Readings notes, chapter 1-3 Helpful readings, for Chapter 1-3 including Society in Question New Society and Sociology as a Life or Death Issue
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New Society 6/e, chapters 1, 2, and 3
Society in Question 6/e, chapters 2, 4, 6, and 8
Sociology as a Life or Death Issue, chapters 1 and 2
New Society Chapter 1 (POINTS)
Sociology is the systematic study of human behavior in social context.
Social causes are distinct from physical and emotional causes.
Sociology gives u a unique, enlightening perspective on social events.
Sociological Explanation Of Suicide
More than individual act of desperation resulting from psychological disorders. Suicide
rates are strongly influenced by social forces.( Emile Durkheim)
High suicide rates= high psychological disorder.
Durkheim expected groups with high solidarity to have lower suicide rates.
Married adults=low suicide rate because marriage usually creates social ties and sort of a
moral cement that bind the individual to society.
Women less likely than men
Durkheim wrote "suicide varies with the degree of integration of the social groups of
which the individuals forms a part.'
Canadian youth have higher suicide rate because
Religious attendance have fallen down
Unemployment have risen
The rate of divorce has increased( as a result children are brought up on single parent
family) SOCIAL SOLIDARITY has fallen.
Relatively stable patterns of social relations are called social structures
3 level of social structures surround us, they are as follows
Microstructures are patterns of intimate social relations. Face-to face interactions
Macrostructures are patterns of social relations that lie outside and above your circle of
intimates and acquaintances. Includes class relations and patriarchy.( traditional system of
economic and political inequality between women and men in most societies).
When spouses share domestic responsibilities they are less likely to divorce.
Global structures are international organizations, patterns of worldwide travel and
communication, and the economic relations between countries.
Inexpensive travel and communication allows all parts of the world to be connected.
THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION
American sociologist Wright Mills (1959) called the ability to see the connection between
personal troubles and social structures the sociological imagination.
SOCIO IMAGINATIONS was born when 3 new revolutions collapsed.
First The Scientific revolutions, that workings of society must be based on solid evidence
not just on speculations.
Second the Democratic Revolution suggested that people are responsible for organizing
society and that human intervention can therefore solve social problems.
Thirdly Industrial revolution created a host of new and serious social problems that
attracted the attention of many social thinkers.
ORIGINS OF THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMAGINATION (not importing page 10)
Scientific suggests a science of society is possible.
Democratic suggests that people can intervene to improve society.
Industrial presented social thinkers with a host of pressing social problems cringe out for a
SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES (THE ORIGINS OF SOCIOLOGY) pg 11
The French social thinker Auguste Comte coined the term sociology in 1838. Comte tried
to put the study of society on scientific foundations.
Was inspired by the astronomers and physicists of the modern era.
Tested the validity of his ideas through careful observation of the real world, rather
assuming that "God" determined the shape of society.
3 early figures that had the same idea as Comte are as follows: Karl Marx, Emile
Durkheim and Max Weber. (They prescribed for combating social ills).
Theory, research and Values
Theory is a tentative explanation of some aspect of social life that states how and why
certain facts are related. Ex Durkheim showed how facts about suicide rate are related to
facts about social solidarity.
After theories are formulated, the sociologist can conduct research.
RESEARCH is the process of carefully observing social reality to assess the validity of a
VALUES are ideas about what is right and wrong, good and bad. Inevitably, values help
sociologists formulate and favor certain theories over others.
Functionalist theories incorporate four features’ 14 and 15
Emphasizes the centrality of conflict in social life. pg 15
Culture from a sociologist perspective is socially transmitted ideas, practices, and material
objects that people create to deal with real-life problems. Ex deal with problems of high
anxiety. Culture becomes shared when it is socially transmitted. Culture then, is the sum of
the socially transmitted ideas, practices and material objects that enable people to adapt to
and thrive in our environments.
SOCIETY: Involves people interacting socially and sharing culture, usually in a defined
ORIGINS OF CULTURE
THE FIRST TOOL IN HUMAN CULTURAL KIT WAS ABSTRUCTION (the capacity
to create ideas or ways of thinking.)
SYMBOL: this is also one the important type of idea. They are things that carry particular
meanings. Languages, mathematical notations, and signs are all sets of symbols. Symbols
allow us to classify experience and generalize from it.
COOPERATION is the second tool in the human cultural survival kit. It is the capacity to
create a complex social life by stabling norms. Norms are standards of behavior or
generally accepted ways of ding things.
PRODUCTION is the third main tool in the human cultural survival kit. It involves
devising and using tools and techniques that improve our ability to take what we want from
nature. Such tools and techniques are known as material cultures.
Rewards and punishments, aimed at ensuring conformity, are known as sanctions or the
system of social control.
Rewards or positive sanctions include everything from praise and encouragement to money
and power. Punishments or negative sanctions ranges from avoidance and contempt to
physical violence and arrest.
CULTURE FROM THE MARGINS
Judging another culture exclusively by the standards of our own is called ethnocentrism.
Ethnocentrism impairs the sociological understanding of culture as much as taking our
own culture for granted does.
TWO FACES OF CULTURE
Rationalization: is the application of the most efficient means to achieve given goals and
the unintended, negative consequences of doing so. Modern buearacracies exemplify the
Bureaucracies are composed of unelected officials. They concentrate power and threaten
democracy. Moreover, they discourage officeholders from considering what the goals of
their organization ought to be.
Consumerism: is a lifestyle that involves defining ourselves in terms of the goods we
CULTURE AS FREEDOM: CULTURAL DIVERSIFICATION AND Globalization 34 to
Result of globalization, people are less obliged to accept the culture into which they are
born and freer to combine elements of culture from a wide variety of historical periods and
Globalization is a Bengali schoolboy listening to his iPod.
THE RIGHTS REVOLUTION