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Lecture 3

SOSA 2002X Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Social Forces, Social Order, Big Questions

Soc & Social Anthropology
Course Code
SOSA 2002X

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SOSA 2002 SEPT.16th 09/16/2014
Sociological Imagination Summary
Sociological imagination C.W Mills
”core” components of sociological perspectives
Duality of Social Life
 “private/individual” and “public/collective”
People are usually preoccupied with their lives and do not make connections with the larger
public sphere. Usually people are affected by things out of their control, in their personal lives,
such as unemployment.
Sociological imagination connects individuals private lives in relation to others’ lives or events
happening at the societal level. (Ex. somebody losing their job due to mismanagement that lead
to bankruptcy)
Sociological imagination serves us:
To see the social world from these 2 levels
To see that they are interconnected
*private life shaped by the public life- social norms influence peoples’ decisions.
*public life is constructed by individuals’ private lives.
Ex. if a same-sex couple gets married that creates a symbol in society that it is okay to be
homosexual. Rewriting the norms surrounding marriage.
Ex. choosing to cohabitate before marriage in a religious community rewrites social norms as
“Biography  History”
The conditions we live in today have repercussions for future generations; good or bad.
Society has multiple levels
Society is an emergent reality
Human Diversity and Social Order
Human Diversity
We live amongst so many diversities
Everyone is different in a most precise way
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Physical characteristics (height, weight, eye colour, complexion)
Personality (adventurous, risk taking, outspoken…)
Taste (food, music, dress…)
Even within one individual, characteristics change over time
Every individual’s “biography” is fundamentally unique
Big Questions
What does “social” constitute?
What connects diverse individuals?
What are “forces” that shape unique individuals into behaving in similar manners?
Is it natural for humans to comply with certain values?
What social interaction leads to conformity?
These are fundamental questions for many social scientists
They are built upon an acknowledgement of human diversity!
Individual’s biography is fundamentally unique
Yet many share similar values and experiences
Act of strong social forces
Certain similarities in biographies emerge in society
Where does the similarity stem from?
Is it natural for human beings to comply with normative values?
“Secular Charter” debate
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