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SOC 302 Interpersonal and Social Power: A View from Below

Power has traditionally been defined from the perspective of those who issue orders. This course examines power from the vantage point of those expected to follow orders. A model of empowerment is developed and applied to the interpersonal and social dynamics of domination and subordination with emphasis on gender, class, race and ethnicity. Novels, movies, autobiographies, simulation games and case studies are used to explore the power dimension in everyday life.


4 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 1, 1998 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Composes analytical writing that is informed, well reasoned, and literate at an upper division college level.
  • Knows the sociology of interpersonal and social power well enough to understand the relevance of those ideas for the biography of individuals and the trajectory of groups at an upper division college level.
  • Masters the higher order thinking skills needed to analyze and interpret sociological data from a variety of sources at an upper division college level.
  • Understands and appreciates how difference of culture, race, class, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation contribute significantly to the shaping of societies and the course of their histories.
  • Understands and appreciates the nature of citizenship and democracy in the twenty-first century for the purpose of developing a sense of ethical and civic responsibility.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 5: History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Employ the methods and data that historians and social and behavioral scientists use to investigate the human condition.
  • Examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods and cultures.
  • Use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • Develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.

Goal 9: Ethical and Civic Responsibility

  • Examine, articulate, and apply their own ethical views.
  • Understand and apply core concepts (e.g. politics, rights and obligations, justice, liberty) to specific issues.
  • Analyze and reflect on the ethical dimensions of legal, social, and scientific issues.
  • Recognize the diversity of political motivations and interests of others.
  • Identify ways to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

Spring 2021

Section Title Instructor
01 Interpersonal and Social Power: A View from Below Bute, Monte Books Course details