.

Educational formula

Regular attendance is essential for understanding and internalizing the course content.  It is the first step to achieving exam success. The teacher places emphasis on the fundamental references and key concepts. Each case study is examined at length and a list of suggested readings for a more in-depth understanding will be provided. At each session, students are given time to ask questions.


In brief

Year First year

Teaching languageFrench

Teaching term Six-monthly

ECTS credits 2.0

Number of hours 36.0

Teaching activityLecture course

ValidationFinal written examination

Mandatory teaching



Forest Amandine [+]

Houdayer Corinne