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Classical Sociological Theory September 10 2012.doc

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Jack Veugelers

SOC201H1 F September 10 2012 6:00-8:00 MB 128 Theory 1/ Hypothesis 2/ Exploration of concepts 3/ Cannon – Set of thinkers central to the discipline Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Zimmel, Tocqueville Sociologist as... 1/ Dispassionate analyst 2/ Passionate advocate Everything in its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood by: Kai T. Erikson 1/ The Buffalo Creek Disaster 2/ Kai Erikson's involvement 3/ Community = having “neighbours” 4/ Loss of Community: Low morale Immortality Disorientation Disconnection Illness and identity Insecurity 5/ The Buffalo Creek Disaster as a metaphor for modern society - People so dependant on community, community disappears, people are helpless. Collectivism vs Individualism Gemeinschaft vs. Gesellschaft (Ferdinand Tonnies, 1855 – 1896) Gemeinschaft (relations of community) Simple division of labour Similarity of identity Familism Affective relations (emotional) Gesellschaft (relations of association) Advanced division of labour Differences of identity Individualism Contract relations Reading: Tocqueville – Democracy inAmerica (1835 – 1840), pp. 503 – 17 (read chapters 1 to 5) Chapter 1 Importance of equality in a democracy Equality more prized in a democracy than liberty Chapter 2 Equality fosters individualism (the isolation of individuals from each other) Chapter 3 Individualism peaks after revolutions Increase in individualism after French revolution in 1789 Chapter 4 Countering individualism is political decentralization Chapter 5 Voluntary associations of local government counters individualism, because it brings people together Problem with Individualism - Excessive selfishness Remedy - Grassroots organizations Questions: What flaws are there with individualism? What social conditions promote individualism? What kind of social conditions can put a break in individualism? 1/ Tocqueville's historical perspective 1789 – French Revolution - Took away the monarchy - Stripped privileges of aristocracy - Stripped away
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