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Lecture

Jan 3.doc


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC231H5
Professor
Zaheer Baber

Page:
of 3
SOC231
Jan 3rd
Introduction
-why classical theory?
-contemporary relevance of classical theory
owhat is the relationship between the individual and society – social structure
-social structure – network of relationships
-agency – individual
owe have intentions, we can do things, and we can undo things, and within the
same context, we can do things differently – makes us individuals
-social change – dramatic/not so dramatic
oseemingly polar opposite terms – layers that connect social structure and agency
othose layers could be culture or ideology
-culture – ideology
**Key Concepts/Ideas
1. The Enlightenment
o18th century intellectual and social movement to ‘shed light’ of ‘reason’ on
‘society’
orise of a ‘school’ of philosophy
oNewtonian scientific method to understand society – application of reason
oevery sphere of society, including religion, was subjected to rational scientific
scrutiny
ogiven social conditions and institutions not unchangeable facts of nature
othe ‘is’ and ‘ought’ connection
what ‘ought’ to be has to be driven by reason, not religion or divine
intervention or tradition
how are you to know what ‘ought’ to be? – how can it be thought of
scientifically?
othings were not thought about in such an organized fashion
2. Positivism
oJean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
coined the term ‘society’ – how is society possible?
comes with the concept of the “social contract”
oThomas Hobbes vs. Rousseau
oHobbes: the natural state – war of each against all
humans were like animals in another state – a situation where there is
no society is a situation of war
osociety: possible due to a social contract for an absolutist authority, the
Leviathan
, that prevents all out conflict
oRousseau’s rebuttal: state of nature – humans are isolated indifferent to each
other
no ‘society’, ‘language’, or ‘culture’
population growth and division of labour etc. – rise of social inequality
private property/hierarchy
struggle, war occurs after the emergence of society
believes that war wasn’t before society but proceeded it
othe social contract – to prevent internal conflict
oreason to criticize existing childrearing and educational practises
only for the male Emile, not Sophy the woman
wrote a book on how to bring up a young woman - sexist
“the man should be strong and active; the woman should be weak and
passive”
“the works of genius are beyond her reach, and she has neither the
accuracy nor the attention for success in the exact sciences”
oMary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
Admirer and critic of Rousseau
Gender roles are social, and not natural
Wollstonecraft herself subject to class and elitist bias: lower class women
should go to trade schools
oresponse to social change: the romantic-conservatives and the “positivists”
what has been prevalent for generations should not be embedded in our
‘society’
Maistre romantic-conservatist – turn the clock back – bring back
monarchy, segregation, etc.
Comte positivist – positive about the change - apply the natural
science model to understand the social world - “social engineering”
the possibility of applying universal laws and rules like in nature
– have a perfect society
oKarl Marx (1818-1883)
3. Dialectics/Dialectical Perspective
4. Alienation
**The Social and Intellectual Concept – Key Concepts/Ideas
-sociology – an intellectual response to a crisis
-17-18th century Europe and the world, a series of ongoing “crises”
-the world turned upside down – Marx
oeverything people have taken for granted for generations, cannot at all be taken
for granted (anymore?)
oreflection on what’s happening – how is everything changing? – moment of crisis
personally and socially
-1600s: Scientific Revolution
oNewton, etc. – understanding the natural world is different
-1750s: Industrial Revolution/Capitalism
orise of steam engines and spinning (cotton)
-1776: American Revolution
oex. slavery in the South
oattempt to hold on to certain institutions
-1789: French Revolution
odestruction of the monarchy in France
-1861-1865: Colonialism/American Civil War
a. the discovery of society
different from biological nature
b. the individual-society relationships
c. the discovery of social change
-social institutions are neither ‘natural’ nor divine, but humanly created entities; can be
transformed through social action
owe’re a part of nature because of biological needs (food/survival etc) but
something differs us from the rest