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Introduction-Sociology as a Life or Death Issue Ch.1 Sept 10 2008

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University of Toronto St. George
Sheldon Ungar

READING NOTES 09-10-08 INTRODUCTION SOCIOLOGY AS A LIFE OR DEATH ISSUE: CH. 1 O Determinism: the belief that everything happens the way it does because it was destined to happen in just that way O Voluntarism: the belief that we alone control our destiny O Suicide: O Many believe is due to nonsocial, antisocial, and deep psychological distress O Durkheim proposed that suicide is influenced by the social relations in which you are embedded (frequency of interactions with others) O EX: O Married couples: adults half likely to commit suicide (marriage creates social ties, moral cement that bounds individuals to society) O Women less likely to commit suicide (more involved in family social relations) O Jews less likely then Catholics to commit suicide due to tightly knit societies post eras of prosecutions O Elderly are more likely to commit suicide due to lack of job, friends, relations, loss of spouse O Social ties are in general weakening today, because ppl. share fewer beliefs, values, and moral standards then they used to O Low Solidarity: societies that share few beliefs, values, and morals, therefore experience higher rates of suicide O Intermediate Solidarity: if we want suicide rates to decrease, we must find more ways of increasing social ties. O Ex: universal daycare- more children receiving quality supervision, and exposed to more socializing, more parents able to work, be paid, and establish more social tires with workmates (thus raising social solidarity) O High Solidarity:when members of social groups perceive that the group is threatened, they are likely to be willing to sacrifice their lives to protect them NEW SOCIETY: CH. 1 O The Sociological Explanation of Suicide O Suicide rates and rates of psychological disorders do not vary proportionately O Durkheim argued- suicide rates vary because of differences in the degree of social solidarity in different groups O The more a groups members and share beliefs and values, and the more frequently and i9ntensely they interact, the more social solidarity there is in that group (anchoring individuals to society, less likely for suicidal tendencies) O Ex: married adults, womenmen, JewsCatholics, youngelderly O Altruistic Suicide: occurs when norms tightly govern behavior (ex: soldier gives up life to save other soldiers life - jumping in front of grenade) O Egoistic:results from lack of integration in society (weak social ties) O Anomic: occurs when norms governing behavior are vaguely defined (when ppl. Live in society that lack shared moralnorms, anomic suicide = high) O From Personal Troubles To Social Structures O Social Structures: stable patterns of social relations O (I) Microstructures: patterns of intimate social relations, formed during face to face interactions (ex: fam, friends, work associates) (ex: finding job) O (II) Macrostructures: social relations that lay outside and above your circle of intimate acquaintances O Macrostructures include class relations and= O -> Patriarchy: economic and political inequality between women and men in most societies
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