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Week 7 SOCY 122 ReadingsPRINT.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOCY 122
Professor
Victoria L Friesen
Semester
Fall

Description
Week 7 SOCY 122 Readings 1) Social Fact (p561-2) - Durkheim defined social facts as ways of feeling, thinking, and acting external to and exercising constraint over the individual - Durkheim thought social facts should be treated as things, realities in their own right, with their own laws of organization, apart from individual consciousness - For Durkheim, social facts include such phenomena as social institutions (e.g. religion, the state, kinship structures, legal codes) as well as more diffuse phenomena (e.g. mass behavior of crowds, collective trends such as suicide and crime rates). - Functionalist and structuralist approaches emerged from these earlier treatments of the factuality of social existence - Efforts by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, Anthony Giddens, Pierre Bourdieu, and others to synthesize the tradition emphasizing social facts with a focus on social action, interaction, and agency have not always been fully successful in doing justice to both sides of what is evidently a perennial dilemma in social theory. 2) Suicide (632-3) - Sociological analysis of suicide has stressed Durkheim’s (Suicide, 1897/1966) concept of social integration - Marriage and parenting provide a set of responsibilities to spouse (e.g., giving and receiving emotional support) and children - Religious beliefs and practices tend to be associated with lower suicide risk - Most research has found that lower status persons have higher, not lower, suicide rates. - Unemployment can influence suicide by affecting suicide risk factors such as lowering household income, self-esteem, work-centered social networks, and increasing depression levels. - The last major research focus concerns media effects. 3) Anomie (16) - Anomie refers to the lack or ineffectiveness of normative regulation in society - division of labor brings about problematic consequences only under exceptional circumstances, either because of a lack of regulation or because the level of regulation does not match the degree of development of the division of labor - Anomic suicide takes place when normative regulations are absent, such as in the world of trade and industry (chronic anomie), or when abrupt transitions in society, such as fiscal crises, lead to a loss in the effectiveness of norms to regulate behavior (acute anomie). - Anomie refers to the resulting demoralization or deinstitutionalization of legitim- ate norms. - Second, Durkheim’s anomie concept is applied in research on societies undergoing rapid social and economic change, such as many of the eastern European countries since the collapse of communism - 4) Sacred (511) - The sacred thus involves things set apart and forbidden - ‘‘Profane’’ is always easy to define: it is anything within - Denotes a distinction between what is and what is not pertaining to the gods - Whatever the specific expression of the sacred, however, there is a fairly universal cultural division where the sacred constitutes phenomena which are set apart, revered, and distinguished from all other phenomena that constitute the pro- fane or the mundane 5) Sacred/Profane (511-12) - The significance of the sacred/profane distinction in sociology is to be most directly credited to Durkheim’s The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, where he defines religion as ‘‘a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden – beliefs and practices
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