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Lecture 1 January 10.docx

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Matthias Koenig

SOC377H1S Monday January 10, 2010 Conceptual questions concerning conceptualizations, transfers of sociological theories to other domains, conceptual framework to explain social reality Descriptive questions- descriptions about changes in urban structures, how people live together, communities, networks, the workplace (sociology of the workplace) Normative questions- what should we do about gender discrimination, fight against poverty, sustainability- use normative yardsticks (justice, equality, freedom) – see what should be done to see normative ideals Explanatory questions- what explains racism, socialization- implicit hypothesis (how does inequality affect health? What explains different degrees of health? Family structures, gender affecting social inequality, social structures (why do they emerge in the first place?) ) How does micro level influence social structures? Focus of this course but with different approaches 1. Concerns relation of society to the individual- how do family structures affect the individual in its life course? Or one could use explanation of socialization- the patterns of social environment in which people live explain certain traits of the individual. This leads us to theories of action. (how to integrate? Core of course) 2. Another type of question is not taking individual characteristic but rather social phenomena, social structures, structures of racism, patterns of inequality etc. We formulate theories to explain social phenomena not measured at the individual level but rather collective or aggregative. This leads to theories of structure, how to integrate? (core of course) - Not a great focus on normative, descriptive questions but we will talk about explanations from micro to macro and macro to micro – how they are linked? What action theory, structure theory do we need? – about fundamental theological problems – addressing core question “How can we explain social facts/ social phenomena” Background in history of micro-macro 1. Action and Order and problem in modernity (general) - Constraints imposed on people in society is related to certain basic cultural characteristics of modernity. - One of the core ideas in modernity formed in Enlightenment is the idea of individual freedom and idea that society and whole cosmos is a secular order produced by forces that can be understood and not related to transcendental or natural god but rather social structures can be created by individuals. Individuals are free to change social structures, overthrowing of feudal society (background that humans are capable of bringing about fundamental change, American Revolution- social order political sphere were changed and overthrown) - If individual freedom and ability to transform nature is core idea of modernity, the other side has the notion that individuals have been constrained by structures of domination, capitalists markets, bureaucratic states which have created a sense of a loss of freedom - The experiences of domination, the laws of the market, the force of the bureaucratic state has been an important experience of modernity - Intellectual history- relation of individual freedom and social order has been prominently formulated in political philosophy (Hobbes, Locke, Adam Smith) who have dealt with idea of individuals conceived as equal and free and construction of social order and not turning into chaos as experienced in the dawn of modernity in the civil wars in England, religious wars in continental Europe - Response of philosophical Hobbes, Locke, Smith rooted in idea that philosophy can formulate model of contract in which order made through interest of individuals - Rousseau – strong sense of autonomy of the social, demands on individual – general idea is similar to Smith in that philosophy, ideal model of society (civil society) emerges through contract through which people agree to live by certain rules th - Tradition of political philosophy came – in early 19 century with early forms of domination, capitalist markets and bureaucratic markets- rise of scientists gave rise to idea of action and order not being addressed in normative way but rather should be based on empirical methods and tries to formulate solution to problem of freedom and order, action and structure, agency and structure in more empirically based way - First attempts related to ideas of social statistics emerging from bureaucratic states using empirical information- also by authors like Marx and Kant- Kant to formulate science of society drawing on models of biology and science while applying to social arena while tainted by sociological insights - Kant and Marx provided starting point where sociology started conceptualizing rigid solutions to problem of action and order - Marx- crucial experience typical of modernity- analysis of the 18 - “humans make their own history under conditions they do not choose” – experience of society is made by humans and individuals constrained by society, they make the history under constraining conditions 2. Contribution of political philosophy in action and order/ structure 3. Classical philosophy dealing with action and order - Europe, Durkheim, Weber, find the idea of two solutions to puzzle of how freedom can be reconciled with social order - Durkheim solution- takes the causal link as central, individuals are basically enacting normative models institutionalized in society or in other words what sociology does is it focuses on social structures that have a constraining impact on individuals. Social effect for Durkheim is something external to individual that has constraining force on individual and shared by number of individuals in given social setting- idea that something is external to individual (Durkheim) Once you ask how can social be explained you can ask how social effects explained? (macro-macro model that Durkheim formulates) o Ex. What explains the division of labour? That is characteristics of modern society. Durkheim says it is related to population changes, diversity, specialization leading to division of labour, morally institutionaliz
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