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Sociology and Anthropology
SA 150
Ann Travers

SA 150 What sociologists do: (may be on exam) - Problematize the everyday world - Make the implicit explicit - See the strange in the familiar Problematize the everyday world - too much media (tv, computers) is detrimental to youth health - children ages 8-18 watch an average of 6 hrs 20 mins of tv daily Reasons to get rid of the tv: 1. The mediation experience  You don’t engage in activities, you watch people on tv do the things you want to do 2. The colonization of experience 3. Effects of television on the human brain  body and mind decay from too much tv 4. The inherent biases of television  incorporate biases to make it seem normal and right A.J. Liebling: “Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.” De Kerkhove: television as the last “PUBLIC REALITY” Billings (2008) “television’s primary goal is creating everyday life as artistic communication within specific historical and cultural contexts” Make the implicit explicit Socialization: - the lifelong social experience by which individuals develop their human potential and learn Culture: - the values, beliefs, behaviour.. Agents of Socialization: Family, Education, Peers, Mass Media - teach us the rules of our culture What are the four major agents of socialization? (4marks) Mass media, family, peers, education SAMPLE EXAM QUESTION See the strange in the familiar Norms: - rules and expectations by which a society guides the person Deviance: - the recognized violation of cultural norms Sanctions: (reward or punishment; positive or negative) - praise and approval for conforming to norms - punishment for violation of norms System of social control: - various means by which members of a society encourage conformity to norms Keep a tv journal, jot down your thoughts, try to think sociologically about what you are seeing and experiences Aggregates: - groups of ppl (e.g. men vs women) why do women get paid significantly less than men, why are their only male professional sports teams.. Karl Marx: “Men (sic) make history but not under circumstances of their own choosing” He uses men and not people. Sept 11, 2012 - sociologists focus on aggregates not individuals (sociology is study of groups not individuals) - race, gender, economic class, age Sociological imagination (may be on exam) - sociological experiences, interacts between biography and history, human agency and social structure - sociological imagination transforms personal problems into public issues Examples  great depression  driving  waiting in lines  education Sociological theory includes - structural functionalism - social conflict - symbolic interactionism - feminism - postmodernism Structural functionalism - envisions society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability Social structure: relatively stable patterns of social behaviour Social functions: consequences for the operation of society Examples of social structures: - prisons - educational institutions - government - marriage - family - sports Manifest functions: (entertainment) - recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern Latent functions: (babysitting children) - consequences that are largely unrecognized and unintended Social dysfunctions: (obesity) - any social pattern’s undesirable consequences for the operation of society Structural functionalists - don’t like conflict, is discouraged - don’t like change (rapid change), change in one place will cause change in another - likes gradual change Key question for structural functionalists - What makes society functional? (what makes the various parts stay connected in a cohesive way?) Social conflict theory: - Envisions society as an arena based on inequality generating conflict and change Social structures are contaminated by power relations at a fundamental level: - Rather than promoting the operation of society as a whole, social structures typically benefit some people while depriving others Insight of SOCIAL CONFLICT paradigm: - Inequality and the conflict it generates are rooted in the organization of society itself, that is in the social structures themselves Social conflict theory: - Social inequality produces conflict - Conflict produces change - Change is a good thing Symbolic Interactionism: Sociological theories: - Micro-level orientation: examines the structure of groups or of societies and their interrelationships rather than individuals - Micro-level orientation: looks at how individuals subjectively interpret their social worlds and then act upon these interpretations Postmodernism - Objectivity is a myth - Assumptions about human nature and social order are ideological - Understandings of reality are structured within power relations and shift/change TV JOURNAL Informal assignment: keep a tv journal for the next week, make a note of every time you see a person of colour or visible minority on television What are they doing? What is their role? How many people of colour are portrayed in comparison to white people? Gender inequality in Canada  It is more likely that a child that only has a mother as a parent are far more likely to live in poverty than children with men as an only parent or children with both parents Culture  The values, beliefs, norms, behaviours and material objects that constitute a people’s way of life  Everything we create with our hands and minds  Culture shapes what we do and helps forms our personalities  We learn our culture through the interaction of other people  There’s a tendency to view our own culture as natural even though it may not be compared to others Culture—five major components:  Symbols  Language  Language is a major mean of cultural transportation  Learning another language gives you an understanding of other people’s culture  Shapes reality  Sapir-Whorf hypothesis  People perceive the world through the cultural lens of language  Values  Broad principles that underline your beliefs  Specific statements that people hold to be true  Norms  Define norms, provide an example. EXAM QUESTION  Divided into prescriptive and proscriptive  Prescriptive – something you must do  Proscriptive – etiquette  Mores: a society’s standards of proper moral conduct – apply everywhere all the time – distinguish between what’s right and what’s wrong  Folkways: a society’s customs for routine, casual interaction – distinguish between right and rude (manners)  Material objects  Material culture  The tangible things created by members of society  Nonmaterial culture  The intangible world of ideas created by members of society Culture  Structural functionalism  It’s positive to grasp reality  Slow, gradual change  Big change is