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Simon Fraser University
Sociology and Anthropology
SA 150
Hilal Ozcetin

SA150 – Introduction to Sociology Week 2 – Chapter 1: Introduction to Sociology: What is Sociology?: SOCIOLOGY – the systematic study of social behaviour and human groups as well as the relationship between the individual and the society It focuses on social relationships, looking at how others influence our behaviour; how major social institutions like the government, religion and the economy affect us; and how we ourselves affect other individuals, groups, and even organizations Introduction to Sociology: Sociologists notice social patterns – they recognize that our personal experiences are affected by our class, ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation Sociological research enables us to discuss social issues in an informed and critical manner – it allows us to challenge perceptions such as stereotypes Sociological Perspective: SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE – the unique way in which sociologists see our world and can analyze the dynamic relations between individuals and the larger social network in which we all live Sociological Imagination: SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION – As defined by C. Wright Mills (1959), sociological imagination is an awareness of the relationship between an individual and the wider society this awareness allows all of us to comprehend the links between our immediate, personal social settings and the remote, impersonal social world that surrounds and helps to shape us it is also a way to understand the dynamic relation between an individual and the larger society it involves stepping outside of your own condition and looking at yourself from a new perspective – seeing yourself as the product of your family, income level, race and gender You employ the sociological imagination by asking yourself “Who am I and why do I think the way I do?” Peter Berger (1963) Sociological Perspective: SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE – As defined by Peter Berger, sociological perspective is the ability to view the world from two distinct yet complimentary perspectives seeing the general in the particular and; seeing the strange in the familiar Seeing the general in the particular – According to Berger, sociologists identify general patterns in the behaviour of particular individuals While acknowledging that each individual is unique, sociologists recognize that society acts differently on various categories of people We think sociologically when we realize how the general categories into which we happen to fall shape our particular life experiences Seeing the strange in the familiar – It is looking at what appears normal and familiar and seeing it as peculiar and strange evidence of sociological perspective beginning to develop the sociological imagination Three Main Classical SociologicalApproaches: Structural-Functional (Functionalist) Approach Social-ConflictApproach Symbolic-InteractionApproach Structural-Functional (Functionalist) Approach: STRUCTURAL-FUNCTIONALAPPROACH – is a framework for building theory that sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to promote solidarity and stability It identifies the various structures of society (eg. the family), and describes the functions the structure performs to maintain the entire social systematic It uses organic or biological analogy for society OrganicAnalogy: ORGANIC ANALOGY – the belief that the society is like an organism with interdependent and interrelated structures Society --------------------> Human Body Human body – society is made up of structures that work together for the good of the collective the society must meet the needs of the majority Short-term periods of conflicts can occur, but over time these events will be addressed by the system and it will return to state of homeostasis Robert K. Merton (1910-2003): ROBERT K. MERTON – enhanced the functionalist perspective by noting that there are three different types of functions that any structure can produce: Manifest function: the recognized and intended consequences of any social pattern Latent function: the unrecognized and unintended consequences of any social pattern Social dysfunction (Latent dysfunction): any social pattern that may disrupt the operation of the society or lead to decrease in stability Emile Durkheim (1858-1917): Durkheim is a structural functionalist In his book Suicide (1897), Durkheim found that certain groups were more likely to commit suicide: officers, Protestants, single people, and rich people. Having too weak connection to society (“social integration”) could produce suicide as well Anomie – refers to the loss of direction that a society feels when social control of individual behaviour has become ineffective and solidarity has decreased The state of anomie occurs when people have lost their sense of purpose or direction, often during a time of profound social change The Conflict Theory: CONFLICT THEORY – is based on the four C's Conflict – exists in all large societies Class – has existed in every society Contestation – functions can be contested by asking “Who does this function best serve?” Change – society either will or should be changed Social Conflict Approach: SOCIAL CONFLICT APPROACH – is a framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change Power is unequally divided among members of the society and the dominant ideologies are the means to promote the advantaged group interests in the expenses of disadvantaged Karl Marx (1818-1883): Relations of production v relationship between owners and workers v a relationship based
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