Sociology Lecture 1
What is Sociology?
Sociology is the systematic study of human groups and their interactions.
The sociological perspective is referring to the unique way in which sociologists see
our world and can dissect the dynamic relationships between individuals and the
larger social network in which we all live.
Charles Wright Mills
The sociological imagination
- Developing an appreciation of how an individual’s challenges are influenced
by a larger social force
Personal Troubles result from an individual’s challenges that they shape us
Social Issues also shape us and they are caused by larger social factors, they change
our social world
The ‘trick’ with our sociological imagination is to understand how all of these things
actually work and how these personal troubles may be due to larger social issues,
how does religion affect us, etc.
Quality of mind is referring to how one’s ability to look beyond personal
circumstance and into social context
Seeing the general in the particular is the ability to look at the seemingly unique or
ordinary events, and recognizing the larger general features of the actions.
Think about what is familiar and see it as strange, so you can analyze them better,
ask why, what’s going on.
What Makes You, You?
Agency is the idea that each of us has, to some extent and the ability to alter our
socially constructed lives, taking action to modify the structure around you that are
influencing your life.
Structure is the network of relatively stable opportunities and constraints
influencing our individual behaviors, giving you some guidance and focus, what
behaviors are acceptable.
Can you see, in your own life thus far that agency and structure have played a role in
who you are, and which one is more influential and why?
Engaging Your Sociological Imagination
Our perception of others and ourselves are the products of many factors such as:
- Minority Status, ethnic
- Gender, female wanting to be a quarterback
- Socioeconomic Status, working class or middle class
- Family Structure
- Urban-Rural Differences
How have factors like these affected the person you are today? Sociology Lecture 1
Qualitative vs. Qualitative Sociology
- Tends to be positivist in nature, arguing that if you develop the
understanding of a problem in society, you are able to understand variables,
and there will be an answer, that there is a truth out there
- Measurable Behavior
- Example: Crime Rates Over Time
- Anti-positivist in nature, believing that society can be understood, and you
can’t reduce what people do to numbers
- Non-measurable subjective behaviors