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The Department of Sociology fosters the development of intellectual skills to enable our students to examine and understand the patterns of relationships that form the foundation of society. At its basis sociology is concerned with the causes and consequences of individual participation in groups. Families, neighborhoods, athletic teams, political parties, ethnic groups and an uncounted number of other associations are sites for developing networks of interaction, meaning and identity. These organizational and institutional frameworks in turn provide a collective basis for stability, conflict and change within society. In an increasingly complex world it is essential each person understand the way in which these patterns both limit and make possible human choice and opportunity.