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FRIDAY JANUARY 18 soan.docx

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University of Guelph
Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2120
Scott Schau

FRIDAY JANUARY 18 Common Units of Analysis  Individuals o Often characterized in terms of membership to social groupings o E.g., race, class, gender, etc o Most common unit of analysis  Groups  Can be units of analysis when we study the characteristics that belong to a group  We can often derive the characteristics of social groups from those of their individual members o E.g., black couples, rich families  Organizations (mainly a type of group) o E.g., corporations, church congregations, universities, etc… Common Unit of Analysis  Social Artifacts o Products of social beings and their interactions o Can range from concrete objects (books, buildings) to social interactions (weddings, friendships, riots, highjacking) Identify Units of Analysis  Trick to identifying the unit of anaylsis: look at what/whom the attributes of the variable refer to o Is it an individual, group, social artifact o Examples  Single/ married men  Developed/ developing countries  Canadian/ US newspapers Individualistic Fallacy  Attributing something to a group based on the observed behaviour or characteristic of individuals  Example: o Estimating the percentage of individuals in a country who favour democratic government and taking this as an indicator of the degree that the political system in that country is democratic Ecological Fallacy  Assumption that something learned about the ecological unit says something about the individuals making up the unit o “Ecological” : something larger than individuals (e.g., groups, sets, systems)  Despite this risk, social scientists often must address research questions with ecological analysis o Appropriate data may not be available (expensive to collect) Fallacies Example #1 th Emile Durkheim found that in 19 C Europe, suicide rates were
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