Skip to main content Skip to footer content

The Individual & His/Her World

BSS 1: The Individual & His/Her World - 3 credits, 3 hours

Course Coordinator: Professor Rick Repetti Assistant Coordinator: Professor Boran Beric

Course DescriptionIssues of current significance are studied using concepts and methodologies of the behavioral and social sciences, especially sociology and psychology, and relating them to students' experiences. Coursework is brought to life by relating the topics of violence, authority, work, leisure, popular culture and peer pressure to course readings, discussions, films and students' life experiences.

College Now Description: Issues of current significance are studied using concepts and methodologies of the behavioral and social sciences, especially sociology and psychology. Coursework is brought to life by relating the topics of violence, authority, work, leisure, popular culture and peer pressure to course readings, discussions, films and students' life experiences.

ExplanationThe Behavioral and Social Sciences are stepping stones to understanding general truths about human social behaviors. This course will use an historical and interrelated review of contemporary issues, such as work, authority and violence, to help students gain a greater appreciation of the behavioral and social forces that influence their world, both globally and locally.

Course Objectives: To familiarize students with the broad behavioral and social forces that impact upon them in contemporary society.

Topical Course Outline:

  1. The Nature of Social Science - an overview
    1. Towards a working definition
    2. Methods of collection information
    3. The varieties of Social Science
    4. The use of Social Sciences in contemporary American society
  2. Identity
    1. The nature of identity
    2. Components of identity the family ethnicity, race, religion the world of work and/or school
    3. Confusion and conformity physical roles self-concept the evolving self-identity process
    4. Achieving identity techniques for achieving and assessing obstacles to achievement
  3. Authority
    1. Defining authority
    2. Forms of authority political - from community to the nation parental economic peer charismatic (i.e., Jim Jones)
    3. Response to authority
  4. Work
    1. Work as play
    2. The need for work survival fulfillment
    3. Social and psychological components of work
    4. The worker and the work ethic
  5. Violence/Aggression
    1. Individual violence the roots of violence
    2. Random goal-oriented cost of restraint
    3. Group violence historical background the crowd in history
      revolution and war
    4. Efforts at social control
  6. Summing up: American popular culture and the individual
    1. An American culture
    2. The rise of mass culture
    3. The communication revolution
    4. "High vs. low culture"
      criticism of American culture (the vast wasteland)
      American cultural mode: the melting pot vs. cultural pluralism
      the individual as part of the American culture
Methods of Teaching:
  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Assigned readings
  4. Films
  5. Debates
  1. Required reading in course textbooks
  2. Assigned readings from current periodicals and magazines
  3. Term project
Method of Evaluation:
  1. Examinations
  2. Written Assignments
  3. Classroom Participation
  4. Attendance
Required Reading:

This course uses a free, online, Open Educational Resources (OER) text collection, accompanied by a host of supplemental resources (e.g., films, articles, etc.), designed specifically by instructors and course coordinators for this course, and named exactly after the course,

Text: BSS1: The Individual and His/Her World.

This text may be directly accessed at:


Additional Suggested Resources

Schaefer, Richard T. Sociology. 13th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2015). (ISBN 101-308-43981-4)

Schaefer, Richard T. Sociology. 12th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010). (ISBN 978-0-07-340433-2)

In addition to Sociology, each instructor is required to assign readings from one or more of the following textbooks. These courses may vary as the instructor's interests and accents changes from semester to semester.

Annual Editions: Sociology 09/10, 38/e (Finsterbusch 2010) ISBN: 978-0-07-812772-4

Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. (New York: W. Norton, 1963). (ISBN 0-393-00224-1)

Comley, Nancy, R., et. at. Fields of Writing, Reading Across the Disciplines. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987). (ISBN 0-312-28839-5)

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. (New York: Harper Collins, 1989). (ISBN 0-060-809833)

Kasson, John E. Amusing the Million. (New York: Hill Wang, 1987). (ISBN 0-8090-0133-0)

Lindner, Robert. The Fifty Minute Hour. (New York: Dell Publishing, 1982). (ISBN 0385-29518-9)

The New York Times on the Web at

Pipher, Mary. Reviving Ophelia. (New York, Ballantine Books, 1995)

Robertson, Ian. Sociology. (New York, Worth Publishing, 1977, 1981, 1987). (ISBN 0-87901-245-5)

Steele, Shelby. The Content of Our Character. (New York, HarperPerennial, 1998)

Wideman, John Edgar. Brothers and Keepers. (New York, Viking Penguin, Inc., 1984) (ISBN 01400-82670)

Teacher Resource Materials: A variety of videotapes are available to the instructor:

Clockwork Orange

Tarzan - Lord of Greystroke

The Big Chill

The Breakfast Club


Ahrens, W. and Susan P. Mongague (eds). The American Dimension: Cultural Myths and Social Realities. (New York: Alfred, 1976).

Calhourn, Donald W. Social Science in an Age of Change. (2nd ed.) (New York: Harper & Row, 1978).

Dye, T.R. Power & Society: An Introduction to the Social Sciences. (Belmont: Wadsworth, 1975).

Harris, Marvin, America Now. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1981).

Senn, Peter. Social Science and its Method. (Boston: Holbrok Press, 1971).

