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SOCIOL 1A06 (735)

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Sandra Colavecchia

September 12, 2012 Sociology; Reading #1: The Sociological Imagination Chapter 1: New Society Denial of Death -knowing that they could die at any moment makes people anxious, and to cope with that anxiety, people normally deny death -Religion is one example of the way people deny death. Religion provides security and meaning. -Another example is trying to maintain the appearance of being young -Determinism: the belief that everything happens the way it does because it is destined to happen that way. (fait) -Voluntarism: the belief that we control our destiny . Opposite of determinism. -cosmetic surgery has become much more popular since the 1990’s. A Trap -denying death makes it harder to figure out how best to live example: the denial of death is a trap. Religion can prevent people from living well and being happy -pursuing youthfulness distracts people from accepting growth and allowing them to realize who they really are and what makes them happy in life Higher Education -refusing to deny death focuses the mind on how best to live -higher education can help people focus on how best to live -high education is devoted to that; it is not just about job training -college and university courses represent different approaches to imporving the welfare of humanity Sociology -we can better understand what we are and what we can become by studying the social relations that help shape us -Emile Durkheim’s theory suggests that suicide is not because of being anti-social. It relates to how frequently one is social and how frequently one interacts with others and share their beliefs, values, and morals. This is called one’s level of social solidarity. Low Solidarity= a high suicide rate -this is because these people lack emotional support and cultural guidelines. Intermediate Solidarity= low suicide rate -this is because people who enjoy emotional support and have cultural guidelines are disinclined to commit suicide. High Solidarity= a high suicide rate -if people within a high solidarity group feel like the belonging of the group is being threatened, they are likely to sacrifice their lives to protect it. September 13, 2012 Sociology: Lecture #1 The “Sociological Imagination” - C. Wright Mills (1959) Sociological Imagination: individual experiences connected to a social context -C. Wright Mills writes upon unemployment -If there are a large number of adult’s unemployed, we can reasonably conclude that it is not to be put on individuals; we conclude that there is a large economic collapse. Reasons for Increase in Divorce -People living longer -Legal changes -Declining stigma -Increasing secularism -Women’s labour force participation -Higher expectations (what qualities do you seek in a partner?) -Shifting ideas about gender and unequal sharing of housework -Inadequate supports for working parents, which lead to marital conflict -Greater diversity in families and intimate relationships, including greater acceptance of remaining single, cohabiting, and advocacy and social change for gay and lesbians Multiple Choice Question (example) The sociological imagination allows people to understand the relationship between: 1.Social structure and human agency 2.Processes and structures 3. Psych. Bio and sociology 4.Public or social issues and private troubles 5.Nature and nurture If we apply the sociological imagination to the problem of divorce we: a. can predict which couples will divorce b. see how infidelity and financial difficulty lead to divorce c. can link divorce rates to changes in divorce legislation and social attitudes towards divorce d. can understand the emotional turmoil that results from divorce e. understand that divorce is most likely to happen when a couple falls out of love and grows apart Sociological Theories -Order theories: supports status-quo -Change theories: social change -Macro-sociology: society shapes us -Micro-sociology: we make society Structural Functionalism -institutions that serve a wider good for society. Serves a function to society. Focuses on stability -order theory -stability, equilibrium -consensus -analogy to human body -interrelated parts -functionality of parts -criticised for reinforcing the status-quo or the structure of society Conflict Theory -anything to do with class -Change theory -Macro level -Karl Marx (predicted capitalism would be replaced with socialism) -Most important: economic or material conditions -Class conflict Small fish: there is no justice in the world Medium fish: there is a little bit of justice in the world Big fish: the world is full of justice Forms of inequality that people experience: -gender -race -sexual orientation -disability Symbolic Interactionism -Change theory -Micro level -Interpersonal communication -Interactions create society -Subjectivity -Example: creating “family” at Thanksgiving Feminist Theory -Change theory -Macro and micro level -Gender relations -Gender inequalities -Women’s social reality -They base their theory on patriarchy -Example: unpaid labour Multiple Choice Example: Criticism of sociological theory inclue: a. Symbolic interactionism places too much emphasis on social structure b. Conflict theory overemphasizes gender-based inequalities c. Structural functionalism places to much emphasis on inequality d. Feminist perspectives that rely on the concept of patriarchy Durkheim and Suicide -suicide rates related to level of social solidarity -if solidarity is very low or very high, suicide will increase McLaughlin on the elite structure of Canadian society: there has been an increase in the number of elites from Alberta and BC Sociology Tutorial #1 Sample Multiple Choice Question 1. Durkheim’s analysis of suicide: a. Hightlights the role of mental health in predicting suicide b. Highlights how one’s social connectedness is related to suicide c. Has not been scientifically validated d. All of the above 2. Durkheim argued that in modern societies: a. social ties are strengthening, and people share fewer beliefs and values b. social ties are weakening and people share more beliefs and values c. social ties are weakening and people share fewer beliefs and values d. none of the above October 4, 2012 Sociology Tutorial #2 Experiments  Strengths: choose subjects, direct feedback, reward in the end, personally experience trial and error Limitations: artificial environment, Hawthorne effect, biased, not applicable to all things, validity, morals and values clash, subjects rather than participants Surveys  Strengths: any type of questions can result in many answers, ask a wide range of people, easier and sometimes cheaper Limitations: people do not always answer surveys, biased, questions aren’t included Observation Research: observing from afar, or from actually doing the actions your observing Strength: