SOCI 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Social Order, Bourgeoisie, Complex Number
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Classical Social Theories
What is Theory?
● Explanation of a social phenomenon
○ Tattoo has become a cultural phenomenon over the last 20 years and theorists
go on to explain how and why tattoo is increasing
○ Examples include, The Bigbang or Darwins Theory of Evoultion
○ Darwin not only described in his theory but also explained why and the how.
Theorist are far from isolated, they are in constant dialogue with other theories to
improve upon their theories
○ Social Theories differ from Physical Theory
● Description (what) Plus explanation (how,why)
● Common Sense: Everyday theorising
○ Not Quite Systematic
○ Opinions, received wisdom
○ Inconsistent and incoherent
● Formal Theory
○ Systematic and coherent explanation based on rigorous social observation
○ Systematically describes and explains social phenomenon
● Every social phenomenon needs explaining
● Nothing is Self Evident
○ In 2013, 16,000 families in St.Catherines used food banks but why?
○ 78% of individuals who live under the poverty line, work full time but why?
○ In the 2011 Consensus, Women were paid less than men for the same job with
the same roles to fulfill but why?
○ Explaning the Suxual Double Standard, why women having multiple partners are
negatively critiqued while men are lauded
● Systematic Searching for the actual causes of Phenomenon
● Huge body of sociological theory, dating from the 19th century
Learning Formal Theory
● Different schools of thought
○ Critical Race Theories
● Each has a set of common premises
○ Are we living in a just world
○ How can unequal societies be shaped to change
○ The relationship between the individual and the Society
● Each address key sociological questions
● Learn the key premises of each school
○ Be able to compare are contrast the schools of thought to be able to strengthen
our explanations of the world
Is society characterized by Social order or Social Conflict?
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