SOAN 2111 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Nomothetic, Georg Simmel, Social Stratification

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SOAN 2111/2112
THEORETICAL APPROACHES AND FRAMEWORKS
I INTRODUCTION
II THE VALUE OF THEORY: CONTEMPORARY RELEVANCE OF OLD THEORIES
III NATURE AND TYPES OF SOCIOLOGICAL THEORY: POSITIVISM, INTERPRETIVE, CRITICAL
IV EXPANSION ON THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS: KEY CONCEPTS AND TERMINOLOGY
Art inhabits the same past as business, religion or politics
I INTRODUCTION
theoretical concepts have a role in
shaping the direction of research
directing observation
guiding description
Sociology
LOGY study a high level
SOCIO points to society
Comte (1839)
Social Philosophy
History
recurring patterns observable in human interdependence
sociology is about what is happening today but also is historical (a sequel
of events)
historically, sociological classical theory written between the time of the great French
Revolution 1789-1799 and WWI (1919)
II THE VALUE OF THEORY: THE CONTEMPORARY RELEVANCE OF OLD THEORY
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theories are explanations models
social theories suggest causes
theories are road maps (Hurst)
different sociological perspectives see problems in unique ways
The “oiologial Iagiatio – social science should aim at helping people understand their
priate troules i ters of puli issues C. Wright Mills, earl to id 9s
Mills argues adequate social science should have practical importance for the average
citizen
What could be so practical about looking at these older theorists?
. 1) all living in societies undergoing wide ranging social changes
. 2) each concerned with the character and direction of modern society
e.g. division of labour, bureaucracy3) all were involved in the societies of their time
Marx newspaperWeber political activities Durkhiem socially involved Simmel love,
conflict, lifeHarriet Martineau oes issues
The Women Founders of the Social Sciences by Lynn McDonald (1996) Women:
III
THE NATURE AND TYPES OF SOCIOLOGICAL THOUGHT: POSITIVISM, INTERPRETIVE, CRITICAL
• • • •
did ot hae the istitutios e hae had to support eah others ork eluded fro
universitiesno schools to promote their workfew biographies
Positivism is nomothetic it seeks generalizable, universally applicable laws
prediction and control
logic of explanation ability to predict environments
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Interpretive Theory study of society that focuses on the meanings people attach to their
social worlds (hermeneutical theorists)
human communication
symbols are learned
relies on qualitative data
Critical Theory focus on the need for social changethe concept of authority and power
relations and power dynamics between individuals in society
Practical Application of Positivism and Critical Approach
• •
positivist uses scientific method to study factory labourers critical theorist looks at conditions of
labour is it just?
IV
EXPANSION ON THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS: KEY CONCEPTS AND TERMINOLOGY
Positivismrequires a commitment to
1) determinism
2) empiricism
determinism cause-effect relations
empiricism (empeiria Greek for experience) empirical knowledge about the external world
is grounded in what we learn from our
sense perceptions
still, the meaning of such info has to be interpreted
empericism refers to the attempt at explanation of social phenomena, the search for
regularities and, as much as possible, the search for
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