real life context, participation within society, community and not individual studies Limitations: ethnocentrism, generalizability, uneven ratio (harder to get research) Secondary Data Analysis Strengths: reduce the amount of research, you can study a lot of people (census), less costly- data is already there, less time in terms of data collection Limitations: validity, biased of original creators September 20, 2012 Sociology Lecture #3 Research Methods -Experiments -Surveys (self-administered questionnaires, interviews) -Observatory Studies (participant observation) -Secondary Data Analysis (“documentary analysis”, “historical sociology”, “use of official statistics”) Quantitaive vs Qualitative Research -Quantitative: availability of numerical data -Social phenomena captured nicely by stats -Qualitative: focus on process (how, why); giving voice to “participants” -Which type of research is superior? -Example: children of divorced parents Cross-sectional vs Longitudinal -Cross-Sectional: data taken at one point in time -Longitudinal: study done at more than one point in time -Example: study of adolescent mothers Limitations of Experiments -Have you been a subject in an experiement? -Artifical Environments -Validity (are you measuring what you think you are measuring) -Hawthorne effect (we behave differently when we know we are being watched) -Not applicable to all things that sociologists want to study -Replicating a Positivist Approach to research (not conductive to rapport building; “subject” rather than participant) Limitations of Surveys -Designing “good” questions is difficult (mutually) exclusive, exhaustive categories) -Dishonesty -Forgetfulness (memory fade and telescoping) -Q: Have you completed a survey in the past year? -Requires literacy -Data is limited to what is on paper -Low response rates Limitations of Observatory Studies -Low reliability -Generalizability -Hawthorne effect -Ethnocentrism (researchers bringing their own bias to their study) Limitations of Secondary Data Analysis -Incomplete Data -Accuracy of Data (different people have different work ethics) -Biases of original creators Research Ethics -Submit an Ethic Application, need to approval -Consent letter for participants (example posted on Avenue) -Imformed Consent: Participants have the right to know: -know they are participating in a study -the nature of their participation -their rights as participants Confidentiality/Anonymity -Confidentiality: Identity not revealed to public -the researcher IS ABLE to identify a given person’s responses with that person -Anonymity: Identity not revealed to public -the researcher IS NOT ABLE to identify a given perosn’s responses with that person Research Ethics -Philip Zimbardo -mock prison -Stanley Milgram -shock experiment Laud Humphreys (1970) -Sociological participant observation study -Tearoom Trade -Deception, potential for great harm Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment -1932-72 US government -deception -vulnerable social group -harm and death -syphilis is a sexual transmitted disease -african American men -they were never told about the cure for syphilis during the experiment, they were never diagnosed and told the truth about syphilis -they were promised money for financial advice September 27, 2012 Sociology Lecture #4 -For assignment use SOCIOLOGICAL ABSTRACT DATABASE ONLY. -must be sociology articles only (look in the name if sociology relates) -look at the authors affiliation Part A: -articles must be closely related -MUST BE SOCIOLOGICAL -must have been reviewed by experts in the field, 2 must have been published after Jan 1, 2006 -must be a study (15-30 pages) -for each article answer questions #1 and #2 -in text citations Culture Cultural Universals Bodily adornment, sports, gift giving, social institutions (family) page 28 new society: they talk about how we can understand perspectives on culture social norms of parents vary from culture to culture (Italian families: late night gelato) Ethnocentrism: one’s own practices/ beliefs are superior (judging another person on your way of life Cultural Relativism: all cultural practices have equal value (belief that there is no single way to live) Ideal Culture: the set of beliefs we say we believe in and do Real Culture: what we actually do How can we understand Comtemporary Culture?? WE CANT unless we discuss:  Globalization Postmodernism Consumerism Globalization: political interconnectedness (countries are more connected politically through the UN, economically, English is spreading worldwide) Travel and migration (people are travelling in mass numbers in ways that the world has never seen before) TRANSNATIONALISM people moving back and forth from country to country and keeping ties with both countries (different diaspora) Communication (allowing the world to interact instantly) Work/occupations (McDonaldization of society Ritzer RATIONALIZATION: the modern world is characterized by rationialzation, the modern world is made up of bureaucracies) Ritzer argued that bureaucracies have become extremely irrational because they can’t deal with anything exceptional Postmodernism:  postmoderists argue that knowledge and truth are situation specific, fluid (changing) and very much so contested reflects broad range of projects knowledge and “truth” is fluid and shaped and reshaped through discourse (ie: medical, political, academic discourse) ”truth” reflects power relations (who holds power, people who have power have the power to shape discourse, they have the power to shape their version of the truth) rejection of single explanatory frameworks (rejects one objective truth, some look very closely at language and how it is used) mixing of elements from different times/ places (music----on avenue) Religion: October 4, 2012 Sociology Lecture #5 Consumerism: defining ourselves by what we buy Commercialization of Childhood -unprecedented, sophisticated, powerful -using researchers, psychologists to find out how to sell their products to kids -‘Cradle to grave’ ; brand loyalty -sociologists were worried about children not being able to escape advertising -it is effecting children’s quality of life (mental health) Pierre Bourdieu -economic capital converted into: -Social capital (family, network/having connections, it’s not what you know it’s who you know, people that help you get ahead in life) -cultural capital (learning beyond what you learn in school, like traveling, ballet, fine/ elite culture) -bourdeau believes that if you have cultural capital and social capital you will do better in life -middle class kids more likely to revieve these forms of capital -explains intergenerational reproduction of class (if you are brought up in a poor class family, you are more likely to be poor class yourself etc.) The Rights Revolution/ Culture Wars -the rights revolution: struggle
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