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Lecture

SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - Altruistic Suicide, Auguste Comte


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC101Y1
Professor
Sheldon Ungar

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INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY (SOC101)
Professor Robert Brym
DATE: September 10
LECTURE 1: Introduction to Sociology
Introduction to Sociology
Sociology: The systematic study of human action in social context. It is based on the ideas
that our relations with others create opportunities for us to think and act but also set limits on
our thoughts and action.
The study of the discipline of sociology began somewhere around the 19
th
century w hen
people gradually stopped believing that God and nature controlled society
In the past, philosophers tended to just speculate on society, illustrating what they considered
to be an ideal society, and urging people to follow their instructions on how to achieve this
However, people began to think about society in a new way; this change in thinking being the
result of three revolutions:
oScientific Revolution (ex. Copernicus Galileo): People were encouraged to use
scientific methods and f ind logical answers to their questions, instead of simply
accepting what they were told by the Church.
oDemocratic Revolutions: The American and French Revolutions got rid of the
pr inciple of rul e by divine right. People realized it was possible to overthrow an
unwanted king and found that they had the power and t he responsibility to change
society.
o Industrial Revolution: The industrialization of society came with new problems
of increased crime and poverty, and the study of society became necessary to find
solutions.
The term sociology was first used by Auguste Comte in 1831
However, Emile Durkheim is considered by many to be the father of sociology”
Emile Durkheim
Wrote Suicide in 1899
He found t hat high psychological distress often didnt result in high suicide rates, contrary to
what most people would assume
His theor y was that the level of social solidarity in a society (determined by the frequency
with which its members interact and the degree to which they share beliefs, values, and
morals) typically determined suicide rates
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