Exploring Sociology Chapter 3 Notes all content covered in chapter 3 of the textbook

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
School
Bishop's University
Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 101
Professor
Modern Social Theories
Modern social theories are not completely separate and different from the classical ones. They do
not being anew and the theorists continue to draw upon each other‟s work.
Western Marxism
Karl Marx believed that over time, the proletariat would develop a common class consciousness
and revolt against the bourgeoisie. Western Marxism on the other hand, refers to more
independent and critical forms of Marxism. The term was first used by the Soviet communist
regime to refer to varied forms of Marxism that emerged after the 1920s in a rapidly changing
Western Europe. Theorists include: Gyorgy Lukacs, Antonio Gramsci, Theodor Adorno, Max
Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse and Louis Althusser.
Gramsci’s Concept of Hegemony
o Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) help found the Communist Party in Italy in 1921, later
imprisoned by Mussolini because of his opposition to fascism continued to think and
write while his sister smuggled his notebooks out of prison
o Gramsci agreed with Marx in that the ruling class dominated the subordinate working
class (struggle) through both force and coercion (police and military) but he included a
consideration for the ruling class‟ subtle yet insidious ideological control and
manipulation
o Gramsci states there are two forms of political control
o Domination: direct physical and violent coercion exerted by the police and the
military to maintain social boundaries and enforce social rules
o Hegemony: domination through ideological control and consent
society‟s dominant ideas reflect the interests of the ruling class and help
mask social inequalities
o authoritarian regime needs consent (not just power and armed force) to enjoy longevity
and stability rule hegemony of dominant group‟s ideas and cultural forms brings this
consent of the subordinate class
o Gramsci separated the economic base of society determining shape of social relations
(superstructure) into:
o State: (coercive institutions such as police, military, government, and system of
laws)
o Civil society: (schools, media, religion, trade unions and cultural associations)
Establishes hegemony through philosophy, culture and morality that
internalizes by population and appears as common sense
Example: in a capitalism, people think those who are unemployed are lazy,
unproductive and without motivation while those who work hard are
rewarded with financial success (common sense)
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o Consent is active, in order to secure it, the ruling class constantly incorporates elements
of the subordinate class‟ culture so they don‟t feel oppressed by the ruling class culture
o “Will and Grace” did not challenge heterosexual hegemony because it did not present
Will‟s „gay‟ side (he lived with a woman and never seen kissing a guy) and people
laughed at Jack who was a stereotypical gay
Feminist Theories
There are many strands to feminist theory. All approach from a women‟s oppressions view. They
look to be equal in society with men.
Dorothy Smith
o Smith‟s approach surrounded an objective that man and women would be equal and the
social world can be explored and displayed through relations, powers and forces that
organize and shape it
o Smith is critical of classical sociological for being androcentric male centered)
o Strategy of inquiry as “the everyday world as problematic”
o Beings in actualities of people‟s lives and address problems influenced by social
relations that are extra-local social relations
Extra-local social relations: relations that extend beyond the local,
immediate setting
o Actual is where people live and where their reality is constituted through discourse
(socially organized activity among people)
o To begin within the frame of self discipline to minimize the hegemony of people in their
social worlds
o The everyday/every night world is organized by social relations that are neither entirely
apparent nor necessarily contained within it
o Wants to preserve the presence of the individual experiencing person, and treat the world
as being “out there” as an object to be discovered a research that preserves but not
erase the presence of real individual people who have different experiences (unique and
not just agreeing to what all of society is agreeing to)
o Ruling relations
o Rule indicates: socially-organized exercise of power that shapes people‟s actions
and their lives
o Ruling relations: abstract, conceptual and extra-locally organized relations of
state, professions, corporations, academic discourses, mass media and etc.
o Experience is a starting point and we interested in knowing conditions which these
experiences arise
o I.e., students‟ academic life is shaped by school and one‟s typical or preferred activities
are created under conditions set out already we need to know what we cannot see from
where we are located
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o Complex relations, multiple sites
o The world is a sum of complex relationships among people in multiple sites (by
looking at the social at any one point, we can see something different)
o One could start at any pint and arrive at the same who (men‟s privileges also
produces women‟s oppressions)
o A metaphor of a map directs us to a form of knowledge of the social that shows
relations between various and differentiated local sites of experience without
subsuming or displacing them microsociology
o Goal is to locate people‟s actual experience, that preserves their subjectness and
show the bigger picture constructed around them
Bell Hooks
o Bell hooks is in fact a pen name, and hooks uses lower case letters to emphasize her ideas
rather than herself as an author
o Critical figure in black feminist thought, also called anti-racist feminism and
multicultural feminism
o Female vs. male and white vs. black are not separate issues
o Black women are discriminated twice, as when people talk about black people they talk
about black men while, when people talk about women they focus on white women
hooks‟ focus is the liberation of all people
o Hooks argues against universal patriarchal oppression for women, rather she points to
historical reality that households have been spaces of refuge, resistance and solidarity
from racism and institutionalized racism of the labour force
Post- Structuralism
Post-structuralists are concerned with how knowledge is socially produced. They influenced
feminist theory, queer theory, post-colonial theory and anti-racist theorizing.
Michel Foucault
French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) was interested in the ways power and
knowledge work together
Foucault critiqued Marxism for emphasizing class and political economy as key
principles in social organization
o He states this marginalizes struggles based on race, gender and sexuality
o Foucault dismissed the idea that these uprisings could be explained on basis of
totalizing theory such as Marxism
Power, Knowledge and Discourse: Foucault refers to power as repressive hypothesis
(truth is absolutely opposed to power and therefore a liberating role) it views “truth”
as something that can be produced outside of power relations and can be objective
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Document Summary

Modern social theories are not completely separate and different from the classical ones. They do not being anew and the theorists continue to draw upon each other s work. Karl marx believed that over time, the proletariat would develop a common class consciousness and revolt against the bourgeoisie. Western marxism on the other hand, refers to more independent and critical forms of marxism. The term was first used by the soviet communist regime to refer to varied forms of marxism that emerged after the 1920s in a rapidly changing. Theorists include: gyorgy lukacs, antonio gramsci, theodor adorno, max. Establishes hegemony through philosophy, culture and morality that internalizes by population and appears as common sense. Will s gay side (he lived with a woman and never seen kissing a guy) and people laughed at jack who was a stereotypical gay. They look to be equal in society with men. Post-structuralists are concerned with how knowledge is socially produced.

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