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SOC 31481.docx

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John Baker

SOC 3148 Comparative Approaches in SociologythTimeStampJune172014Prof email abussuottawacaTest Format Multiple choice questions 8 or 10 Short answer questions answer in 3 or 4 linesIntroduction Why We Need to Compare One cannot understand any society without comparing it to others There is always the we on the one hand and the others on the other handOur social structure and theirsThere is no analysis impliedit does not imply the attitude that was dominant in the middle agesThe intention of comparison is to better understand ourselvesOne can only understand oneself if one looks at themselves from the outside from the point of view of others There is a famous story of an old rabbi living in what is not Czech poor and living alone in a hut He had a dream which told him to go to Prague and go to the bridge at the river and dig near the bridgeand there he would find a big piece of goldHe continued dreaming this until he finally decided to go There were guards that were standing at the bridge and upon hearing his idea the head guard began to laughThe guard also had a dream that he should go to a little village the one the rabbi comes from and that by digging under the bed of the hut in the village there would be a big piece of goldThe rabbi went home and dug under his bed and found a big piece of goldThis story embodies what sociologists do They must go outside and look through the eyes of others at their own situation Some study other societies to look for better social structures not so much anymore but more common in the past such as comparing capitalism and communism Others study other cultures and society because they think by knowing these cultures they can better dominate them There is a famous anthropologistsRuth Benedict who was hired during WWII to study Japanese cultureclearly with the intent of being able to better dominate the Japanese Here the intent is to study other cultures to better understand our own Dumont was a specialist on India and wrote what good is there in going to India if not the discover how the Indian society represents the fall of the universal We must be convinced India can teach us something about ourselves Not to indulge in escapism but to better understand ones society In social sciences we cannot use experiments as in other sciences We can only comparethe only way of looking at ourselves
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