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Lecture One: Intro to Sociological Theory

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McMaster University
David Young

Introduction to Sociological Theory: Studying Sociological Theory September 5, 2013 – September 9, 2013 Reasons for Studying Sociological Theory • Interpreting Social Conditions o Gives us a way to interpret social conditions and make sense of the social world all around us o Example: Understand the role of a transnational corporation, such as Nike through Karl Marx’s ideas about capitalism  We can also interpret the role of a transnational corporation with Max Weber’s ideas about bureaucracy • Comparing different perspectives o Sociology is made up of many different theories that give us many different perspectives on social conditions o We can compare the theories o When we compare theoretical perspectives, we can do two things:  Get different insights on social conditions  Consider which perspectives are most useful for understanding social conditions o [Referring to above example] We can compare the two perspectives of Max Weber and Karl Marx to understand the role of transnational corporation (such as Nike) Understanding the Emergence of Sociological Theory • Sociology and Sociological theory emerged in the late 19 century o Have not emerged at any earlier time o Why? It could not have emerged any earlier because sociology grew out of a number of different developments (intellectual and historical) o These developments paved the way for sociology and sociological theory to emerge • Impact of Enlightenment o Enl
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