Law is a common and yet special feature of everyday life in modern societies. Subject studies legal reasoning, types of law and legal systems, and relationships of law to social class and social change. Emphasis on the profession and practice of law including legal education, stratification within the bar, and the politics of legal services. Investigation of emerging issues in the relationship between institutions of law and science.

Using examples from anthropology and sociology alongside classical and contemporary social theory, subject explores the nature of dominant and subordinate relationships, types of legitimate authority, and practices of resistance. Examines how we are influenced in subtle ways by the people around us, who makes controlling decisions in the family, how people get ahead at work, and whether democracies, in fact, reflect the “will of the people.”

Note: Taught by A. Meigs during Spring 2006

Subject examines several theoretical perspectives on human identity and focuses on processes of creating categories of acceptable and deviant identities; how identities are formed, how behaviors are labelled, and how people enter deviant roles and worlds; and responses to differences and strategies for coping with these responses. Subject material describes how identity and difference are inescapably linked.

Training in the design and practice of qualitative research. Organized around illustrative texts, class exercises, and student projects. Topics include the process of gaining access to and participating in the social worlds of others; techniques of observation, fieldnote-taking, researcher self-monitoring and reflection; methods of inductive analysis of qualitative data including conceptual coding, grounded theory, and narrative analysis. Discussion of research ethics, the politics of fieldwork, modes of validating researcher accounts, and styles of writing up qualitative field research.

    Methods for Graduate Research in the Social Sciences (15.347 / 21a.860 / 21a.861 / STS380), Graduate

This course is designed to lay a foundation for good empirical research in the social sciences, introducing basic assumptions and underlying logics. The goals of the course are (1) to examine the steps required to frame an empirical research question guided by theory, (2) to introduce students to the range of research methodologies used by social scientists, and (3) to examine the strengths and limitations of each. It is designed for Ph.D. students who will undertake research publishable in scholarly social science journals. Students will become acquainted with a variety of approaches to research design, evaluate the products of empirical research, practice several common techniques, and develop their own research project. The course is not intended to create skilled researchers in any particular method. That is not possible in an introductory course. Students should plan to take at least one or more additional courses in specific methods used in the social sciences involving statistical and other quantitative data analysis techniques, and/or qualitative fieldwork methods.