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Selected Topics in Sociology II (The Production of Culture)

The sociology of stress and mental health can be considered a core element of sociology, as well as an interdisciplinary linkage to the study of mental health in psychiatry, epidemiology, and psychology. In this seminar we emphasize the unique perspective sociology offers in the larger interdisciplinary discussion of stress and mental health. We also give attention to the broad importance of studying stress and mental health in other areas of sociology, such as stratification, gender, work, family, race/ethnicity, and urban studies. The main objective of the course is to recognize the importance of the social origins of stress and the complex pathways through which it impacts individuals’ well-being across social situations, roles, and environments. To accommodate various backgrounds in the subject, this seminar first provides an introduction and overview of basic issues in the sociology of stress and mental health, including its fundamental assumptions, findings, theories, and critical debates. Throughout the remaining classes, we will consider a series of selected topics related to systems of inequality in exposure and vulnerability to stress and mental health consequences. Examples of such systems include social and economic class locations, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. Related to these systems, but of importance in their own right, are the organization, community, and neighborhood contexts in which people live and their associated social networks. We will also consider the role of personal and social resources that help individuals negotiate their experiences of stress and mental health consequences, including coping behaviours, self-concept, and social support. The emphasis will be on recent, innovative readings and research (post-millennium), but we will also review more influential work from the past that has shaped the unique perspective of sociology of stress and mental health. Each week, several students will lead the discussion of selected readings by presenting an overview of the assigned piece, and proposing questions to the class that encourage creative, critical discussion.

SOCIOL 4K03

Selected Topics in Sociology II (The Production of Culture)

Unit(s): 3.0 Level(s): IV Term(s): Fall Offered?: Yes

The sociology of stress and mental health can be considered a core element of sociology, as well as an interdisciplinary linkage to the study of mental health in psychiatry, epidemiology, and psychology. In this seminar we emphasize the unique perspective sociology offers in the larger interdisciplinary discussion of stress and mental health. We also give attention to the broad importance of studying stress and mental health in other areas of sociology, such as stratification, gender, work, family, race/ethnicity, and urban studies. The main objective of the course is to recognize the importance of the social origins of stress and the complex pathways through which it impacts individuals’ well-being across social situations, roles, and environments. To accommodate various backgrounds in the subject, this seminar first provides an introduction and overview of basic issues in the sociology of stress and mental health, including its fundamental assumptions, findings, theories, and critical debates. Throughout the remaining classes, we will consider a series of selected topics related to systems of inequality in exposure and vulnerability to stress and mental health consequences. Examples of such systems include social and economic class locations, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. Related to these systems, but of importance in their own right, are the organization, community, and neighborhood contexts in which people live and their associated social networks. We will also consider the role of personal and social resources that help individuals negotiate their experiences of stress and mental health consequences, including coping behaviours, self-concept, and social support. The emphasis will be on recent, innovative readings and research (post-millennium), but we will also review more influential work from the past that has shaped the unique perspective of sociology of stress and mental health. Each week, several students will lead the discussion of selected readings by presenting an overview of the assigned piece, and proposing questions to the class that encourage creative, critical discussion.


Marisa Young

Assistant Professor

Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level IV Honours Sociology or permission of the department. SOCIOL 4K03 may be repeated, if on a different topic, to a total of six units.