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Lecture 2

SOCI 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: The Sociological Imagination, Nacirema, Social Order

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Sara Cumming

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Assignment one needs the first page of the referenced article attached. 3 to start, 5 on
assignment 2 and 6 by the end of the 3-6 page essay on inequality. page numbers!
-Sociology is the systematic study of human groups and their interactions
-Sociological Perspective - refers to the unique way in which sociologists see our world and
can dissect the dynamic relationships between individuals and the larger social network in
which we all live
-Social location - where people are located in a particular society, gender, race, sexuality,
income, where you are (geography) but mostly where you are compared to others not
Charles Wright Mills
-The Sociological Imagination - Developing an appreciation of how individual challenges are
influences by larger social forces
-Personal Troubles result from individual challenges
-Social issues are caused by larger social factors
-the “trick” is in understanding how these personal troubles may indeed be due to larger social
-Personal troubles are closely linked to the social issues and seeing this is using your
sociological imagination
Peter Berger
-Seeing the general in the particular is the ability to look at seemingly unique events
(particular) and then recognizing the larger (general) features involved (practically the same
as the sociological imagination)
-Think about what is familiar and see it as strange
Seeing Strange in the Familiar
-Body Ritual Among the Nacirema (Horace Miner)
What is Theory?
-An explanation of a social phenomenon
-description (what) PLUS explanation (how, why)
-Common sense: everyday theorizing
-opinions, received wisdom
-inconsistent and incoherent
-Formal theory: systematic, coherent explanation based on rigorous social observation
-every phenomenon needs explaining
-nothing is self-evident
-systematic searching for the actual causes of phenomenon
-huge body of sociological theory, dating from the 19th century
Social Order or Conflict?
Social order: the battle against chaos
-Functionalism (structural functionalism)
-society regulates peoples self-intrest
-socialized selves hide self-serving beasts
-society restrains the beasts, making social order possible
-William Goldring (1958) The Lord of the Flies
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