This course is an introductory study of society, culture, social groups, and human behavior from the perspective of sociologists. It examines the ways in which social processes, social interaction, and social institutions influence our sociological imagination. There is an emphasis on the scientific study of contemporary American society, including issues relating to socialization, social inequality, and changing rural and urban communities. Relationships among institutions such as the economy, religion, politics, and family are addressed. In addition, the course explores the ways that social status, social roles, social class, age, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation effect social interaction and institutions. Knowledge of social processes and an understanding of how interpersonal interactions and group dynamics influence the social environment are important skills for achieving success in virtually all occupations and professions; thereby contributing directly to a higher quality of life.