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Sociology Lecture 2.docx

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SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

Sociology Lecture 2 Functionalism: - The social world is a dynamic system of interrelated and interdependent parts, society has many parts, and institutions such as justice system, religious, healthcare, the government, it all works the way we made it to work, they work together to make society work, so that humans can live in a society that makes sense and is predictable o Social structures that are made, such as government, healthcare, they have been made so that our lives are easier, can fulfill our needs and desires, therefore, society functions the way that we assume it does o Human society is basically like an organism, when it fails to work together then the system will fail, o Society must meet the needs of the majority, and all the institutions are created to work in the collective best interest o Dominant theoretical paradigm between the late 1920’s and early 1960’s, and functionalism led us to other thinking Functionalist Theorists Herbert Spencer - ‘Survival of the fittest’ justifies why only the strongest should survive - Societies evolve because they need to change in order to survive - Environmental pressures allow beneficial traits to be passed on to future generations, solving problems together - ‘Social Darwinism’ draws upon Darwin’s idea of natural selection, which basically asserts that societies change over time the same way other creatures do - ‘Laissez-faire approach’ where the theorists are arguing that if you don’t interfere, then everything will work out properly, they disapprove of regulating natural processes Emile Durkheim* (first sociologist) - Founder of modern sociology - Human actions originate in the collective rather in the individual, we need society, we need institutions that we create together - Our behavior is driven and controlled by a collective conscience, the ‘rules’ of society - ‘Social facts’ are general social features that exist on their own and are independent of individual manifestation, seeing some elements of positivism - ‘Anomie’ is a state of normlessness that results from a clear lack of goals and creates feelings of confusion that may ultimately resulting in higher suicide rates, when you feel disconnected with society, or your community - ‘Mechanic Solidarity’ describes early societies based on similarities and independence - ‘Organic Solidarity’ describes later societies organized around interdependence and the increasing division of labor, people start becoming dependent on every one else, on the other parts of society Sociology Lecture 2 Talcott Parsons - Interested in explaining why people do what they do - ‘Social Action Theory’ is a framework which attempts to separate behaviors from actions to explain why people do what they do - Asked WHY people do what they do, very important Robert Merton - Social structures have many different functions - ‘Manifest Functions’ are the intended consequences of an action or social pattern - ‘Latent Functions’ are the unintended consequences of an action or social pattern Criticisms of Functionalist Approaches - Inability to account for social change - Overemphasis on the extent to which harmony and stability actually exist in society Conflict Theory - Society is grounded upon inequality and competition - Power is the core of all social relationships; scarce and unequally divided among members of society - Social values and the dominant ideology are the vehicles by which the powerful promote their own interests at the expense of the weak, therefore what you believe to be real is not your own idea - Rooted in the writings of Machiavelli, Hobbes and Rousseau Karl Marx - Dialectics: a way of seeing history and society as the result of oppositions, contradictions and tensions from which social change can emerge - Idealism: Human mind and consciousness are more important in understanding the human conditional than is the material world - Human consciousness and human interaction with the material world could change society - Relations of pro
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