chapter  13
15 Pages

The Uses of Literary and Cinematic Characters in Teaching Sociology

ByLisbeth B. Knudsen

This chapter gives some examples and discusses the use of stories and characters from for example novels and films to depict or create a mental picture of social conditions, in order to demonstrate how especially images created by fiction can provide a valuable and sometimes necessary illustration of facts when teaching sociology. An essential element in the training to become a sociologist is learning and mastering sociological concepts that can be used to conceptualize and understand overall social structures, as well as more mundane everyday occurrences and personal experiences, present as well as past. In the family sociological field, some of the developments in the 1900s follow a J- or U-shaped course. The chapter points out some of the obvious advantages of using literary and cinematic images, but also some of the problems and potential pitfalls involved, especially if the examples used are interpreted differently by the teacher and the students.