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Lecture 2

JSB171 Lecture 2 Week 2 - Notes.docx

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Lecture 2 Week 2 – JSB171 notes ‘Thinking Differently About Society’ Three disciplinary tools that will predominately be used in order to help us achieve different ways of thinking about society during this lecture:  Sociological imagination  History of the present  Cultural ethnography Sociological Imagination  We may believe we understand in great depth our lives and the society we all live in, however we are actually only aware of a very small portion of the world and the things that take place in it. Our lives are the small ‘bubble’ of existence that actually makes up the ‘bigger picture’.  We often just accept our lives for what they are, as we are used to the way we live and take it as being the ‘norm’. we very rarely look at our own lives in a critical light.  Sociological imagination connects our lives to a much broader spectrum and larger patterns of history and social processes.  Through the process of using sociological imagination, we disengage our commonsense understandings of the world, in favour of more open-minded views and thinking in ways we have not before. e.g. In our society, we have in place very commonsense understanding of the concept of childhood. We believe that children differ from adults in a number of ways and are generally perceived as innocent, and unable to understand adult concepts etc. However, through using our sociological imagination, we are able to disengage these commonsense notions and examine a broader construct of childhood; we can do so by looking at the way childhood has been perceived in the past and also in other cultures. Thus, we understand that the way we treat and perceive childhood is in fact not universal, but specific to our time and culture.  Based on medieval notions of childhood, in which children were considered no different to adults and were treated the same with the same rights etc from the age of seven, it can be deduced that our modern western society has, in fact, created the notion of childhood. Social Construction of Childhood  Childhood did not always exist as we know it now. Children worked, drank, and dressed the same way that adults did, and sex was not viewed as exclusive to adulthood. At the age of seven, children were able to be betrothed. In pubs, children drank alongside adults. Often in cases of poverty, a single bedroom was shared by adults and children alike and sex was not seen as a particularly private event.  Today, we strive to protect the ‘innocence’ of children and usually withhold information regarding sex, alcohol, etc. We also do not allow them to work until a certain age. Essentially we construct the notion of childhood and reason that they are ‘too young’ to deal with topics they have in the past been considered old enough for. Social Construction of Gender  Commonsense notions that be
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