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Defining Sociology.docx

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SOC 1100
Linda Gerber

Defining Sociology - “The systematic study of human society” - Looking at individual behaviour in a social context - Recognizing and understanding patterned behaviour - Understanding social order/ structure - Understanding social change Seeing the general in the particular - Hand- holding - Individual behaviour represents that of categories of people (e.g. men/women) - Social contexts- different effects on different categories of people, rather than on individuals - Canadian Airborne Regiment (p.2-3) Seeing the strange in the familiar - Giving up the notion of individual decision- making - Seeing the guiding hand of society in our thoughts and deeds - Recognizing the “determinism” constraining our “free will” Suicide: Individual behaviour in a social context - Rates are remarkably stable over time - Durkheim looked at suicide rates among different categories of people (High- affluent, Protestant, single) (Low- poor, Catholic, married) - Level of social integration/ isolation - Rates increase during rapid social change (Aboriginal communities have higher suicide rates, extreme rapid changes) (Change in individual status/social mobility) Canadian Sociology - Differs from American or European sociology - Early French- Canadian (i.e. Catholic) influences - Reflects Canadian economy, which depends on natural resources (extraction and export)_ fur, lumber, fish, oil, uranium - Second largest country in the world so nation- building difficult: communications, communication technologies, and the media important areas - Canada is a county rooted in immigration: thus ethnicity, intergroup relations, stratification and social class became important areas of sociology research Women Founders of the Social Sciences - Women have been “written out” of history or ignored: their early contributions to politics, literature, the arts, and science (including scientific sociology were unrecognized) - The box on page 17 deals with the many women who have contributed to social science (theory and methods) since the mid- 1500s - Sociologists (including feminists) still fail to recognize the work of these women Thinking sociologically requires sociological theory What is theory? - “A statement of how and why specific facts are related” - A framework for understanding cause and effect
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