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Sociology- Week 1 - 6.docx

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Sheldon Ungar

Sociology - September 13, 2012 Concept - Moral panic (ex. Baby snatchers, child abuse) o Exaggerated threat to societal values  Attributed to folk devils Some data on exaggerated fear of crime - Child homicides by strangers - Canada: Highest age-group murder rate – Babies younger than one year old Other moral panics - Epidemics - Second smoke - AIDS (North America – YES, Parts of Africa – No) Establishing moral panic - Need clear and timely evidence of degree of harm o May be unavailable o Future oriented - Compare claims about harm o How much larger must they be? Begin with a Concept - A definition - Examples to fill it in (Images, stories) - Data - Use and Application Sociological Imagination - Translate personal trouble into public issues - Understand how life chances affected by broader social forces - Ex. Cancer, Unemployment, date rape - Intersection of three variables o History o Social Structure – Where are you born? What class? Are you rich or born? o Biography (of individual) Cohort - Set of people born at the same time - Experience similar things at the same age o Especially teen years - Most famous cohort? – “Baby boom,””baby bust,” “MTV generation,” “Generation X,” “20 something”, “know nothing”, “generation with PR problem” i.e. antagonistic terms - 2 major differences between Baby boom and Gen X Cohorts o Time born – History  Affects opportunities o Size of the cohort (Social structure)  Demographic bulge Generation X o Family – not binding times o Economic outlook o Politics, Culture Heroes - Superman - Nelson Mandela - Terry Fox - Kennedy New Impacts of Baby Boom - Plastic surgery - Concern with menopause - Gardening - Bowling (Lawn bowling too!) September 20, 2012 Suicide - September 10 , 2011 – Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day - It has been a major them in philosophy and many other subjects - “Dante’s Inferno “ – The Woods of the Suicides - Albert Amus , The Myth of Sisyphus o “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.” - Fredrich Nietzche o “The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a bad night” - Philosophy (& psychology) approach suicide as in individual issue – Psych: Depression, failure & etc. - Sociology looks at it from a social point of view; broader social forces affecting one’s life chances - Sue Rodriguez- Went to Supreme Court of Canada asking to be put down by doctors but had lost the case - Dr. Jack Kevorkian is a famous doctor who assisted people who wanted assistance in suicide - Us Military Suicides: 1 per day in Afghanistan (average) o Recall Suicides 25x death rare Afghan war  Still majority vets not kill themselves  What about social solidarity?  Anomie – Many soldiers tend to suffer from Anomie - 6 500 /year among vets o Traumatic brain injury - Suicide appears to be an anti-social, individual act o But Durkheim showed that suicide rates  Decrease with Social Solidarity (Close ties)  Increase with Anomie (A state or condition of individuals or society characterized by a breakdown or absence of social norms and values)  Normlessness; social change as producer of anomie  Men tend to have lower social solidarity and a higher Anomie leading to the increased rate of suicides among men - If suicides were just the result of individual depression or mental illness they would NOT vary systematically by group, time… - Apply Social Solidarity & Anomie o Young vs. Old o Rural vs. Urban  Rural has more social solidarity because they know the people around them more than people who live in the Urban areas o Catholic vs. protestant  Catholic has more social solidarity o Non-aboriginal vs. Aboriginal  Non-Aboriginal has more social solidarity and less anomie Illusions live by - Regime of “truth” foisted on us by constant repetition o Unquestioned o Un-open to questioning - Ex. Americans love military: This is total bs. They don’t love them. They love them in “speech” Theories Functionalism vs Conflict - In medieval Europe, the social order was seen as God-given and fixed. - This changed with the French Revolution & then the industrial revolution - These revolutions created the problem of social order - Conservative Reaction o Those who lost in the revolution drew on Thomas Hobbes on the stress need for restraint and order o The basis of Functionalist - Liberal Reaction to Revolution o See it as liberating to get rid of the aristocracy o Can rationally structure society - Auguste Compte (1798-1857) is the “father of sociology” o Positivist ; belief in scientific method o Social laws equivalent to the laws of nature - Dual Perspective on Society o Order, harmony and continuity o Power, conflict and change - Functionalism o Shared values keep society together r o Successful socialization is thus critical for stability  Family o Biological metaphor  Each part of society plays a part in holding it together - Primary Question o What are its positive consequences?  It functions or benefits for society as a whole?  