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SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - Vishvarupa, Sociobiology, Total Institution

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Robert Brym

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Oct. 6th, 2010
**Oct. 20th link on website, based on what the website lists/old tests there too
Victor, the wild boy of Averyon: seemed more animal than human; was
raised in isolation from other human beings
Unable to form relationships with other people; develop very basic
language skills
W/e their condition is may not only be a result of being raised in
What this example suggests is that the ability to learn culture and
become human is only a potential socialization MUST unleash
Process of learning culture, becoming aware of oneself
Renee Spitz:
Compared children who were raised in an orphanage to children being
raised to a nursery attached to a womens prison
Differences in ways in which the infants were treated: prison the
infants were cared for, orphanage not so much, less human interaction
(sheets hung over cribs; depriving infants of stimuli, said to make
infants less demanding)
Differences in development (orphanage)
Infants more susceptible to infection by age of 9-12 months (when one
is relatively socially isolated one lacks a proper immune system to fight
of infection)
Impaired sexual function when they became adults
W/o socialization, most of human potential remains concealed
Human capacity to become human is biologically rooted
Genes that carry traits account not just for physical characteristics, but
for social practices as well
Behaviour has deep, genetic roots
According to socio biologists; genes determine whether we are law-
abiding, or faithful to our partners; however, sociologists disagree with
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Darwins Evolutionary Theory
1) The characteristics of members of each species vary widely.
2) Species members with more adaptive characteristics are more likely to
survive until reproduction.
3) Therefore, the species characteristics that endure are those that increase
the survival chances of the species.
The Logic of Sociobiology
1) Identify a supposedly universal form of human behaviour.
2) Make up a story about why this behaviour increases survival chances.
3) Assert that the behaviour in question cannot be changed.
Women and men develop different reproductive strategies; since
women develop few eggs have better chance of reproducing genes if she
has mate that can protect her while pregnant
B/c a mans sperm is numerous, improves chances of gene survival if he
impregnates many women
Womens desire for a single partner & mens desire for multiple; play
out the game of survival of the fittest
Many of the behaviours identified as universal are NOT necessarily
universal/some not that common
For ex. Statistics suggest that mens promiscuity is not significantly
higher than women
More going on then biology, such as the institution of marriage
Why do single men appear to be more promiscuous?
More likely to have sexual relations with members of their own sex,
thus more relations; contradicts the sociobiologists argument of mens
promiscuity linked to reproduction
Men tend to exaggerate how many sexual partners they have; society
puts a premium on men having multiple partners
Culture variable in play; differences should be examined in societal
Criticisms of Sociobiology
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