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Invitations to sociology: constructing classroom introductions Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Wagner, Alecia Lynn
Supervisor and department
Gotell, Lise (Women's Studies/Sociology)
Golec, Judith (Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Golec, Judith (Sociology)
Carson, Terrance (Secondary Education)
Department of Sociology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
This thesis focuses on a temporally-limited “slice” of the Introductory Sociology course as one way into thinking about how the discipline of sociology is constituted by the same kind of social relations it studies. Invitations to sociology are conceptualized using Goffman’s interactionist theory insofar as these events initiate social relationships between students and instructors that come to discursively constitute the discipline itself. I observed the first two lectures of the course, conducted semi-structured interviews and analyzed syllabi from a convenience sample of five instructors located at two different universities in a mid-sized Western Canadian city. Using a constructivist epistemological frame I offer four interpretations of discursive subject positions that capture participants’ understandings: Client, Engaged Learner, Service Provider, and Sherpa. These subject positions and social relationships highlight the constructed nature of an invitation to sociology while exploring the ideological elements of a social event that normally reside beyond discursive boundaries.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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