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Lecture 2

Week 2 Lecture - Sept. 20.docx

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Ivanka Knezevic

Thomson and Naiman: 2 levels of social structure - Sociologists analyze 2 levels of social structures 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 macrostructures 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 is 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 & collective human actors have? th Functionalism (19 c. anthropology) & structuralism (1940s American sociology) - Mostly macrosociology - Naiman: an “order theory” - 1. Human behaviour is governed by stable patterns of social relations (“social
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