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Class 02 - September 10.docx

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SOC 633
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Thinking with a Sociological Imagination – September 10, 2012 Plummer: What sociology needs to keep in mind (Cultivating Sociological Imagination) “The sociology imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relation between the two within society. That is its task and its promise” – C. Wright Mills Our Central Problematic: What is the relationship between biography/self/individuals and the broader social context? Sociological Thinking The starting point is social patterns; what are people doing? How do social patterns develop, and why do they continue? (Ex: Heterosexuality, 90% occurrence) The 2 most common answers behind reasoning is nature or nurture. In sociology, a focus would be on the nurture answer and how is it social. Social factors, biological factors, and subjectivity (conscious & unconscious) are in play at all times. Humans are all a complicated mix of all 3 of those factors. Subjectivity – People are complex thinking beings and they are also animated by unconscious factors. Sociological Tensions How can there be individuals within society and society within individuals? In one way, there’s a push wanting us to all be the same. We all remain individuals but take some aspects of society and internalize it. How can we have freedom yet constraint? Most decisions have consequences. Sociology at its best struggles to make sense of how social factors deeply animate us whilst also recognizing that we are biological beings, as well as animated by ou
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