a bad thing because there’s consequences that happen in other parts of society  Don’t like conflict  Culture contributes to the stability of society  Cultural traits that contribute to stability and equilibrium  Rests on core values, shared, upheld throughout society  Core values bind people together  Cultural universals  Traits found in every culture of the world  Downplay the extent of change  E.g. funeral rides, reproduction  Social conflict theory  Want change, change is good, it will benefit the marginalized  Based on inequality  Materialism  Values are shaped by a society’s system of economic production  Makes us believe the rich and powerful are intelligent and dominant Homework: Does your television “data” better support the structural-functional or social conflict perspective on culture? If necessary, re-read those sections in your chapter on culture in order to formulate an answer Socialization  The lifelong social experience by which people develop their human potential and learn culture  Feral child do not have sex drives  Agents of socialization teach us how to be human  Human beings are easy to influence, they crave connection with other humans  If lack of attachment occurs, you tend to see mental breakdowns occur  Humans are meant to be bonded, we are social creatures  Bonding is necessary for infant brain development, without attachment, certain parts of the brain won’t develop and you can never fix it later  Social interaction creates us physically, mentally, and intellectually  What you experience and learn as a child represents who you will be in the future  Family is the most influential agent of socialization to children Theories of resiliency  Children who have shown resiliency, had a positive influence in their life (e.g., teacher, coach, counsellor..)  Children who experience something traumatic, experience addiction later on in life  Incredible amount of brain development during teenage years allows to question norms and authority, be more critical, aware  Raising a child in a good environment does not mean the child will end up being good  Painful events leave scars but they can be erased from socialization, social interaction and social bonds Common sense  “The collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen” –Albert Einstein Essay structure for midterm  Introduction: clearly state your argument and the resources you will draw upon to build your case  New paragraph – key point  New paragraph – key point  New paragraph – key point  New paragraph – key point  Conclusion – summarize your argument Grading criteria for essay  Demonstration of appropriate knowledge – lecture, textbook and tutorial  Critical engagement: powerful connections between course resources; awareness of implications; posing of good questions  Quality of presentation: well written and organized (grammar counts but not spelling as long as we can make it out); you must write legibly Deviance  A recognized violation of cultural norms  Categories of deviance vary from culture to culture  What is deviance in one culture is different from another  Every culture has categories of deviance  Structural functionalists would say deviance is necessary for people to understand what the norms are  When you talk about deviance, you’re not just talking about formal laws  Goes from others find odd to disturbing to dangerous  Deviance is different from breaking formal laws  Norms as socially constructed from a sociocultural perspective  Vary from culture to culture  Some people believe norms reflect the belief of god  Others believe norms reflect evolved human nature  If you put a new group of people together in a new situation, they create new norms  Structural functionalism  the functions of deviance  Social conflict  deviance and power  Symbolic interactionism  the labeling theory of deviance Structural functionalism (Emile Durkheim)  According to Durkheim, there are four functions of deviance 1. Deviance affirms cultural values and norms 2. Responding to deviance clarifies moral boundaries (knowing the difference between right and wrong necessarily) 3. Responding to deviance promotes social unity  An act of deviance can bring together different cultural groups/people) 4. Deviance promotes/encourages social change  Durkheim believed deviance is good for society Social conflict (Karl Marx)  Social conflict theorists emphasized the relationship between deviance and power  If you have power, what you consider as norms translate through to the society and what you consider deviance is deviant in society if you’re rich  Norms reflect the interest of the rich and powerful  The powerful have the resources to resist deviant labels (e.g. rich, white-collar criminals who steal large amounts of money seem to get more lenient sentences than poorer criminals)  The widespread belief that norms and laws are natural, people didn’t make them up, they used rational reasoning  Everyone is subject to the law but benefit or do not harm the groups in power  The crimes that we focus on, and the crimes we do not focus on reflect society as a whole Symbolic-interactionism and the labeling theory of deviance (Max Weber)  Structural functionalist and social conflict look at deviance as the overall of society  Micro perspective for symbolic-interactionism  Look at how other people respond to us, the way we respond to others  How that creates deviant people  Social process that creates deviant people  According to Cooley theory on the looking glass self, our identities and perceptions of ourselves is the result of how people see us  People are praised for some behaviours and ignored or punished for others (selective mirroring) Labelling theory of deviance  Primary deviance – example: driving over the posted speed limit  Secondary deviance – example: criminal conviction for street racing  Stigma  E.g. sexual abuse, murder (very immoral) Medicalization of deviance  Moral and legal deviance becomes a medical issue  E.g. obesity Social control  Attempts by society to regulate people’s thoughts and behaviour  By relying on our values, we can refrain from deviant practices  Less deviance comes from:  Close attachment to society and family  Good access to institutional means such as education  Involvement in society  Beliefs  E.g. religion  In social conflict and structural functionalism, deviance is looked from society’s perspective (macro point of view)  Symbolic interactionism has a micro perspective  Looks at how people respond to use and how we respond to others (and how it may lead to deviance)  There is a social process that creates deviant people  Looking glass self theory (Cooley)  The perception
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