Sociology #1 Class
Durkheim - suicide
(rare, isolated, antisocial)
• the rate of suicide, is a function not of the state of mind of people that commit
suicide but the state of mind of social institutions
• men commit more suicide than women (euroschemia), highest
among Protestants and low among Jews
• people are embedded in social relations and the nature of those
relations determine suicide. Therefore what is the nature of social relations
that will determine if someone takes own life? Level of social solidarity,
which is determined by frequency of interactions and degree by which they
share beliefs, values and morals
• Higher level of social solidarity the less inclined to commit suicide. for ex:
married people won't commit suicide, even though they are experiencing the
same level of social distress. (either because they have children, spouse,
religion …which all anchors them to the world and they can resist taking
their own life)
• Religious groups: Protestants are more likely to commit suicide.
• structure in Catholicism leads to low suicide. Jews have been persecuted for
years…in short…they're used to it.
• if we want to reach an explanation for the different patterns of
behaviour of these people then we need to examine the social
relations between these people
• not why we did this or that, but why rate of this or that differs from rest of
• as the level of social solidarity increases, suicide drops. when it increases
beyond a certain point the suicide may occur too because they are at unusual
heights. (ex: Ultralistic suicide: in the war someone throws a grenade and
you protect others by throwing yourself on it. Armies try to install high levels
of solidarity, to teach loyalty, to protect comrades)
• Durkheim was troubled with French . He wanted to suggest how various
forms of disorder could be delt with .
• Deviance comes from a lack of supervision.
• Like Durkheim, sociologists today strive to identify a particular type of
behaviour that is of interest for intellectual purposes…and try to investigate
the social forces that lie outside peoples minds that could explain the
behaviour…and they try to determine sociological changes that could change
behaviour and explain it.
◦ ideas about the way the world works, explanations for how people
behave, are not things that only sociologists think
about. Everyone thinks about it. What social scientists do, is research
to test theories and they learn how to systematically collect evidence
and analyze it to prove or disprove theories ◦ romeo and Juliet: star crossed lovers. In Shakespeare plays we learn
there is something wrong/out of joint and it disrupts everything
◦ Gallalao in 1610: "philosophers tried hard to tear down and argue the
new planets out of heaven. he won't even see with his own eyes that
there are planets ou there that no one has looked at yet." this scientific
attitude was crucial towards believing that there are social barriers
that restrict a persons behaviour.
◦ if the scientific revolution was only pillar, there are two others.
Second derived from democratic revolution (french and american) .
They encouraged that human action can change society. The
revolutions threw out the predestined rulers (king and queen)
believing that they were not above the rest. it was a revolutionary
ides: giving power to the people….you can change society. Third thing
that had to occur was the industrial revolution (early 1780's)
It involved growth and industry, but it also dislocated people. They
worked countless hours when moved to the city and faced filth
and bureaucracy, criminal behaviour. It was a hellish mess,
Charles Dickens. Terrible suffering occurred.
◦ Sociologists called industrial revolution a laboratory for determining
why people are acting the way they are acting. It provided a lab for
analyzing issues that wasn't available previously.
Sociology # 2 Class
• gives us guidelines for how to act
• it is shared by means of human interaction and learning
• we create it to solve real life problems
▪ steam engine from 100 c.e. that was later redefined in late 19th
century when there was a wide spread need for it
• our culture is part of our environment and may not be aware that we are in
• we tend to take our culture for granted
• People are often startled when confronted with cultures other than our own.
The other cultures may seen odd, irrational, or inferior. (Ethnocentrism)
◦ whereas Cultural Relativism: belief that all cultures should be
respected as equally valid
Cliterectomy: removing female genetalia. Women who have not experienced this are
more likely to experience male tendencies. It lessens or eradicates sexual arousal in
women. Associated with infection, shock, infertility, and Hep B.
As a result, UN voted that it was a violation against women and worked to
prevent this practice. And is against the law in most countries. • In general, it is important to understand Ethnocentrism. But we should draw
the line at some point.
• We have to be aware of the need to draw the line somewhere.
• The education we receive and culture somehow constrains us.
• Culture is two faced, its constraining and freeing parts.
