SOCI 100 Lecture Notes - Social Contract, Social Forces, Health Care Reform In The United States

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27 Sep 2011

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Week 2, Lecture 1
Sept. 15/09
Sociology Introduction
sociology: study of the obvious; uncovering of inconvenient facts e.g. Family,
education work, etc.
Things we donʼt want to/would rather not know
Controlled variables
Social contract we live under: if we do certain things, will have good quality of life
compared to our parentsʼ. But image of wealth we currently have = product of
consumer society. Problems e.g. credit card debt (inconvenient fact)
Difference between opinion and “informed opinion”
We are products of our society/environment to a large extent
These days, no longer value knowledge - value information
there are regular and observable patterns in human social life
When looking at groups in society and see stable patterns of behaviour - can say
they are various things.
E.g. If youʼre attending Canadian university, classmates come from families in
upper-half of income ladder.
E.g. If you attend a community college, classmates probably come from more
modest means
E.g. 90% of people marry (half by time theyʼre 30). 50% will divorce. Of those 50%,
2/3 get remarried
E.g. With a bachelorʼs degree, earn 25% more than if you have college diploma,
with master/s doctorate - will increase by another 38%, and 44%
E.g. Once you have children, you/your spouse will likely choose to be surgically
sterilized to prevent further childbirths
E.g. If you are a woman in the workforce, you can expect to make at least 25% less
than male counterpart for the same work
When talking about stable patterns of behaviour, sociologists use term social
structure - refers to patterns of behaviour, institutions we have built to live our lives
Sociologists say that to be a man/woman is a social structure. Construction.
Nothing natural about gender roles. We create the roles that we want our
people to play in our society.
+ Sociology Wants to Understand:
1. How these patterns/social forces come into existence
Society is not natural
We assume society is natural life - everything was here when we were born e.g.
Schools, jobs.
2. What effects (+ve/-ve) these patterns have on our lives
Education as social structure/force is best institutions weʼve created. The more
educated a society it is, the more productive/tolerant it is
3. How these social structures can be changed to improve the lives of citizens
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