Spradley, James P. and David W. McCurdy (eds). Conformity and Conflict: Readings in Cultural Anthropology. (5th ed.) (Boston: Little Brown, 1984).

Yankelovich, Daniel. New Rules. (New York: Random House, 1981).

Znaniecki, Florian. Cultural Sciences: Their Origin and Development. (New Brunswick: Transaction, 1978).


Alba, Richard D. Ethnic Identity: The Transformation of White America. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990).

Erikson, Erik. Identity & Life Cycle. (New York: Norton, 1959).

Funderberg, Lise. Black, White, Other: Biracial Americans Talk About Race & Identify. (New York: William Morrow, 1994).

Gergen, Kennety. The Saturate Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life. (New York: Basic Books, 1991).

Heath, Shirley Brice and Milbrey W. McLaughlin. Identity & Inner City Young: Beyond Ethnicity & Gender. (New York: Teachers College, 1993).

Lasch, Christopher. The Minimal Self. (New York: Norton, 1994).

Masterson, James. Search for Real Self. (New York: Free Press, 1988).

Pack, Robert and Jay Prini (eds). American Identities: Contemporary Multiculture Voices. (Middlebury: Middlebury College Press, 1994).

Rothberg, Paula S. Race, Class & Gender in the United States. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992).

Sadker, Myra and David Sadker. Failing at Fairness: How America's Schools Cheat Girls. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994).

Takai, Ronald. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. (Boston: Little Brown, 1993).


Davidson-Hunter, James. Power, Culture, Work. (New York: Basic Books, 1991).

Erikson, Kai and Steven Peter Vallas. The Notion of Work. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990).

Fucini, Joseph J. and Suzy Fucini. Working for the Japanese. (New York: Free Press, 1990).

Garson, Barbara. All the LiveLong Day: The Meaning of Demeaning Work. (New York: Penguin, 1994).

Kossen, Stan. The Human Side of Organizations. (New York: Harper & Row, 1994).

Sayles, Leonard R. Leadership: Managing in Real Organizations. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989).

Schar, Juliet B. The Overworked American. (New York: Basic Books, 1992).

Turkel, Studs. Working. (New York: Pantheon, 1974).

Trice, Harrison M. and Janice M. Beyer. The Culture of Work Organizations. (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1993).

Yukl, Gary. Leadership in Organizations. (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1994).


Altschull, J. Herbert. Agents of Power. (New York: Longman, 1994).

Bianculli, David, Teleliteracy. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992)

Dates, Jannette L. and William Barow (eds). Split Image: African-Americans in the Mass Media. (Washington, D.C.: Howard University, 1993).

DeFleuir, Melvin and Everette E. Dennis. Understanding Mass Communication. (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1994).

Gans, Herbert. Popular Culture & High Culture. (New York: Basic Books, 1974).

McLuhan, Marshall and Bruce R. Powers. The Global Village. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989).

Mukerji, Chandra and Michael Schudson, Editors. Rethinking Popular Culture. (Berkley: University of California Press, 1991).

Read, Michael R. Super Media. (Beverly Hills, CA: SAGE, 1987).

Rushkoff, Douglas. Media Virus. (New York: Ballantine Books, 1994).

Wilson, Stan LeRoy. Mass Media/Mass Culture. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994).


Birch, Anthony. The Concepts & Theories of Modern Democracy. (London: Routledge, 1993).

Brace, Paul and Barbara Hinckley. Follow the Leader. (New York: Basic Books, 1992).

Domhoff, G. William. Who Rules America Now? (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983).

Fiske, John. Power Plays, Power Works. (London: Verso, 1993).

Keegan, John. The Mask of Command. (New York: Penguin, 1987).

Lerner, Michael. Surplus Powerlessness. (Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press, 1986).

Lukes, Steven (ed). Power. (New York: New York University Press, 1992).

Milgram, Stanley. Obedience to Authority. (New York: Harper & Row, 1974).

Olsen, Marvin E. and Martin Marger, editors. Power in Modern Society. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993)

Weimann, Gabriel. The Influencials: People Who Influence People. (Albany: SUNY, 1994).

Wrong, Dennis H. The Problem of Order. (New York: Free Press, 1994).


Carter, Douglas and Stephen Strickland. TV Violence and the Child: The Evolution and Fate of the Surgeon General's Report. (New York: Russell State, 1975).

Donaldson, Greg. The Ville: Cops and Kids in Urban America. (New York: Anchor Books, 1993).

Fromm, Erich. The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness. (New York: Holt, Rinehart, 1973).

Garbarino, James, Nancy Durbrow, Kathleen Kostelny and Caroll Pardo (eds). Children in Danger: Coping with the Consequences of Community Violence. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1992).

Gurr, Ted R. Why Men Rebel. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970).

Larsen, Knud. S. Aggression: Myths and Models. (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1976).

Lorenz, Konrad. On Aggression. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Janovich, 1966).

Morris, Desmond. The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967).

National Research Council. Violence: Understanding & Preventing. (National Academy of Sciences, 1993).

Rapoport, Anatol. The Origins of Violence. (New Jersey: Transaction, 1995).

Tavris, Carol. Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989).

Tiger, Lionel and Robin Fox. Imperial Animal. (New York: Harcoourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1991).