CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
Sociologists Notice Social Patterns
Our class, ethnicity, gender, age, and sexual orientation affect personal
Research enables us to discuss social issues in on informed and critical
Sociology is a Social Science
Shares common interests with other social sciences such as psychology,
anthropology, and political science.
What is Sociology?
1. Social science that studies the development, structure, and functioning of
2. Involves looking for and at social patterns in social variables, social
institutions, and social interactions.
C. Wright Mills
Connection between how society works and how it works in terms of our
Connect ‘societal issues’ to ‘personal problems’
o Larger issues and history shape the context within which our troubles
Consequences of No Sociological Imagination
Social issues become viewed as private problems unconnected to those larger
1. Suffering of individuals becomes personalized as one’s own fault.
2. Apathy, sense of failure, loss of language to express concerns.
The First Sociologists
Confucius, Chinese Philosopher (479551)
o Role modeling in leadership.
Ibn Khaldum, Arab Scholar (13321406)
o Introduction to history (Maqaddimah)
o Societies and their histories, culture, and economies.
The Development of Western Sociology
Germany, France, and England during the 1800’s
o Developed in response to dramatic social changes as a consequence of
industrialization. Eg. Urbanization, population increases, changing economies
Auguste Comte, French Philosopher (17981857)
o Came up with the term ‘Sociology’
o Believed sociology could discover laws of human social behavior.
Harriet Martineau (18021876)
o Use Comte’s work True Science of Human Nature
o Studied religion, politics, childrearing, slavery, and immigration in
categories of race, class, and gender.
o Call for equality of woman/woman’s rights movement.
o Wrote Society in America, an analysis of social customs she observed
while travelling around the entire US in 1834.
o Wrote first sociological methods book on participant observing.
Herbert Spencer (18201903)
o Influenced by biologist Charles Darwin (18091882) and his theory of
o Most people believe Darwin coined the term ‘survival of the fittest’
but Spencer actually used the term to justify social inequalities.
o Essentially it was his belief that those with wealth and power deserved
it, because they were the fittest members of society.
Max Weber (18641920)
o Described how Protestantism and the religions values towards hard
work, accumulation of capital, and frugality led to the development of
o Increasing rationalization of society (Bureaucracy)
o Studied social action through the meanings people attach to their
“Verstehen” – understand… interpretive sociology.
Uses organic or biological analogy for society.
Identifies the various structures of society (Eg. The family)
Describes the functions the structures performs to maintain the entire social
Emile Durkheim (18581917)