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Sociology 100

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Bickis Heidi

What is Sociology? • The scientific study of society, the way that it is organized and the way that people behave in relation to each other • A way of thinking and a particular way of questioning the world • Examing and reflecting on how we are shaped by our interactions Main Points • The disciplthe has a history • 19 century – Marks Weber, Karl Marx such thinkers developed the discipline • All of the thinkers argued that individuals understood outside their. • Sociological imagination • C. Wright Mills aimed to reconcile two different and abstract concepts of social reality – the “individual” and “society.” • quality of mind that helps us see the connection between individual identities and wider general social processes • how we are shaped in number of ways by societal context • Difference between common sense and sociological thinking • Sociology is not the same as everyday common sense, it involves questioning the evident • Sociological thinking involves suspending the common sense and thinking critically and analytical about everyday things shake up the things a bit • Sociologyical thinking focuses on collective life on how we interact and relate to one another Reading: Subjective Troubles • Focus on subjective troubles involves looking at our interactions with others and how these interactions create meanings that shape our views of the world and in turn, how we act • subjective troubles approach challenges the idea that each of us is a stable or essential individual that remains the same always and forever static • Instead, this approach emphasises that how we see ourselves, as a student, are produced based on our interactions and social context • I do not exist before my social interactions • We are socialized by our parents, socials and society at large --> we are made in our interactions with others • The concepts we use to define ourselves are created in different social historical moments 1. How do we become who we are? 2. How is it that we can communicate and understand each other? 3. What are the meaning we share? 4. How do these shared meaning lead us to act certain ways 5. Why do we each behave and think in the ways we do? Reading: Am I Free by Pavlich? • Challenges everyday views that selves are naturally free • Notes the extent to which Canadian society is based on images of individual freedom • Our conceptions of individuals and freedom are products of social interactions at given moments in history • Michel Foucault states that individuals are not born free; instead, power relations create both individuals and the particular freedoms ascribed to them • Pavlich counter argues that power is sometimes exercised precisely by enforcing “free” individual identities • “Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains” (Rousseaue 1983, 165) – The social contract • Existentialists such as Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus believed that human beings are always and inescapably condemned to be free • Rousseau notes that "to renounce liberty is to renounce being a man, to surrender the rights of humanity and even its duties (1983 [1762], 170) • In his book The Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes describes 'war of each against all' so that life is 'nasty, burtish and short'. Also believed in the social contract • Durkheim --> pre-modern societies are of a type held together by 'mechanical solidarity' - tasks are simply structured, regulated and divided (woman, tribesmen, clans). • However, modern captialism produces society in which labour tasks are broken down into discrete components, become specialized and require many individuals to get the job done (pen in your hand) --> INTERDEPENDENCE - social "glue" that he calls 'organic solidarity' • Foucault believed that we are not born free and the concept of freedom in always changing. • Marx and Engles chanlenged the view that freedom is universal - "The human being animal which can individuate only in the midst of society" Marx -- means that each of us, with our different identities - from the clothes we wear to our self image - are creations of social context. Know the liberal view and Foucault view of freedom 1. What does Pavlich ask us to reflect on? 2. What are the two approaches to freedom that Pavlich identifies ? 3. What are the two approaches to power that Pavlich indentifies? 4. What is the liberal view of freedom and power? • Freedom is a basic and natural attribute of human beings; we are free by nature. As humans, we can make rational decisions on how to live our lives. • " I am born free" • Power is the oppoiste of freedom; power is restricting and constraining • Power is something someone has such as the state or the government of canada • You are free as long the power is kept in check 5. What is the Foucauldian view of freedom and power? Foucault believed that we are not born free and the concept of freedom in always changing. The phrase "I am free" is understood by a given historical context. Our idea of being free is shaped by our contemporary relations. Power is a relation, not something someone has. . Power is a productive force, it shapes who we are, our actions. Power is not constraining, instead it creates freedom --> prisoner treatment. Disciplinary power enables you to behave a different (mostly positive) way. Reading: Who Am I? How Can I Become? pg 34-47 • Our identities involve doing things that show our identity to others. • Identity is a performance in which we create ourselves. • Our identities are shaped through our social interactions for example social norms or conventions ( a good father is like this...., a good daughter is like this...) • “We explore how girls talk about their social presence at school, and we refer to their identity projects as ‘doing girlhood.’ [...]By acting within constraints that shape their daily existence, girls negotiate their identities while making decisions about how to interact with others. However, we distinguish between ‘agency’ as what girls say and do and ‘power’ as processes that make some ways of being sayable and doable, and others not” (p. 35) • Do some people have more agency than others in creating their identity? Are there different constraints on different genders? • Yes! Class differences • Does this agency to create one's identity have any social impact? Can creating an identity outside the norms create social change? • Pavlich- the question bolded is not as straight forward as you might think - it involves a lot of work, social interactions and constraints such as norms or conventions • article invites to ask questions on being a girl or even a boy Reading: Am I Woman? by Hird • Hird invites us to look at gender identities by looking at how in Canada we look at gender and sex • Sociologist look at notion of gender by look at the wage differences or different prison treatment • Hird looks into the category of woman --> does the category of woman or man belong to a universal reality that is based in nature? • Are words like male and female linked to us biologically or given meaning by society? • Argues sex and gender are socially constructed - built by the meaning of society • Essentialism - • Sex - genetic makeup (anatomical differences), these differences are natural and unchanging and with this notion, we can easily differentiate between genders biologically (no grey areas - either male or female) • Gender is the socially acceptable practices for either man or woman. Unlike sex, it is understood to be something that can be changed. • Sex shapes our gender which leads to our sexuality and create our identity. • Hird wants to question or ask: • maybe biolgoy is not sepearte from culture? Maybe biology is also socially constructed? • Maybe sex can be changed like gender can be? • Maybe biology is not distinguished between males and femals as consistantly as we many think • Sexually difference between bodies is socially created in the ways our bodies are put into categories. Bodies are made meaningful through their interpretation • Trans people can invite us to ask questions about gender and sex • Gender is a performance with just different actors who dance to the tunes of society How are emotions social? • Katz is inviting us to reflect on this question. According to the dictionary, emotions are conscious mental reactions such as anger or free that are directed at a specific object  directive towards something. Emotion is a feeling that you experience such love ,fear or anger. • Emotion is something we experience and feel as an individual/as subjectively • Our emotions are the true expression of our sense of ourselves. • Emotions or feeling are shaped by our social interactions What does it mean to approach emotions socially? • Cultural and social context of emotions – how is that some emotions such as crying at a funeral are tied? How are some emotions allowed or disallowed? The pressure to enjoy at a holiday  a social requirement • History of Emotions • Social Meaning of emotions - where does the meaning of love come from? How are we made to feel and how might we feel otherwise? What is the emotion reason divide? • Emotion are subjective feelings • Rules about where emotion should be  no bias or subjective opinion in a research • Reason involves thinking – using the mind to come to a decision or judgement logically (use your head, not your heart) • There is a hierarchy and emotions are at the bottom of the pyramid and reason on the top. This hierarchy was used to differentiate man and animal or man or women. Men were reasonable and women were emotional thus irrational. First nations were considered savages according to the Europeans • To be civilized person, you need to keep your emotions in check Emotional Labour and Feeling Rule Emotional labour (check glossary) Effective rules that define and govern appropriate and inappropriate in various circumstances Jobs: • Management of feelings – regardless of how you are feeling, you have to put on a smile (customer service) • Production of feelings – you have to feel happy in order to sell (salesmen) • Commodification of feelings - Emotions become part of what is being sold. Social Roles • Reality Television – the way emotion is used or exploited in the shows. The show sells itself based on these emotions • Mother – the social expectations of mother – nurturing, support, caring • Why are the stories of mother killing their children played so much on news? • Why is it that the mother falls in love with her child the minute it is born? Include examples – homophobia Know subject troubles Use the vocab in the article Reflect on? • the construction of mental illness • ways we decide what is mentally ill and what is not • how our understanding of mental illness today (popular imagination) is something that has been created socially through a set of practices and techniques. Word I associate with mental illness: sick, unstable, unhappy Medical model of mental illness: • how we understand mental illness in North America right now • approach that treats madness, mental distress, mental disorders as a disease (something in body that needs to be corrected) • connected to psychiatry, which then connected it to medicine • emphasis on biological and physiological factors • treatment will target this (ex: electro compulsive therapy) (medication) • people who suffer from mental distress and people who do not is differentiated by biological processes, not social factors • DSM: book that diagnoses mental disorders… grief was once separate from depression, now may be diagnosed as a mental disorder. Critiques of Medical Model • Form of moralizing (deciding what is normal and what is abnormal) - argues that by categorizing some behaviors as ill, as a disease, psychiatrists are making moral judgments of what is normal and appropriate behavior. Categories are created about who is normal and who is abnormal. Gives us distinction of what mental illness is. Categorizes deviants (people who stray from any set of norms that threaten the given community) medical model contributes to social construction of normality. • Fails to recognize social factors- • Perpetuates gender, class and racial stereotypes- some people are likely to be diagnosed - overrepresentation of women and colored people in the mental illness. This has to do with how certain stereotypes end up producing (ends up reproducing the stereotypes) • Women actin out of norm can be seen as a mental illness just because it is a deviation from the norm The notion of the hysterical women • Racial stereotypes - research in the US that shows as how racial minorities develop different reactions to racism. They develop fear which is considered abnormal and leads to mental illness • People who are consider mentally ill are deviating from the norms • Madness and race - colonial context - black community (mad and irrational) Mad movement • began in the 1980's to bring awareness to mental illness • counters the medical model
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