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Curriculum Areas

Our curriculum addresses many areas of scholarly research and academic inquiry. Below, find out more about the kind of teaching and investigation we perform.

Social Inequalities

Our department views such analysis as being at the core of the kind of critical and engaged sociology that is practiced at York. This is realized by studying the intersections between race, class and gender in Canada and internationally, by investigating the institutionalized mechanisms and discourses of domination (ranging from capitalism and citizenship to techno-science and education) and by developing and applying a variety of methods and theories (such as political economy, feminism and governmentality).

Examples of Topics Covered

  • Stratification
  • Work and labour
  • Social institutions
  • Identities
  • Aging and the life course
  • Childhood
  • Health
  • Education
  • Poverty
  • Race and racism
  • Intimate relations
  • Sex and gender
  • Disability studies

Research Methods

From small-n case studies to advanced statistical techniques on large-scale survey data that take up questions of macro-social relevance to the motivations of individual persons, our department views research methods and methodologies as essential to sociological thought and practice. A core field, along with social theory, methods consists of qualitative and quantitative application and constitutes its own field of investigation. By doing so, it addresses issues of empiricism, epistemology, marginalized populations and research ethics among others.

Examples of Topics Covered

  • Qualitative research
  • Quantitative research
  • Ethnography
  • Survey research
  • Historical sociology
  • Mixed methods
  • Social statistics
  • Interviewing

Global Sociology

One of the distinctive features of our department is its commitment to an explicitly global sociology throughout its curriculum and research activities. From our perspective, global sociology can be understood as a global analytical lens through which to view all topics of sociological investigation, regardless of their scale or location, including attention to historically rooted processes of colonialism and imperialism that have defined internationalization, and as a substantive focus on the study of transnational flows, processes and institutions (ranging from migration and diasporic communities to crime, capitalism and anti-colonial struggles), the functioning of national borders, as well as colonial and postcolonial social formations. The department has recognized strengths in transnational migration, colonial and postcolonial dynamics, and area studies (Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Middle East).

Examples of Topics Covered

  • Transnationalism
  • International migration
  • Social movements and change
  • Social diaspora and identities
  • Development
  • Religion
  • Asian studies
  • Latin American and Caribbean studies
  • Human rights
  • The environment

Cultural and Political Sociology

Whereas the sociology of culture and political sociology are often treated as separate areas of investigation, what stands out about our department's approach is a dedication to exploring the points of intersection between them. That is, we examine how culturally-based ways of thinking and acting (such as beliefs, rituals of interaction), as well as cultural objects and modes of representation (such as texts and images) are informed by political actors, ideologies and relations of power. We also consider how political actors and institutions are themselves culturally rooted. Finally, we analyze key social institutions as both cultural and political structures.

Examples of Topics Covered

  • Politics and society
  • Bodies and critical sexualities
  • Sex and gender
  • Ethnic cultures and identities
  • Law and social regulation
  • Cultural studies
  • Urban sociology
  • Science and technology
  • Class and political economy

Social Theory

What sets our department apart from others is the prominence that theoretical concerns have occupied in its conception of the sociological craft. Indeed, at York, social theory is not only a tool for research and teaching, but an important object of study in itself. Moreover, the uniqueness of our approach consists of an emphasis on training in a range of critical modes of classical and contemporary theorizing, specific strengths in feminist theory, neo-Marxism, post-structuralism, and both German and French strands of contemporary critical theory. Our department is renowned for its emphasis on social theory and has created a distinguished tradition of scholarship in this cluster.

Examples of Topics Covered

  • Classical theory
  • Contemporary theory
  • Feminist theory
  • Postcolonial and critical race theory
  • Post-structuralism
  • Marxist sociology