History-Common tradition of social phenomenon. Past societies saw themselves as given
by the Gods and that anything negative that occurred was because of human error.
Discovery of new worlds, medicine and science caused people to see the world as human
creating the laws and it wasn’t pre-destined. Realized we control our destiny.
Positivism-Seeks universal laws. Modeled after the natural sciences. Look to the logic of
explanation to predict environments.
-Requires a commitment to determinism (cause and effect relationships, able to predict
behaviour) and empiricism.
Levels of description-1) Abstract theory-identify the connection between variables.
2)Particular concepts-Study the relationships 3)Operational definitions- Define what your
concepts mean. 4) descriptions of sense impressions-learn how to interpret theory and
Criticisms-loses sight of the actors, no natural order, people question their environment so
hard numbers do not work.
Limitations-Look at trends of people because we cannot predict human behaviour
accurately. Can be researcher bias, can rarely be value free. Social patterns change
Empiricism-objectivity is a goal. Refers to an attempt to explain social phenomenon, search
for regularities and the search for causal relationships. Nothing is absolute.
Criticisms-Feminists and environmentalists; idea of malestream that it was male positivists
so they only used male samples and generalized it to women too.
Defences-some feminists were also empiricists and we need to move back to searching for
cause and effect relationships to explain social things instead of using hard numbers.
Interpretive Theory-Idea there is no definite law so sociological variable are defined by
means of human language, human action is meaningful. Looks at how people interact and
what people do in response; how people define/shape their reality
Verstehen-Technique aimed at understanding culture. Tool for learning the
culture/language of a society.
Criticisms-Move from quantitative to qualitative. Ignores large-scale social structures and
focuses more on an individual level.
Practical Applications-Social networking and how people now interact without actually
being face to face and how this can cause lots of issues with miscommunication and
depression from lack of interaction but it can be freeing and liberating too.
Critical Theory-Focuses on the need for social change, moral and political, not to study
the world but to change it, examining social injustices. Try to break class distinctions.
-Seeks to change the research method itself by having people participate in the research
question process as well as just observing them. Macro-perspective
-Understand social construction of reality, we are not always aware of the rules of our
society, analyses how particular ideas help sustain authority that is repressive or unjust.
Criticisms-Too political and gives up any claim of objectivity because it looks more to
subjectivity and activists. E.g. creation of WWW allows powerful to exploit the less
powerful for greater resources. Technology can free or enslave us.
Conflict Tradition-Derived from Marx and Weber who are usually saw as opposites. -Focuses on the disharmonious component of society such as social class, ethnicity, gender,
etc. From this they developed theories of capitalism, social stratification and political
Feminism-2 waves; 30’s and 40’s was for the right to vote, 60’s and 70’s was the sexual
revolution. Micro level-interactions between men and women, macro level-social
constraints within institutional realms.
-Feminism came about along with rights for other groups (e.g. black people)
Consciousness awareness groups-emphasized participation not revolution. Emphasize that
women must go through certain events in life and highlights similarities women go through
such as childbirth, sexual abuse, birth control etc. Just want everyone to participate.
Structural Functionalism-Sees society as a complex system whose parts work together to
promote solidarity and stability. Harmonious-works together for a successful society.
Symbolic Interactionism-everyday interactions of individuals, narrow micro-level
approach. Use of signs and symbols. Looks at the meaning of interactions and how people
Historical Background of Hobbes
Technology-New technologies changed the era completely. The magnetic compass
permitted European exploration, gunpowder contributed to the demise of the old feudal
order, mechanical clock provided a new model of time instead of using the sun which
changed the model of society. Printing press, and the rise in literacy, allowed revolutionary
news to travel and for people to read what philosophers thought.
-New discoveries made everyone feel superior and made science seem more appealing than
Relate to today-They were saw as having no personal freedom and just saw as products of
the government etc. Seems to be the same in our modern world, but, new products helped
people make decisions. Now we ignore everything unless it negatively effects us.
Protestant Reformation-15 -16 century the centre of the universe is no longer Europe.
Give people a sense of relativism. Martin Luther King condemned abuse of the church and
sparked a popular revolt. Faith in God’s redeeming power and focused on the individual’s
relationship with God.
Baroque Period-Baroque architecture was more elaborate with ornate scrolls and baroque
music was more flamboyant. Artists flocked to Rome and many pieces express spirit of the
counterrevolution. Catholicism survived the beginning of Protestantism and is now gaining
more followers again. New style reflected the optimism of the church.
-Fascinated with light/dark, time and space, movement and really looked at things in a new
Caravaggio-Science is more prevalent in his paintings so you can see the exploration of
light and dark better. Painted straight onto the canvas and painted realistically and used
actual models. He tried to depict regular people in religious settings to show that the
counterreformation faith is an inward experience open to all. Appeals to both protestants
and Catholics, convinces us we are a part of religion.
Monarchs 17 C Europe-Power was challenged by social and economic changes and they
sought to present themselves as heirs to the Roman Emperors. Commissioned artists to
paint them in scenes of power to keep their subjects in control. Said their paintings should
show their wealth, dignity and divine right; architecture did this well and on rearing horses. Hobbes-Wrote the Leviathan.
-Believed that the natural man is warlike and we need a ruler to control our evil nature and
stop us from killing each other. Power is a mans present means to obtain a future good.
Social man is peaceful.
-Man desires things they cannot have, leads to enemies and then to war over things that 2
people want and both cannot have. War isn’t just the act of fighting but of will, live without
society, humanity and thus live in fear.
-So we agree to form a social contract which keeps us safe from each other. We give up
some liberties and give in to a ruler which is supposed to protect us from war.
-Natural passions lead us to be greedy and selfish but the collective fear of the sovereign
state is better than the warlike state.
-The desire to fight is limited by society, social contract and sovereign power.
Rousseau-Opposite to Hobbes and he believed that in the natural state a man is isolated
and war arises only when needs are not met. Natural man is peaceful and we become
warlike when we become social because of greed over men, resources etc unmet needs or
desires. Social man is warlike.
-Social inequality, cultivation of plants, domestication of animals causes great strain and
eventually causes war. This comes from society because natural man is indifferent.
-Government is developed to protect the property of the rich for the first time man learns to
attack another. The social contract is that all must submit to the general will of the
majority. Rich and the poor need each other but really it is the rich taking advantage of
another man which didn’t happen originally because man was equal.
-If man submits himself to the general will, he keeps his own will, but is protected by
society. This is democracy but if this doesn’t work they may need to move to an aristocracy
which is basically in between a monarch and democracy. However, with democracy even
though it is a general will a few people need to represent everyone which gives room for
-Try to make man perfect but the perfectibility of man depends on clear laws of nature,
society and submit to the laws completely. The interpretation of these laws causes conflict
and a warlike state over how they are interpreted.
-“Man is born free but everywhere he is in chains”
-Natural man is a hypothetical state because man has never been in complete isolation and
this can never be tested.
The Scientific Revolution-All thoughts and sensations are produced mechanically by the
sense and the brain. Begin to look at science. Early scientists did not think a strong ruler
was the solution to our problems but that a scientific and rational mind would fix it.
-We cannot always trust our senses because what we perceive is not necessarily true so we
fight because we perceive things differently.
-Brain, body and universe are idea of