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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 Notes

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Ivanka Knezevic

SOCA01 – Intro to Sociology 1 September 20, 2012 Theoretical approaches to Sociology Thomson and Naiman: Two levels of social structure  Sociologists analyze two levels of social structure that frame and influence human agency:  Microstructures (patterns of intimate social relations formed during face to face interaction)  Macrostructures (overarching patterns of social relations in whole societies)  Other sociologists also consider mesostructures and global structures Sociological Imagination  C. Wright Mills (1959):  Sociological imagination shows the connection between personal troubles and public issues. Social problems can only be addressed if this connection if understood.  Naiman: personal troubles should be connected to issues of distal power. Elements of the Sociological Approach  Theory: a tentative explanation of some aspect of social life stating how and why specific facts are connected  Research: the process of carefully observing social reality to test the validity of a theory  Values: ideas about desirability/worth of attributes, people, objects, and processes  Value-free sociology is impossible, but a sociologist’s biases must be declared and minimized by rigorous research method (Naiman) Main Theoretical Approaches in Sociology  Structural functionalism (Thomson: functionalism): How is social order supported by macrostructures?  Neo-Marxism (Thomson: conflict theory): How is social inequality maintained and challenged?  Symbolic interactionism (Thomson: microsociology): How do people create meaning (understand events) when they communicate in microlevel settings?  Feminism: What are the social sources of patriarchy in both macro and micro settings?  Post-modernism: What diverse understandings of society do (individual and collective) human actors have? th Functionalism (19 c. anthropology) and structuralism (1940s American sociology)  Mostly macrosociology  Naiman: an “order theory” 1. Human behavior is governed by stable patterns of social relations (“social structures”). Most patterns have a function in maintaining society. 2. Social strctures are based on functional
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