Sociology Week 3 Lecture 11/1/2012 5:28:00 AM
FOCUS OF WEEK 3: The Sociological Imagination
Tend to view world through our own personal lens.
Notion of naturalism, how we naturally perceive the world
As biological beings, we rely on our senses.
Gives us an egocentric and isolated perspective**
„Web‟ of social relations: how we are all connected and intertwined.
Based on our experiences and our past encounters.
Commonality between people‟s everyday stocks of knowledge:
accumulate a standard of said “common sense”.
Vast repertoire of knowledge
Personal troubles of milieu;
o Character of individual and immediate relations.
o Solution lies within an individual, immediate milieu and willful
o A trouble is a private matter.
Public issues of social structure;
o Transcend local environment
o Entails organization of many milieu extending into institutions
and structures of historical society
o An issue is a public matter
3 Key Questions:
1. What is the structure of society as a whole?
Essential components: differences from other social orders;
meaning of particular features.
o Essential components; ie.) -strong belief in equality of
opportunity- dominant value of current day society.
2. Where does the society stand in history?
Mechanics of change; development of humanity; period‟s essential
features; characteristic way of making history
o Essential features to mechanics of change: Ie.) Economy (and
its stability), social media
1 3. What varieties of men and women prevail- are coming to prevail?
How selected, formed, repressed, blunted, liberated; what of
“human nature” is revealed; what is its significance?
o What of human nature is revealed in life experiences we have
had so far?; In a way our everyday stocks of knowledge make
us resilient to change.
2 Socy122 Week 4 Lecture 11/1/2012 5:28:00 AM
What is the Enlightenment?
“age of reason”- Emphasis on scientific facts opposed to facts via
authority of church. (Enlightenment mainly happened in 1789)
Freedom, mastery & progress.
What is Important about the British Political Economy?
Period of industrialization.
Emergence of class workers; exploited and mistreated
Notion of overproduction begins to emerge
What is Important about the German Idealism?
Philosophical notion in which human progress can develop
What is “Dialectic” and why is it significant?
Notion of dialogue: Put forth a position, Socratic teacher contradicts
and points out weaknesses. From there, you elaborate a new
response and re-propose it (constant cycle)
Dialectic changes in human questions until we have a fully
Human life is constantly changing through a process of
tension, contradiction, and overcoming contradictions.
Marx work is described as “unfinished”
Never got a chance to finish work. Constantly refined ideas but
never concluded them
As soon as he tried to articulate position, he saw holes or flaws, and
Because its unfinished, can be reinterpreted in many different ways
Dynamic society continuously changes, hence why Marx‟s work
could never be concluded
Essential features of Marx‟s
Just as Darwin discovered the evolutionary laws of nature, Marx
discovered the evolutionary laws of society
Production is the most essential feature of societies
Production is the ontological condition of humankind
1845 German Ideology manuscript published by Engels and Marx
History and change are fundamental to human condition
1 o “In the social production of their lives, humankind,
independently of its will, enters determinate, necessary
relations, relations of production appropriate to….”
o Superstructure-- legal & political superstructure; determinate
forms of consciousness.
o Base—Economic structure of society totality of the relations of
production. (Mode of production; social relations of production
and the material forces of production)
2 Socy122 Week 5 Lecture 11/1/2012 5:28:00 AM
Karl Marx- models;
1. Base, superstructure on top. Arrow going from base upwards to
superstructure, showing direction of influence and power (point upwards)
a. Legal structure
b. Political system
c. Determinate forms of consciousness
Base: identifies mode of production; made up of material forces and social
relations of production.
Superstructure: social, political, and intellectual processes overall
Fedder- chaining or restricting force
Karl Marx & Adam Ferguson* (find out who/what he did)
Feudalism creates stability, beginning of trade begins to develop. (during
Material forces of production:
Place to assemble (machinery)
Not machinery or technology- but economy as a whole
Long term tendency of rate of profit to fall as technology becomes
Mass of profit increased by selling more goods at smaller marginal
Incentive to us still more technology to increase productivity further
1 SOCY122 Week 6 Lecture 11/1/2012 5:28:00 AM
A document with a specific history.
Imagery and intellectual craftsmanship
The dynamics of modernity.
Karl Marx‟s Manifesto, but Written by (Wilham Whitely?), a
Protestant communist. Came form religious train of thought. Talked
of emergence of socialism through religion.
Two Focal points:
o The “material relations” of society- objective dynamic
o “class struggle” (class consciousness) subjective dynamic
Change is driven by internal contradictions and struggle
Radical Doubt and the Discourse on Method
1. Accept Nothing; reject prejudice
2. Divide questions into simplest parts
3. Begin with most simple- move to more complex
4. Review thoroughly
Considerations on the Roman Empire
Spirit of the Laws
o 3 social types- despotisms, monarchies, republics
o Their nature- despot, king, legislative body
o Their Principles- fear, honour, virtue
Montesquieu and Sociology
Importance of Observation- the “nature of things”
Broken to constituent parts- key focus on social “spirit- customs,
mores, styles of though
1800 to 1813, primarily concerned with the unity of knowledge