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Lecture 1.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Vanina Sztainbok

Lecture 1  Common-sensical explanations of social life are usually: o Untested, and o Marred by voluntaristic bias (latin word will)  Voluntarisic bias- is the belief that peoples fate/ success/ happiness depends on only their own actions  e.g. (people with attitudes with good ideas, attitudes, and values have good lives) o But the reality that ones own action is only part of it; therefore voluntaristic bias is not correct  Social knowledge is: o Systematically tested in research, and  We can not propose a theory just from personal experience rather we must get statistics from a greater number of people (population) o Aware that events are shaped not only by individual agency, but also by cultures and social structures that cause, or even force, people to experience conditions they would rather avoid  Definition of sociology  Tepperman, albanese,curtis: o Sociology is a study of social behavior in human societies o With an emphasis on agency , current in sociology of 2000s o Social cause: neo-liberalism and rational-choice theory  Neo-liberalism is a economic doctrine that states markets should be left alone and they should regulate themselves o Knezevic: sociology is a study of social relations created in an interaction of agency, social structure and culture. o Agency : purposeful human actions  Same as decision and choices (in textbook) o Social structure : a relatively stable network of social relations that enable and constrain individual agency o Culture : ideas (understanding, values, norms) about society  Value: worth of objects  Norms: o Examples: gender, religion and music  Sociological assumptions  Earl babbie (methodologist) : o Society has an existence of it own ( not the sum of individuals, not an illusion - cf. post- modernism: think there is no such thing as society and its just everyone themselves) o Society creates itself (through human existence) o Cultures vary over time and place
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