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Chapter 6- Sociology as a Vocation .doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Robert Brym

Sociology: As a Life or Death Issue Chapter 6: Sociology as a Vocation • It’s all about the Context -By investigating the four contexts within this book-theAmerican inner city, the world of Palestinian suicide bombers, the hurricane prone Caribbean basin and the Gulf of Mexico, and the environmental causes of cancer-we learned much of the practical importance for improving the quality of life and increasing life expectancy - These issues prove that sociology is a life or death issue - Hip hop is a cry for identity that encourages deadly violence among some people. It also diverts attention form mobile strategies that can increase the quality of life in those regions. - Policy of retaliation in suicide bombing increase both sides’resolves and further moves both parties away form peace negotiations - Lack of disaster planning can increase the chances that the most vulnerable members of society will perish - Finally, we learned that although it’s impossible to eliminate all cancers, we can rid ourselves of most of them by removing their known causes form our environment - I can best describe what Sociologists do in these four terms: values, theory, research, and social policy 1. Values - Sociologist’s ideas about what is good or bad (their values) can lead them to choose certain subjects for analysis and help them formulate tentative, testable explanations of the social phenomena that interests them - They fire our imagination, and intuition - They shape our ideas about how parts of society fit together, what society should look like, which actions and policies are needed to help us reach that idea - Invaluable source of scientific creativity 2. Theory and Research - Theories are tentative and testable explanations on some aspect of social life - Non-testable theories are not useful to the scientific community - Theory= hunch drawn out of everyday life - The research process should be done in these steps: 1. Figure out what matters to you 2. Formulate a testable theory 3. Review existing literature 4. Select method(s): EX: participant observation 5. Treat subjects ethically: Respect your subjects’right to safety, respect your subjects’ right to informed consent, respect your subjects’right to privacy, respect your subjects’ right to confidentiality 6. Collect data: do not falsify any data, do not plagiarize. 7. Analyze data 8. Report results • Careers: what to do with your
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