Introduction to Sociology 1
Do we really need sociology?
Common-sensical explanations of social life are usually:
∙ Untested, and
∙ Marred by voluntaristic bias
∙ (People with good ideas, attitudes, and values have good lives.) not true
Sociological knowledge is:
∙ Systematically tested in research, and
∙ 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.
What is sociology?
Tepperman, Albanese, Curtis:
∙ Sociology is a study of social behaviour in human societies.
∙ Emphasis on agency, current in sociology of the 2000s.
∙ Social cause: neo-liberalism and rational-choice theory.
∙ Sociology is a study of social relations, created in an interaction of agency, social structure and
∙ Agency: purposeful human action.
∙ Social structure: a relatively stable network of social relations that enable and constrain
∙ Culture: ideas (understanding, values, norms) about society.
∙ Examples: gender, religion, music.
Earl Babbie (methodologist):
1. Society has an existe