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What is Sociology.docx

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Simon Fraser University
CRIM 104
Barry Cartwright

What is Sociology: - Social relations: the way that individuals and groups relate to each other (governed or controlled by law and by the criminal justice system) - Social forces: shape our political system, our social system, our laws and our criminal justice system - Social conduct: how we behave or conduct ourselves in our social relation - Social conventions: norms or expectations – what people expect we will do; some are informal, some formal - Social constraints: can be formal or informal, informal constraints (rejection, shunning or exclusion); formal constraints (laws, the courts, the police, the prison system) - Social institutions: (eg, criminal justice system) largely modern creations, designed to constrain those who do not follow social convention Is Sociology Really a Science: - Sociology “involves a respect for logical clarity in the formulation of theories” and also involves “disciplined empirical investigation” Science, Empiricism and Theory: - Science: the use of logical, systematic methods to produce a body of knowledge - Empiricism: factual investigation and observation - Theory: explains why things happen; help us make sense out of the facts, through construction of abstract interpretations of empirical situations The Problems With Social Science: - Studying humans and social behaviour is different than studying atoms, minerals, chemicals, or plant life - Humans may be uncooperative, or may consciously alter their behaviour when being studied or observed - Human behaviour can be quite complex, so clear-cut cause-effect relationships may be difficult to pin down Sociology and Criminology: - Sociology and criminology are highly interrelated - Many of the ideas in criminology came from the field of sociology - Until recently, criminology was a sub-discipline of sociology, and was usually subsumed under the sociology department The “Roots” of Sociology and Criminology: - Roots of sociology are much as the same of criminology - Both disciplines are quite new, and have their origins in The Enlightenment The Enlightenment: - Also known as the Age of Reason - Period from 1689 to 1789 (began with English Revolution, ended with French Revolution) - Intellectual movement involving philosophers, political reformers, social theorists, and religious skeptics - New focus on critical examination of human life, religious beliefs, and society - Greater emphasis on reason and science, rationality and empiricism - Time of Newton’s discovery of gravity, Rousseau’s book “The Social Contract” De Montesquieu (1689-1755): - Regarded as the founder of the sociology of knowledge - Studied social facts, social institutions, different types of societies throughout history - Examined how different types of social organization, social class positions and social conditions affect forms of thought and cultural perspectives (Zetlin, 2001) Saint Simon (1768-1825): - Also widely regarded as one of the founders of sociology - Impressed by Newton’s law of gravity and with the scientific method in general – “the power of reaso
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