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What is Sociology?

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Suzanne Casimiro

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SOC100 September 9 th What is Sociology? - sociology is the systematic study of human society - it focuses primarily on the influence of social relationships on people’s attitudes and behaviours and on how societies are established and changed - at the heart of sociology is a special point of view called the sociological perspective The Sociological Perspective - seeing the general in the particular (Peter Berger) - sociologists identify general social patterns in the behaviour of particular individuals - seeing the strange in the familiar o giving up the idea that human behaviour is simply a matter of what people decide to do o understanding that society shapes our lives - seeing personal choice in social context o the power of society to shape even our most private choices o ex:  Durkheim on suicide  Women’s child bearing - seeing sociologically: marginality and crisis o people at the margins of social life are aware of social patterns that others rarely think about Benefits of the Sociological Perspective 1. helps us critically assess “common sense” ideas 2. helps us see the opportunities and constraints in our lives 3. empowers us to be active participants in our society 4. helps us live in a diverse world The Importance of Global Perspective Sociologists also strive to see issues in global perspective - the study of the larger world and our society’s place in it o 1. where we shape the lives we lead o 2. societies througho
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