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Lecture 7

SOC 1101 Lecture 7.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC1101
Professor
Willow Scobie
Semester
Fall

Description
SOC 1101 Lecture 7 Thursday October 3 , 2013. Recap: Sociology is organized as a science and has a number of characteristics in common with other sciences. They solve a central problem or a set of related central problems. Sociologists investigate culture. A characteristic of every science is that they are factually based. We don’t all use the same research methods to make our observations. Another characteristic of every science is that you find within that science a specialized language. When you learn a science, you learn the definitions of the concepts that the scientists used. These concepts are used by scientists to interpret the observations made and for the construction of that theory. Today: systematically look at the concepts most used by sociologists. Perspective: how you see things. In relation to sociology, it is the concepts that give you the insight into the study. Functionalist Perspective Kant was a functionalist sociologist. They are not all the same, but they share similarities. It is because of these similarities that we can group them together. General Characteristics: 1. The argument that it is useful to think of society as a living thing. Kant studied biology before sociology and said that it is useful for us to think of society as a living thing. Today all sociologists think of society as a living thing. 2. Of all the facts/ components that make up society (culture is non material and non-material facts), the most important is the Normative System. This consists of many different things, one of them being culture values. These are widespread in society that tells us what is important and what is not important. One of these values is on achievement orientation. This is the idea that whatever you do, you do to the best of your ability. Of all the material/non-material facts (this is non-material) that make a culture that you find in society, the most emphasized (and this goes back to Kant) goes back to the Normative Structure. 3. They think of conflict in society between individuals and conflict between groups as being superficial in nature. It’s not built right into the structure of society. It might be there today, but it will not be there tomorrow. It is not thought to be fundamental in society. De-emphasis on the importance of conflict in society. Organism Kant told us that we should think of society as an organism. Characteristics 1. The goal of the organism. The overall goal of every organism is to keep itself alive (main purpose). To reproduce itself day after day. 2. An organism consists of component parts. Those component parts are specialized in achieving what the organism needs to stay alive. a. I.e. a human needs to take in energy to stay alive. The mouth that opens, teeth that grind, esophagus that takes in food, etc.. b. We need to be mobile, and in order to do so, we need a skeletal system 3. These component parts act and react on one another. They do not exist in isolation. a. I.E. Cardiovascular system has implications for the respiratory system. The respiratory system has implications for the building of bone mass Thinking about society, you want to remember that the goal of society to stay alive. The society has different component parts such as economic and political systems, which are organized towards achieving things to keep the society going Ex. In order for a society to keep going, the society needs to adapt to an environment and economic change. For example, Global Warming. The society has to adapt to these changes or they will threaten their chance of survival. Kant says to think of society as an organism, and functionalist sociologists have done so ever since. Think of what a society needs to exist. Because the component parts do act and react on other, you cannot remove a component part of society to examine it. Definition of functional indispensability - All standardized forms and practices are assumed to be important. When you look at a society, and when you find a form or a practice that repeats itself over and over again, you assume that it’s important for society. You do not say it might be important, you say it is important. If it’s long lasting, it must be important for the society. That is the assumption you begin with, even if you end up being wrong. You look inside society, find something that is long lasting, and you assume that it is important. You may find that it was important in the past, but is no longer important today. You do not start with the assumption that it is no longer important, however it may prove to be. The reason why something is important may change over time. As cultures change, we see the emergence of new standardized forms and practices. Now you ask yourself why it is important: Definition of Manifest Functions - The function of the form or the practice, that is the reason why it is important, is immediately honest. The reason why it is important is that it is obvious to everyone. Because you know why it is important, when you change it, you can predict the consequences. Definition of Latent Functions - The idea that there may be reasons why the form/practice may be important that is not immediately realized/apparent. Functionalist sociologists never rest with the obvious reasons in society. They look for other reasons that are not immediately apparent. - If the function remains latent, the other reasons why the form/practice is important, and you change that practice, you will end up with unintended things happening. If you change it, you will have unpredictable results. Functional Importance of “Cow Love” 4 Latent Reasons Why Cow Love is so Im
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