Sociological Social Psychology Seminar



Carol Rambo

Meeting times: Tuesdays 2:00-5:00                 email:

Office Hours: Tuesday 11:20-1:20 and by appointment

Phone, leave message only: 678-2611


Required Texts:

Goffman, Erving.  1963. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity.  NY: Simon and Schuster.

James Hollis.  1993.  The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife.  Toronto: Inner City Books. 

Judith Herman.  1997. Trauma and Recovery.  NY:  BasicBooks. 

Arlie Hochschild.  1983.  The Managed Heart. Berkeley, C.A.: University of California Press.

Michel Foucault.  1990.  The Use of Pleasure.  NY:  Vintage Books, Random House.

Herbert Blumer.  1969.  Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method.  C.A.:  Prentice Hall.

On Line Resources: The Mead Project. Selected readings from Charles Horton Cooley. Social Psychology Network. Selections from George Herbert Mead. David Baldwin’s Trauma Information Pages. Violence and Childhood: How Persisting Fear Can Alter the Developing Child’s Brain. Bruce Perry, M.D. Ph.D.   To be found on David Baldwin’s Trauma Information Pages, under articles.

Handouts from Carol:

“Dancing with Identity: Narrative Resistance Strategies of Male and Female Strip-teasers.”  Carol Rambo (Ronai) and Rabecca Cross

“The Historical Background of Modern Social Psychology.”  Gordon Allport

Structure of Course:

Sociological Social Psychology is a construct used by Sociologists to frame social psychology into a sociological perspective.  The term is political and the territories are aggressively defended. Unlike the psychological model of social psychology, sociological social psychology emphasizes the social and cultural aspects of identity and social interaction.  This course is organized around a dialectical model of Social Psychology which takes into consideration three spheres of everyday life: The Body, Identity, and Society.  These are not the only three realms that exist, but your instructor considers this conceptualization to be broadly inclusive for the purposes of providing the seminar participant with an overview of Social Psychology from a Sociological perspective.

The readings will serve as a spring board for discussion, and we will be mindful at all times to consider how we might go about applying the concepts in our readings to a data set or to everyday life.  This awareness will come into play when we consider the assignments this semester.

Skills Development Goals:

1.      Develop an overview of the field of Sociological Social Psychology.

2.      Develop the ability to efficiently review the existing literature in a given area of research.

3.      Develop the ability to apply theory to a data set.

4.      Develop the ability to write an integrative proposal with a clear, logical, cohesive argument, start to finish.

5.      Develop the ability to constructively guide and critique the work of others.



Unfortunately, we exist in a structure that requires evaluation.  To that end, there will be 12 opportunities to write response papers and/or hand in assignments.  Students must be present to hand in these assignments.  Twenty percent of the grade will be based on the written assignments.  10 total assignments must be handed in, when they are due, to be counted for credit.  By the end of the semester, each missing assignment will count two percentage points off the top of your grade.  For example, if at the end of the semester, you have only handed in seven of the ten assignments, six percentage points will be deducted from your grade.  Assignments marked REQUIRED must be handed in on the day they are due.  They are movement towards your larger project.  No exceptions without documentation, and even then, I may choose not to waive the requirement.

Eighty percent of the grade will be based on a project proposal the student will write and present to the class.  The project proposal will be 15-30 pages in length and will include a statement of the problem to be investigated, a literature review, a theory section, and a methods section.  The proposal will be an integrated document that would ideally be proposing original research, the kind of research one might do for a thesis project.   Much more will be discussed regarding this during class.

In summary, at the end of the semester you will have handed in:

(3) REQUIRED assignments, statement of problem, lit review, theory/methods section.

(7) other assignments, you choose which ones and you must attend the class they are due.  This allows you two absences if you need them.  Or do all (10) and have your best 8 count towards your grade.

(1) Project proposal.

Disclaimer- Due to the nature of the content of this course, (specifically I cover topics like trauma, stigma, life course development, and emotions) I advise you to be responsible for and to consider your own well being in regards to these materials.  Some people can be “triggered” or upset by these topics, the readings, and the discussions we will have in class.  It is my hope that we will conduct the class in a manner which will construct a “container” safe enough to explore the material so that we all walk away with an in depth understanding of the general topics and concepts.  This course is not, however, therapy.  Your professor is not a licensed psychologist.

If you have recently been involved in a major emotional upheaval in your life I would ask you to strongly consider whether or not taking this course is right for you this semester.  Psychological services are available for you over at Scates Hall; it is something you pay for every semester.  Therapy is wonderful, with the right person, and I strongly encourage you to seek support when you need it.  It is also a great learning experience!


Tentative Schedule:

August 26.  First class Meeting.  Introduction to organization of course, outline of assignments, discussion about writing, opening theory session.

September 2. More theory review with your instructor, a methods discussion, an exercise, and a one to two page reaction paper regarding the first day of class. (1)

Sept 9. History of Social Psychology.  Please read the Gordon Allport article.  One to two page reaction paper regarding last week’s exercise due. (1)

Sept 16.  DIALECTICS OF EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE: The Body and Society.  Read Judith Herman, Trauma and Recovery.  One to two page reaction paper due. (1)

Sept 23. Neuro-biology.  Please read “Violence and Childhood: How Persisting Fear Can Alter the Developing Child’s Brain. Bruce Perry, M.D. Ph.D.   To be found online on David Baldwin’s Trauma Information Pages.  Please roam around the rest of the web site to get a sense of it.  Guest Speaker Dr. Cliff Heegel, Licensed Psychologist.  No paper due. (0)

Sept 30. Write a reaction paper (1-2 pages) to last week’s presentation.  Also have a REQUIRED one page presentation of your general topic for the thesis proposal ready to share with the class. (2)

October 7. DIALECTICS OF EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE: Identity and Society.  Please read Herbert Blumer, Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method, and write an application paper or a reaction paper. (1)

Oct 14.  No Class, Fall Break

Oct 21. Please read Goffman’s Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity, and write a paper which applies the theory to an everyday experience you have had or know about.  Also have your REQUIRED first draft of your  Literature Review and Statement of Problem. Bring two copies. (2)

Oct 28.  Please read Arlie Hochschild, The Managed Heart, and write a one to two page reaction or application paper.  (1)

November 4.  DIALECTICS OF EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE:  Society and the Body.  Please read Michel Foucault, The Use of Pleasure and write a one to two page application or reaction paper.  (1)

Nov 11.  DIALECTICS OF EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE:  Identity and the Body.  Please read “Dancing with Identity: Narrative Resistance Strategies of Male and Female Strip-teasers,” by Carol Rambo (Ronai) and Rabecca Cross, which I will hand out, and write a one to two page application or reaction paper.  Also have your REQUIRED first draft of your theory and methods section ready to turn in. It would be helpful to also have your lit review and statement of the problem ready, but I will not require this.  Please bring two copies.  (2)

Nov 18. DIALECTICS OF EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE:  Society and Identity.   Please read James Hollis, The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife.  Write a 1-2 page reaction paper.  (1)

Nov 25.  Present and critique proposals.

December 2. Present and critique proposals.  Final Draft of project proposal due.