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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 Notes

Course Code
Matthias Koenig

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SOC355Y1 Tuesday September 21, 2010
Last week you learned:
-Structural analysis, more commonly known as network analysis is a sociological perspective that
focuses on connections between social units- a set of assumptions
-Networks vary and positions within network vary
-These differences have consequences for important outcomes
-Graphs can be deceiving and its best to be cautious when interpreting them
Todays Outline
-Networks in classical theory
Paradigms and Sociology
-Ex: FunctionalismDurkheim – deviance
-Conflict theory- Marx
-Papers calling on specific sociologist- to signal that tradition which is a lens through which we see
-Example- someone studying education, conflict theorist would ask a different question How does
education support existing class structure?look at curriculum of schools
-Symbolic interactionism- interactions, how do interactions come to be?Answers cannot be seen
by other person, conflict theorist would not be able to see how interactions exist
-Social network analystabout relations- can pull from any paradigm essentially because you are
talking about relations- Social needs relations
-Social theorist who treats relations as primary! = Georg Simmelthinks of social relations as
primary! Meaning= not only are they the most important but that they exist first! Therefore the
units that have relations (the people come after the relations) ! What they would argue. The
people or units are defined by the relations that they have! So first we have relations then units or
-Think about itfunny a plausibleWe exist at the interaction of relations! (according to Simmel)
-SIMMEL – does not view things as isolated units, instead as interactions
Defining Society – according to Simmel society is INTERACTIONSThe significance of
these interactions among men lies in the fact that it is because of them that the individuals, in
whom these driving impulses and purposes are lodged, form a unity that is a society. (All

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relations in your body make you one unit!) For unity in the empirical sense of the word is
nothing but the interaction of elements. An organic body is a unity because its organs
maintain a more intimate exchange of their energies with each other than with any other
organism; a state is a unity because its citizens show similar mutual effects. (Simmel, 1908
(1971) p.23) = Simmels word = SOCIALITAZTIONSOCIETAL
-Simmel would argue that all Canadians are those who interact the most!Criteria is =
Ex: a prison is a society because they interact vs. people who wear size 7 shoe who are not a society
because they do not interact
-Continuumsocial network perspective lets us think about societies as not just as existing but a
continuum thus some societies are more societal than others while some communities are more
community like than others- This allows us to look at groups we do not normally look at in terms
of simply labels.
-Group of friendscommunity interacting with one another = personal community
-2 things with this perspective- We can see variations in a community to which they are
community like and 2. We can study groups that may have been hidden which are communities
-Networksmultiplying instead of adding! Atomized view (disconnected from each other) social
network view- what relations are acting here to create this? Social network view would say a
million people lose their job (they complain) and 5 million people hear how people complain
about losing their job so they stop spending, people stop buying stuff, companies stop selling,
therefore lay people off, then more people laid off and more complain. Therefore we need to not
think of individuals acting alone but how they affect each other!
-Simmel argues this is the second criteria for defining a society –“A collection of human
beings does not become a society because each of them has an objectively determined or
subjectively impelling life-content. It becomes a society only when the vitality of these
contents attains the form of reciprocal influenced; only when one individual has an effect,
immediate or mediate, upon another, is mere spatial aggregation or temporal succession
transformed into society. (Simmel, 1908 (1971), pp. 24-25) Multiplying thing not an addition
thing essentially
Content vs. Form
-Primary stuff of social world according to Simmelthere are Contents (things inside peoples
heads; emotions, motivations, thoughts, ideology, their experiences, feelings and religion etc.) vs.
The Form: a pattern of relations
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