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Lecture 9

Classical Soc (SOCB42)- Lecture 9.pdf

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Dan Silver

Lecture 9 SOCB42H3F Democratic Politics Democratic Culture Individualism and Social Control (continue of democratic politics) Voluntary Associations (page 180) • free group participations • neighbourhood associations/communities/church groups • in democracy there are no barons around (as opposed to aristocratic societies, where barons do exist) • focused on a real agenda • vague → specific • influences political parties • major part • (182) problems • free to associate with anyone you want •benefits outweighs the costs •its worth the danger (183) •is there a community organization that provides local counterweight of decisions? Rule of Law • Laws govern • No one is above the law • it's a basic principle of democracy • same laws not the same in aristocracy • potential problem • also bound by bad laws, you're stuck with it • for instance, in aristocracy, if someone makes a bad law, adjustment and/or removal just occurs • they think that eventually they can adjust/change the law • minority won't feel tyrannized by majority Lawyers • not really developed • nobility decreases while lawyers increases • back then when there were revolutionary movements, a majority of the leaders were actually lawyers • counterweight • (252) this is really the closest thing to aristocracy, that's in democracy • slower movements occur here • there are habits of order • emotional level turns into a rational conversation • (e.g. California • legality of same-sex marriage • didn't need to have debate • majority agrees with the idea • never been forced into a slow reflective debate • they're an elite group •feels like they're above all other people Juries • key feature of democratic society • equals • have to be judged by people equal to you • usually juries get it wrong a lot • develop habits in a mind of a judge • make decision on your own (experience ← democratic society, freedom) • spreads experience of equity (appropriate standards) • think about this in alternative perspectives • important role in making decisions in terms of the communities • there's an increase in respect for the authority of judges Social State • basic way of relationship in society • aristocratic authority vs. democratic equality • weak, mediocre leaders • system of variable: political, cultural, social life, etc. • how does a change in A produce a change in B, and then in C? Demographic Culture ① Philosophy • not much philosophy happens in democratic societies • aristocratic societies are more philosophical • democracy operates somewhat on philosophy • Réné Descartes • "I think therefore I am" • do not rely on anything except yourself • philosophy of individualism • there are increases and decreases in careers (403) • care less about what ancestors thought • the more you move around, the more you have to rely on yourself (less on family) • intellectual style (Aristocracy vs. democracy) • Democracy • plain, soft spoken, informal • Aristocracy • flowery in language • they appear as though they come from a background of authority • appearing like elites ② Religion • a) general • human beings need to have something dogmatic (acceptance without question) • may be chaos if this doesn't happen • doesn't necessarily have to be religious • no one has a right to violate another's individual conscience • for instance, rape is the by far (according to Silver) the worst way of such a violation •origin of religion is hard to know about because no one really has that time to try to understand it fully • What is God, life, soul? • should be protected for scepticism • we need answers from religion in order to make life go on for us • b) free • you have an option to be religious or not • is this dangerous? • Tocqueville says that we're not used to think this way because we lack the vocabulary to discuss questions in such terms • hence, it makes people weak and susceptible • c) democracies • functions of religion • check narcissism • example: a lady known as Sheila says that she doesn't transcend any of the existing and contemporary religions, except one. It is the religion
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