• Rationalization (efficient means to achieve goals and negative consequences
of doing so)
• Bureaucracy (organizations that are being created to rationalize life)
• Max Weber:
◦ bureaucracy is an arranged hierarchy that is constricting, having
◦ staff members strive to achieve goals more efficiently
• Consumerism: defining us by the stuff we buy
◦ Our tendency to define ourselves by the stuff we buy is evident int the
way we buy clothes or cars.
◦ Advertising encourages us to buy certain products and to do so
frequently. It defines out lives by the things we buy. People want to be
part of a group, not an outcast.
▪ Advertising banks on our desire to be part of a group and
allows us to buy socially desirable characteristics.
▪ Consumer debt has never been higher, this forces us to work
harder to pay it off, which then increase our stress levels and
depression level. So if we respond the way advertisers want us
to respond, we will develop problems of both a economic and
▪ Consumerism draws attention away from pressing issues
Negative Consequences of Consumerism
• (via TABLE)
• how does fashion define us as individuals? tell whether we are active,
Sociology Class # 3
Feminist Theory, Emotions, and the Building Blocks of Social
• Research shows that women laugh more than men. Women are also shown to
interrupt more often.
◦ men are less likely to ask for directions, which causes many conflicts
• Social interaction involves communication among people acting + reacting to
one another, either face-face or computer.
◦ Feminist sociologists are sensitive to gender differences in social
interaction. They see that gender often structures interaction
patterns. • If status is seen as a social position, generally people with higher status
(usually men, in this case) will get more laughs, while people will lesser
status (like women) will laugh more.
• Study in psychiatric hospital: researcher discovered something called
◦ The higher the status of a staff member, the more laughs they got.
◦ psychiatrists often made the residents the target of their humour,
while residents +paramedics target the patients themselves.
• Laughter is often a signal of who has higher/lower status.
◦ Social structure influences who laughs more.
• Social statuses are 1/3 building blocks that structure all social interactions.
◦ the others are Roles and Norms
Roles: expected behaviours. People occupy a status, they perform a role.
Norm: generally accepted way of doing things. Norms are imposed by the
instructors, who often punish the class clown
• Scholars think that laughter + other emotions are like the common cold. An
external disturbance causes a reaction that people presumably experience
◦ ex: external disturbance could be grizzly bear attack that causes
fear/exposure to a virus.
▪ In either case, we can't control our body's patterned response.
• Emotions just happen
• Feminists were the 1st sociologists to note the flaw in the view that
emotional responses are typically involuntary
◦ seeing as how women are status subordinates, must control their
emotions, they generalized the idea.
◦ They argued that emotions don't just happen to us, we manage them. (
if a grizzle comes after you, you can choose to play dead or run) If you
choose to calm and play dead, you ignite another emotion…HOPE.
• When people manage emotions, they follow "scripts", like knowledge that
playing dead will give you a better chance at survival
◦ people know the culturally designated emotional response and try to
mimic it appropriately. If they don't achieve this, they often feel
disappointment, or guilt
• Sociologist Arlie Russel Hochschild leads the study of emotion management
(he coined the term).
◦ she argues that this management involves people obeying "feeling
rules" + responding appropriately to situations
ex: people talk about RIGHT to feel angry b/c they should feel angry
◦ People have conventional expectations not only about what they
should feel but also about how much they should feel, how long they
should feel it, and with whom they should share those feelings.
◦ Norms and rules govern our emotional life Emotion Labour
• Hochschild distinguishes emotion management (everyday life) from emotion
labour ( people do as part of job for which they are paid)
Teachers punishing students for late assignments… = emotion labour.
People who work at Air Canada are experts in emotion labour …"come
• Hochschild estimates that in USA a good portion of jobs involves emotion
more women than men do emotion labour b/c they are better socialized to
undertake caring + nurturing roles
• As economy shifts from production of goods to production of services, the
market for emotion labour grows because more people preselected and
Emotions in Historical Perspective
• social structure impinges on emotional experiences
the common sense view of emotions as unique, spontaneous, uncontrollable,
authentic, natural, and perhaps even rooted exclusively in our biological makeup
proves to be misguided.
Feeling rules take different forms under different social conditions, which
3 examples from social history of emotions help illustrate the point:
the crude death rate helps determine our experience of grief
Many infants died at birth or in first year of life. Infectious disses declined
populations. The risk of losing family members, was mu