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Lec 2.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Dan Silver

Lec 2 1. Sociology as a Science of Action a. Theory of action b. Natural science vs social science c. Ideal types 2. Power: Authority a. Stratification Sociology as a Science of Action  Something becomes social action when its oriented towards other ppl  Marx focused on the classes of ppl  Durkheim focused on the structures of organization  Weber focuses on how work gives the individual meaning  For Weber the purpose of work is to get closer to god  Theory of general action: the way in which an individual gives meaning to what they do o 1. Goal oriented: something is done on purpose  This is the most rational because you think about the consequences and the best means of getting the goal o 2. Value oriented rationality: when you act on impulse  When you don’t think about the consequences  Ex. someone insults your mother so in an effort to defend her honour you punch them o 3. Affective Action: Emotional  The action is justified by emotional actions  This is not random, b/c you can make sense out of it  Ex. Nobody insults your mother but you are feeling angry for some other reason so you punch someone o 4. Traditional  There is no goal, and there is no value that is offended. But there is a tradition  Things are done simply because there is a tradition  There isn’t a lot of rationality  Ex. Birthday beats  Why is this distinction important? o It helps you make systematic distinctions and compare it to different countries and see why it differs. It helps you think about the cause and effects o It also helps you think about the historical development b/c more and more decisions are being made based on the consequences instead of tradition Natural Science vs. Social Science  The positivists (nomothetic): an explanation of an event is scientific under a general law o you can list the set of causes that lead to revolution  The Historicists (Ideographic): its impossible to make a generalization of what humans do b/c we are free to do w/e we please and our actions are always changing o Everything humans have done in history is unique  Weber wanted to bridge the difference  He believed that there has to be some general statement that brings things into categories  He believed that human beings can’t fully be understood by our external behaviours like a plant  A social science makes it a deeper understanding  Webers middles postion=Interprative Sociology: Interpreting someones actions by reliving it, you put yourself in their shoes, see what the world looks like from their perspective o Direct interpretation: where you put yourself in their shoes o Explanatory: what are the motivations? Is it to please a teacher? To get a job? Ideal Type  Can’t be particular, has to be general knowledge  An abstract construct that an analyst creates for an area of study in order to evaluate them and see which ones deviate  Ex. An ideal student would be one that attends every lecture, does all their readings, hands in all of their assignments on time o It can easily be said that a student like this doesn’t exist, but by creating this i
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