SOCI 2P10 Sept. 17, 2012
What is Sociology?
Sociology: the systemic study of human groups and their interaction
o Not individuals
What is the goal of Sociology?
To understand the social world and our lives within it
Allows for the development of tools to explore critical questions:
o How does the social world work?
o How did it come to be this way and how is it changing?
o How are our individual lives – our biographies and life chances – created and stunted by
the social world we live in?
To allow or force us to look beyond the outer appearances of our social world
What is the Sociological Perspective?
Sociological perspective: a view of society based on the dynamic relationships between
individuals and the larger social network in which we all live
Mental illness -> position in society
The Sociological Perspective
The sociological perspective helps us to see general social patterns in the behaviour of particular
o E.g. chewing food with mouth closed/open; social distance when talking to each other
Western lens (cultural)
Also encourages us to realize that society guides our thoughts and deeds – to see the strange in
Strange in the Familiar
Ability to see what is familiar as being strange and peculiar (Peter Berger)
o E.g. Facebook, clapping, tests, who should pay on the first date
o Homelessness -> 40% have a mental illness
Looked at like it’s a personal trouble
C. Wright Mills (1916-1962)
o People who do not, or cannot, recognize social origins and character of their problems
may be unable to respond to these problems effectively
o The individual and the social are linked and we cannot fully understand one from the
o Social imagination SOCI 2P10 Sept. 17, 2012
The Sociological Imagination
The ability to perceive how dynamic social forces influence individual lives
Ability to see connection between personal trouble and social issue
Reflected departure from views of ancient and medieval times that considered
o Society as controlled by God and nature
o Reliance on speculation rather than evidence
Personal Troubles vs Social Issues
P.T: personal challenges that require individual solutions
o How are the following P.T?