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Modern Social Theories and Research, Methodology and Ethics Lectures

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SOC 101
Barry Mc Clinchey

Chapter 3 Modern Social Theory WhatAre Modern Social Theories? • Should not be thought of as completely separate from classical theories – many are variations of the classical theories – looking at education systems and justice systems, which are not doing what we thought they would be doing. but.... how do we fix it?? • Draw on each other’s work in their formulations – bring influences from classical theorists – people with power: can make decisions that affect the population and our day to day lives • Theme of power runs through modern theories – Western Marxism – Feminist Theories – Post-Structuralism – Queer Theory – Post-Colonial Theory – Anti-Racist Theory Western Marxism • Antonio Gramsci – Diverged from Marx in his analysis of how the ruling class ruled • Domination; physical and violent coercion – in order to control behaviour • Hegemony; ideological control and manipulation – Society’s dominant ideas reflect the interests of the ruling class • the way our society works is perfectly sensible • people think that that is just the way it is-- the way things should and do work – involves consent – way of controlling us. sets ideals • Superstructure divided into the state and civil society – Prevailing consciousness internalized by population and becomes common sense 1. Gramsci’s Concept of Hegemony • Hegemony is a process that is constantly negotiated and renegotiated • Active consent • Hegemony is used as a way to explain how particular features of social organization come to be taken for granted and treated as common sense – the things we do that don’t make sense... but we accept them – 2. Feminist Theories • Feminists differ in their explanation of women’s oppression and the nature of gender and in their ideas about women’s emancipation – focus on the solutions!!! which a lot of theories aren’t interested in • Core concern for gender oppression • Women and men should be equals • men have social power and thus an interest in maintaining their social privilege over women • Dorothy Smith – a Second Wave feminist • bell hooks – a Third Wave feminist Dorothy Smith • Sociology for women – we can’t study women by using the same research tools that men use. they are created for men to study men. we need something new! • Her book: The Everyday World as Problematic – begins in the ‘actualities’of people’s lives, and addresses problems of how we are influenced by “extra-local” relations, ie. relations with the local schools – “Actual” : where people live and were their reality is constituted through discourse – Discourse: social organized activity among people – Everyday world contains different experiences and thus sees it as the starting point of inquiry – Standpoint Theory: preserves the presence of the subject as an active and experiencing person • taking you where you are and telling it to me • Ruling Relations – socially organized practices of individuals – people actively constitute social relations • i’m more powerful than you, you’re less powerful than me • Complex Relations/ Multiple Sites – The social is the sum of complex relationships among people in multiple sites • we take on different relationships and roles.... – Same set of social relations that produces men’s privilege also produces women’s oppression • no matter how or where they form or evolve, we see a similar set of relations that produce men’s privilege and we see the emergence of women’s oppression • Differs from that of macrosociology bell hooks • Black feminist thought • Rarely recognized black women as separate from back men • Criticized feminist theorizing that automatically positions households as places of patriarchal oppression for women • hooks argues against ......... 3. Foucault’s Post-Structuralism • Concerned with how knowledge is socially produced – how does power happen? through knowledge. Knowledge is Power. – the connection between Power, Knowledge and Discourse • Power created within social relationships, multidimensional, found everywhere and always at work – ie, teacher/student. doctor/patient • Knowledge can never be separated from relations of power • Discourses guide how we think, act and speak – Tell us how the world is and ought to be – *looks at truth, methodology... arrive at an understanding about how things work • Jeremy Bentham: – how to maximize control over prisoners? build a building where you can see everything inside from a few locations, prisoners don’t know when they are being watched or not: The Panopticon (structure) • Foucault: – Discipline is how we come to be motivated to produce particular realities – Power operates by producing some behaviours while discouraging others – Discipline (form of power) works through surveillance – Surveillance: acts of observing, recording and training – Normalization: a social process by which some practices and ways of living are deemed normals and others abnormal 4. Queer Theory • Problematizes the standard of equality based on sameness – the problem of that is, the standard of equality we should be looking at is people NOT being the same a
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