SOCI1503 Lecture Notes - Lecture 21: Robert D. Putnam, Sociological Theory

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1 Aug 2016
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Lecture 21
Sociologists develop theories to explain social
phenomena.
A theory is a proposed relationship between two or more
concepts.
In other words, a theory is an explanation for why a
phenomenon occurs.
Sociological theory is developed at multiple levels,
ranging from grand theory to highly contextualized and
specific micro-range theories.
There are many middle-range and micro-range theories
in sociology.
Because such theories are dependent on context and
specific to certain situations, it is beyond the scope of
this text to explore each of those theories.
An example of a sociological theory comes from the work
of Robert Putnam.
Putman's work focused on the decline of civic
engagement.
Putnam found that Americans involvement in civic life has
declined over the last 40 to 60 years.
While a number of factors that contribute to this decline,
one of the prominent factors is the increased
consumption of television as a form of entertainment.
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