January 10 , 2012
A Second Dose of Sociology: Introduction to Sociology II
• The Compass, the Lenses and the Snowflake
• What is Sociology
• Winter Focus
• Course Description
• Evaluation Structure
• Next class
• Chances are if you are in this class, it is because you either had to take it, or you don’t
mind sociology all that much. If however what is discussed in this particular sociology
class does not interest you, other sociology classes offer different agendas that may
better suit your interests. They are available to you through sign-up.
• Social Movement is the framework we will approach many topics with this term. We will
look at topics such as religion, education and family.
• We will look at and question why things are the way they are, and we will look at
demands for change.
The Compass, The Lenses and The Snowflake
How are the social sciences different than just making common sense decisions?
The Compass – Did you know that…? Did you know about…?
• Sociology as a compass is about being able to show you different ideas or places that
you may not have known about otherwise. The Lenses – Had you thought about it like this…? Had you looked at it this way…?
• Sociology as a set of lenses is about helping you see things from different perspectives
and helping you see different patterns, most of which you had not seen through your
own lens. It is about seeing things in a way you had not thought of before.
The Snowflake – We are Unique!
• Sociology is not anti-individual, but rather shows the uniqueness and richness of
individuals as enabled and constrained by what we call ‘the Social’.
What is Sociology?
• The central questions of sociology, we could say, are: how do the types of social
relations and societies that we inhabit relate to how we see each other, ourselves and
our knowledge, actions and their consequences?
• This is because no matter what we do or say, we are in some way dependant on each
• The goal of sociology is to view situations that you have or have not been in before and
see them as an outsider. A good example of this is if you were a traveller. As a traveller,
you would travel around the world seeing things for the first time and seeing things in
different perspectives. Everything would be new.
• Sociology is built along the idea of being an outsider, sometimes in your own community.
It is about thinking and debunking ideas and studying patterns.
The Sociological Perspective
• The sociological perspective stresses the social contexts in which people live and how
these contexts influence their lives.
The Sociological Imagination, The Social, and Sociology and Common Sense
The Sociological Imagination
• The sociological imagination is a sociological vision. It is a way of looking at the world
that allows links between the apparently private problems of the individual and important
• At the center of the sociological perspective is the question of how people are influenced
by their society. This is the group of people with whom they share a culture and territory. The Social
• This includes Culture, Race, Class, Gender, etc
• The elements that constitute the social affect not only our opinions, our values, our
beliefs and our knowledge, but also our habits, our tastes, our desires, our dreams.
Sociology and Common Sense
• Sociology shares much of its vocabulary with Common Sense.
• What distinguishes Sociology from Common Sense is (among other things)
• Operationalization is how we measure things and how we determine “what counts?”.
• It is the ability to view our own society as an outsider rather than only from the
perspective of personal experiences and cultural biases.
• It involves critical thinking and questioning what otherwise may simply be taken for
granted or assumed to be "natural.“
• Is an empowering tool. It allows us to look beyond a limited understanding of human
behaviour to see the world and its people in a new way and through a broader lens than
we might otherwise use.
• In the winter, we will look at additional building blocks of society and sociology such as
Social movement, Organizations, Politics, The Mass Media, the Body, Technology,
Environment, Religion, Education and the Family, and Sexuality.
• We will look at enabling and constraining effects of ‘the social’ on individuals, but we will
start looking at how individuals, in turn, can have a social impact and p