SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - List Of Sovereign States By Suicide Rate, Scientific Revolution

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SOC 101 2011-09-14
Sociology: the term was introduced by August Compte in 1834. Sociologists started studying the
society and people in order to make the society a better place. Especially during the Industrial
revolution, Sociology emerged.
by Emile Durkheim was published in late 19th century in Europe (1897)
- At the time, people thought mental illness influenced people to commit suicide
- He looked at different social groups (age, sex, religion, occupation, education, marital
status and material status)
- He found that the rate of mental disease leading to suicide among women was 2 times
higher than men. However, the suicide rate among men was 3-4 times higher among
men; women are generally engaged in more intimate social relations (family life)
- He studied suicide rates among religious groups in France (Catholics, Protestants and
Jews) and found that Jews had the highest rate of mental illness but the lowest suicide
rate. On the other hand, Protestants had the lowest mental illness rate but had the
highest suicide rate. Catholics are somewhere in between.
Durkheim explained that due to the constant persecution Jews experienced throughout
the history, they formed a very close-knit social solidarity. On the other hand, Protestants
have no central religious authority (Pope) and therefore has a loose-knit social solidarity,
which leads to a high suicide rate.
Conclusions definitely
- Different categories of the population are characterized by Social Solidarities:
independent of how they are feeling and what they are thinking, the social condition that
one lives in effects the way they function and think.
- There are outer sources than peoples inner minds that affect the way they think.
- People living in environment with higher social solidarity have less chances of committing
- Suicide rate increases with age: weaker social solidarity due to isolation (often death of a
spouse or children moving out of their homes, etc.)
Characteristics of a Low solidarity group
Egoistic Suicide: suicide due to a sense of not belonging;
lack of integration into society due to weak social ties
Anomic Suicide: suicide due to moral disorder- limitless
desires and abundance of disappointments; when the
sense of norm of the individual becomes vague due to
misinforming mass media.
Altruistic Suicide: Occurs in extremely close-knit societies.
It is found when the goal of the community is more
important than the goal of an individual. One is willing
to be a martyr for others.
- Lack of emotional support and cultural guidelines
- More prone to commit suicide, compared to others, if they experience distress
Sociology today
- Sociologists try to identify the types of group behavior that are interesting to them
(including religion and marriage). They try to identify social relations that influence
people to act a certain way. They try to bring evidence to see if there are connections
between the factors. According to that, sociologists come up with ideas and suggestions
to improve and benefit the society e.g. criminologists look for ways to reduce the crime
- Offers a way of understanding our current predicament and possible ways of dealing with
- Helps you figure out where you fit in the society and how to make the society fit you
(fundamental goal of sociology)
The Rules of Sociological Method
1. Relationship between human relations and behavior, etc. has to be evident, not
speculations. (Systemic evidence and data has to be collected).
2. God nor nature is responsible for what goes on. Observable measures effect societies.
3. Human actions can change the society
1617 English Engraving of the World View
- The world view that Shakespeare believed in (embedded in Romeo& Juliet, Hamlet, etc.)
- God- Nature- Ape(humans) ladder of control
- People thought that all social relations were fixed by a higher force (God) God decided
who would be rich and who would be poor
3 Revolutions that had to occur before sociological thought could be born
- Scientific Revolution: 1995,Poland Copernicus: Earth is not the centre of the universe
Italy Galileo: Planets revolve around the sun
Outcome of the revolution: Evidences are needed to prove every ideas and knowledge.
- Democratic Revolution: 18th century France & USA: were convinced their rulers were not
ordained to rule by God. France persecuted their monarch and USA rebelled against the
British and gained freedom.
Outcome of the revolution: central idea that people can change the world
- Industrial Revolution: Started first in late 18th century England. (Inventions of steam
engine, rail roads, etc.) People were forced to work in horrible environments. Religious
beliefs were pushed aside and crime rate skyrocketed.
Outcome of the revolution: General shift in beliefs and discontent. Need for a change.
Post-industrialism: pros and cons
Autonomy versus Constraint:
Due to globalization and technological development, we are
much freer to choose our own identities. However, freedom comes with a new set of
Prosperity versus inequality:
Post-industrialism opens up new opportunities (Economic,
political and educational). It improves the standard of living for most people. However, it
also creates a big economic and political gap. (inequality: women and men, ethnic, rich
and poor, age, etc)
Diversity versus uniformity:
Post-industrial society is more tolerant to diversity than any
other society that has existed before. Because of frequent immigration, we now live in a
very diverse society (as diverse as it has ever been) with diverse family forms. However,
the way we accept diversity is influenced by mass media and distinct cultures are at
danger of vanishing due to the push of uniformity
For the complete list of terms in chapter 1, go to
New Society
textbook page 25.