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SOC101 - Classical, Feminist and Race Theories
SOC101 - Classical, Feminist and Race Theories

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University of Waterloo
SOC 101
Sara Cumming

SOC 101 Monday September 24 , 2012 Classical Social Theories Functionalism Symbolic Interaction Conflict What is theory. - simply an explanation of something we see happening in the world. It is a social phenomenon. - theory usually begins with a what (description) which is later followed by a why and how (the explanation.) - common sense: every day theorizing. - opinions, received wisdom. - it’s not good as it is inconsistent and incoherent. Formal theory: systematic and coherent explaination based on rigorous scientific research (social observations) Wat is theory? Every phenomenon needs explaination, we are constantly questioning and critiquing. Nothing is self evident. We systematically search for the actual causes of phenomenon. A huge body of sociological theory dating from the 19 century ex. Why do women only make 78% of what men earn? until we do actual research, we keep finding the same answers Learning Formal Theory Comprised of different social thought. Different schools of thought: ex; Marxism, Feminism, Functionalism Each has a set of common premises, beliefs and ractices Each addresses key sociological questions Learn the key premises of each school Is society characterized by social order, or social conflict? Social order – the battle against chaos. Functionalism: Society regulates peoples’ self interest. It is a regulator that prevents us from acting in self-serving ways. Socialized selves hide self serving beasts We must restrain this beast (via, values and morals) in order to function without being a self serving beast. We each have a role in society, we must maintain these roles in order to attain harmony. Lord of the flies is an example of what happens when functionalism goes awry. We must have social regulation, and consequences for when we go against the moral code. How is this achieved? From a functionalist perspective we abide by police and laws – but more importantly, we all share common values and norms. Therefore, we are our own police. Critics point out that we live in a stratified society. Some people make much money, others make very little. So, how can we share values with people when we are not living equally? Functionalists argue that people will abide by these lower roles, as long as there is some sort of social reward. As a result social stratification is necessary. FUNCTIONAL THEORISTS Herbert Spencer “survival of the fittest” he believes that competition increases along side population. Only the fit succeed. We must let nature take its course. We should do nothing and just “let it happen”. Emile Durkheim French sociologist. Founder of functionalism. How social order is maintained in different societies. The different ways in which people live determines different types of solidarity/cohesiveness. ie. Traditional Societies small, simple and non-industrial. Mechanical solidarity. Theyre held together because everyone is similar. Most people do the same jobs, they work for survival. There is a strong sense of shared norms and behaviours is regulated without outside forces. Modern Societies complex and industrial. Organic solidarity. Complex division of labour, we cannot survive without others. This society is based on complimentary differences stronger than mechanical solidarity. People who don’t follow rules need to be disciplined. If not everyone follows the rules, EVERYONE suffers. We totally depend on one another and the roles they play. Social Conflict: Challenging Inequities Question social order model. Ignores complexity of social relations, why we seldom use functionalism. Norms for behavior exist, but they are not often shared. Ie, nuclear families are no longer expected. Functionalists completely ignore the idea of power. Were not all zombies. Norms are only good for specific people. Society is organized by inequalities that produce conflict between social groups. The powerful have privileges and resources. They believe we are all social actors with the power to change the world. Ie, we form unions, challenge racism, form movements against violence, etc. Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) Most influential social thinker of the 19 century. After he died his ideas about politics and economy were taken seriously. In conditions of the working class argued that they were being oppressed by the rich. Marx argued that we were able to fight back, but were often manipulated against doing so. German. Capitalism was a mode of production (a way of producing the things we need to survive.) Capitalism was unequal as there is a class hierarchy. At the top were the capitalists/bourgeoisie – the people who owned the factories and machine owners. The proletariats worked for capitalists for a wage. Proletariats: Compete for jobs Earn wages Outnumber capitalists alienated by their own labour, they spend all day making products for only a fraction of its value. workers are exploited – they don’t earn what they produce. Which makes labourers feel discontent and unsatisfied. Profit goes to the owner, not those who actually make the product. (surplus value) Symbolic Interactionism (SI) How people attach themselves to things Highlights the important ways in which meanings are constructed. (ex. Mouth to mouth kissing and the meanings we associate with it.) Max Veber: Verstehen: a deep understanding and interpretation of subjective social meanings. (the ability to put our self in someone else’s shoes.) Geroge Herbert Mead – meanings are only ever formed through face to face contacts our self emerges through these. There’s different parts to our self I: unsocialized self. Spontaneous creative and impulsive. Me: Judgemental, reflective and controls us by miorring the values of society. Significant Others: Those around us who we want approval from. We modify our behavior to be worthy of approval. Monday, October 1 , 2012 **text includes everything from the first few chapeters. ** best way to study is to make a chart for all the theories. (ie. We should know mead, bloomer, cooley, including the ones in the textbook.) Modern Social Theory: Should not be thought of as completely separate entities from the classical theories. They all have the same theme though, and that theme is power. They are all more complicated and several theorists use different paradimes. Modern Social Theories Western Marxism Feminist Theories Post Structuralism Antonio Gramsci -diverged from Marx in his analysis of how the ruling call ruled. Marx believed that the proletariats would join together to over throw the bourgeoisie. Antonio Gramsci builds on this and believes in Domination and Hegemoony. Gramsci accepted this struggle between ruling and working classes. Marx believed the ruling class dominated throught both force and coertion. They ruled through the strong arm of the state, ie, military, police. According to Gramsci we also need to understand how the ruling class used hemegony – ideological control and manipulation AND domination. When we do not do as told there is a punishment. Society’s dominant ideas reflect the ruling class’ ideas. He argues that it also requires consent. No matter how powerful a government, they cannot control us without consent. The only way for a government to have longevity and control is when there is an alligence of the masses. We have tons of hegemonic notions in Canada/around the world. Ie, Hegenic heterosexuality – we just assume everyone is heterosexual, unless they “come out”. We read fairy tales and assume hetero is the only way to be. It has become a taken-for-granted assumption. For example, Will & Grace – a show that featured two gay men in regular television, however it still established hegemonic heterosexuality, as Will lived with a women and acted like a hetero, whereas Jack, the homosexual, was constantly made fun of. Meanwhile, Ellen is disrupting this homosexual hegemity. There are multiple strands of feminism, they search as to why women are oppressed in the nature of the gender itself as well as what needs to happen in order to make us equal. Disadvantage is a direct result of gender. They argue men and women should be equal, yet we still see inequality in many realms. Men ultimately have more social power than women. Strands we are dealing with today are: Liberal feminists: emphasize the activities and segmnts of societies from which women have historically been excluded. (education, the workplace, politics) Radical Fenimism: the feminists most people know about. Bra-burning. Tend to view society as dominated and solely structured by male power. They tend to seek to transform institutions and practices as the dominations of one sex over another. Critical of church, and the traditional family, they often oppose marriage and look at things like pornography and sex trade – they view these as oppressive since women are forced into it. Marxist/Socialist feminism. Derived from confli
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