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Lecture 2

Sociology Lecture 2 notes

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Ivanka Knezevic

Sociology Lecture 2 Theoretical approaches to sociology Midterm test nd Monday October 22 5-7 Detailed information will be posted on Portal - READ CAREFULLY! th No class on October 18 - instructor will hold additional office hours. Thomson & Naiman: Two levels of social structure Sociologists analyse 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 uses. Social problems can only be addresses 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 (a social system of male dominance) in both macro and micro settings? ∙ Post-modernism: What diverse understandings of society (individual and collective) human actors have? Functionalism (19 c. Anthropology) and structuralism (1940s American sociology) ∙ Mostly macrosociology ∙ Naiman: an “order theory” 1. Human behaviour is governed by stable patterns of social relations (social structures). Most patterns have a functio
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