How does it contribute to social stability? - 3 types of functions o Manifest functions o Latent functions o Dysfunctions - Functionalists stress latent, then manifest functions o They downplay dysfunctions - Apply to education o Manifest functions  Knowledge and skills  Basic norms of behavior  “Sorting” out kids o Latent Functions  Keeping people off the job market o Dysfunctions  Devaluing the degree (too many people obtain it) Conflict Theory – Karl Marx (1818-1883) - Class conflict as key; it is the role of power - Conflict Theory o Marx regarded workers (the proletariat) as alienated in capitalism o They were exploited by the bourgeoisie (owners of means of production) o He argued that the proletariat would become (relatively) impoverished and revolt - Primary Question o Who benefits(gains) from social arguments  Whose interests are involved  How do the privileged maintain their advantages o Applied to education…  How select students to advance?  (What group benefits)  Role of Certification o Legacy positions o Modern Functionalists take apparently “inexplicable” features of society and examine how they contribute to social stability  Ex. Focus on latent Functions o Applied to Prostitution…  As victimless crimes?  Like gambling (used to be a crime!) o Soft drugs (soon may not be..)  Both parties agree (?)  No complaint from parties involved (?)  Police as outsiders who enforce morality (?)  Functional Approach  Manifest functions o Sex o Helping guys have sexual relationships possibly because they have problems at home (physical, emotional)  Conflict Approach o Who benefits?  Male exploitation to females  Pimps get the money, not the females  Women are kept on drugs; they receive beatings September 27, 2012 Used - Class, Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Family size, context Ignored/inadequate - Family composition (single family), Race, Class, Age Sociology vs. Journalism How would sociologists study the “4 families?” - Use random sample to represent population - Measure & quantify counting o Ex. Do systematic counting Sociology as Science - Confirm the obvious o What every knows o Common science VERSUS - Reality is complex o “debunk” the obvious with data The obvious: alcohol fosters crime - A basic argument for Prohibition in US o Will lower crime rates Law as dysfunctional (Functionalism) - Spawns organized crime o Unintended consequence Data are socially constructed - May not measure what it is supposed to measure Explain changes over time - Rise due to o Social changes in society o Changes in recording death certificates Administrative Decisions & Suicide Rates - Children’s suicides o In the past, they would never call it a suicide; instead they would call it “accidents” Prostitution charges - Determines as much by political and administrative procedures as by what is happening in the real world - Law/social control  increase in observed rates KNOW THE RESEARCH CYCLE, KNOW VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY Variables - Take on two or more values o Gender o Religion o SES (social economic status) - Independent Variables o Come first in time o May “cause” or affect the dependant variable - Dependent Variables Casual Relationshop - Iv comes first in time - Iv related to (affects) DV - Relationship is not spurious o Not caused by a “third” variable Spuriousness - Is when there is a third variable October 4, 2012 - What TV shows cause most violence? o TV news o Barney? - Science o Conjectures  Some sort of idea you want to go after o Testing  Experiments o Refutations  Attempts to prove it wrong - Predict to real world? o Weather forecast  We can’t predict the weather unless it’s 2 days in advance - Methodology o Way of assessing validity and confidence in our knowledge - Question: Does violence in the media cause violent behavior - You review the literature o Select a theoretical approach o Select method Hypothesis - Specifies a relationship between two or more variables o A testable statement - Observed aggressive behavior on television – increased violence in children? Social Learning Theory - People imitate behavior of models o Use similar others o Use successful models  People would imitate what they see in video games  In the end, they want criminals to be caught and punished  Therefore, people will be less convinced to copy it Methods for a Newspaper 1. Content analysis – Front page suicides in California 2. 2. Daily Motor vehicle – Before and after publicized suicide Phillip’s Results – “3 days – after peak - Controls for day, week, month, holidays (People go faster in warmer temperatures, people go slower when there’s ice) Phillips – Detailed “specification” of effects - Amount of publicity o Time to death o Similar others (age, area) o Suicide vs murder-suicide  Murder-suicide – People either had people as a passenger or they drive along and crash another car Phillips Boxing Study - Looked at “Heavyweight Championships (1973-78)” o Then looks at homicide rates (before/after fights) - 3 day-after peak : 12.5% increase in murders - Murder increase greatest after most publicized fights Research Design - Systematic plan to test hypotheses and eliminate alternative explanations - Each design has strengths and weaknesses o Triangulate designs Designs Correlational - Show violence on tv - Kid’s violence in real world o The two are related over time  But note: Correlation is not causation - Most popular show among GenX is o The Brady Bunch - Measure TV violence: o Longitudinal content analysis of TV  Random sample of TV shows  What years  What shows - How measure aggression o Physical Vs verbal - Longitudinal counts of crime rates o Official statistics o Self-reported measures (?) - The peak of crime was in the 70s and it has gone down now - How accurate are official statistics? o Ex.
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