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Page history last edited by Jessie Daniels 2 years, 7 months ago

FrontPage Sociology Through Documentary Film

This list was originally created by Jessie Daniels, PhD (Hunter College and The Graduate Center-CUNY).  Now that the list is a wiki, everyone is encouraged  to create a login, update and add to the list (except evil spammers & vandals - boo!).  This page is meant to be helpful for anyone in any field that teaches with documentaries, or would like to begin. 


Here's how to add documentaries to this list:

How things are organized here: 

  • Only documentary films. The top-level of organization is that this list includes only documentary films,  not feature films (if you're not sure of the difference, read this).
  • Category. The films are organized by categories, that roughly these categories correspond to some of the key concepts within the field of sociology. These are the most of the categories that typically get covered in an introductory sociology course (SOC101). If you don't see a category that you often teach, please add it.  
  • Chronological. Within each category, the films are listed in chronological order, most recent to oldest. If you add a film, please be sure to follow the organizational schema.
  • Date & Director.  Each film that's listed includes the following: 1) the year it was released, 2) a hyperlink to additional information about the film (ideally, a link to where the film can be ordered), 3) the director listed, and 4)the running time. If you add a film, please be sure to add this information.


The teaching part:

  • If you're interested in using films in a sociology course, and want to do a deep dive on the pedagogy, be sure to check the pages here on: 
    • Critical Media Literacy includes an introduction to research in the field. 
    • Video Worksheets with questions that connect specific films to assigned readings, and a set of critical media literacy questions.
    • Course Outlines with suggested documentaries listed for each unit. 


All the teaching materials posted here are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike (2.0). This means you may copy, reuse, remix, and re-share any of the material here as long as you give credit (attribution), you don't charge for it (non-commercial), and you share it with others under the same terms (share-alike).  

The Sociological Imagination

  • “56 Up” (2013). Directed by Michael Apted (140 min).  
  • The Up Series (1964-2005). Directed by Michael Apted (40-135 min per film).  A sociological cross-section of children in England are interviewed about their hopes for the future.  The children are revisited every 7 years as they progress into adulthood.  Each film in the series is emotional and moving.  Currently concludes with 56 Up.


Sociological Investigation / Research Methods / Research Ethics



miami seo

Class Inequality / Corporations


Crime/Criminal Justice System


Drugs: Addiction, Alcohol, Tobacco 


Drugs: Drug War


Ethnicity / Race




Environment: Food, Water & Energy Industry






Genocide, Conflict, Human Rights 




Groups and Organizations


Health, Illness, Medicalization & the Business of Health Care




Law & Society


Media & Internet








Social Movements / Community Organizing



Sexuality / Gender




Social Networks


Self & Society



  • "Digital Amnesia" (2014) Directed by Bregtje van der Haak (49 min). 
  • "Panopticon" (2012) Produced, Written and Directed by Peter Vlemmix (57 min).




Visual Sociology


Work / Occupations


Youth / Deviance


Help Getting Started Teaching with Documentaries





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