SOC101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: George Herbert Mead, Herbert Blumer, Erving Goffman

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SOC 101 – Week One Notes
Sociological imagination (C. Wright Mills):
-An intersection of structure, history, and biography
-Encourages the development of a relationship between individual and
society
oWe must put on a lens as if we are an outsider
Post Secret:
-Started by Frank Warren in 2004
-Invited people to send postcards containing a secret from the person sending
it
-Lesson learnt: Personal troubles reflect public issues
oEx. student loans  inequalities in regards to education access;
unemployment  economic downfall
-However, the suffering of individual has become personalized  development
of stereotypes, personality block
Sociological Theory:
-A set of statements that seek to explain or predict problems, events,
behaviour (within a social context)
-circumstances within the larger context in which they occur (= SOLUTION)
-2 major branches of perspectives:
oMacro theoretical perspectives - structural functionalism and
conflict theory
oMicro theoretical perspectives - Symbolic interactionism,
feminist, postmodern theory (pertain more to individual)
-Personal troubles = micro
-Public issues = macro (ex. unemployment and welfare)
-We want to develop the right quality of mind so we can see our own
Macro theoretical perspectives:
-Structural Functionalism:
oFunctionalist Perspective - emphasizes that parts of a society are
structured to maintain its stability
oConsensus with shared values, norms, beliefs, e.t.c.
oConsensus maintains, change disrupts
oTheorists:
Emile Durkheim (1858-1917):
Social facts are collective norms, rules and practices
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that are imposed upon, and internalized by, the
individual, thereby constraining their behaviour
Argued that crime is beneficial in society because
without it we would not have as strongly enforced
norms and rules
Robert Merton (1910-2003):
Manifest function - intended and easily recognized (ex.
go to uni to educate you and develop jobs skills that you
can use)
Latent function - unconscious, unintended and
unrecognized; can sometimes reflect a hidden agenda or
purpose (ex. uni could be to party)
Latent dysfunctions - unintended and produce socially
negative consequences (ex. expensive uni education —>
student loans)
-Conflict Theory:
oTension between the haves and the have nots
oThe idea that social consensus is limited; regardless of society, conflict
exists
oBased on the “4 C’s
Conflict - exists in all large societies
Class - exists in all societies
Contestation - functions can be contested by asking, “Who does
this function best serve?”
Change - society either will or should be changed
oTheorist:
Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Conflict between Bourgeoise (own the means of
production), Proletariat (workers)
oIn capitalist society, workers often cannot afford
the things that they make
oDifference = surplus capital (Alienation)
oEx. expensive education = issue of inequality of education access and
conflict sociologists would try to come up with ways to address it
Micro theoretical perspectives
-Symbolic Interactionism:
oLooks at the meaning (the symbolic part) of the daily social
interaction of inidivduals
Ex. “Sup, yo?” *fist bump*
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