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Lecture 2

SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Symbolic Interactionism, Conflict Theories, Critical Thinking


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC101Y1
Professor
Sheldon Ungar
Lecture
2

Page:
of 7
SOC101Y1 LEC2 Sep/17 Caron <>: heading of slide
< sociology 4>
-Babbie: sociology is the study of our rules for living together, what they are, how they arise, and
how they change:
-study of interactions and relations among human beings.
-Study of how human beings live together in both the good times and the bad.
-study of how rules are organized and perpetuated. Eg. Rules such as paying taxes, how
to use knives and forks at dinner.
-study of how we break the rules.
-study of how the rules change overtime. Eg. Rules pertaining to hemlines, hair length,
and political views operate a little like yoyos.
-Recursive (=repetitive) quality:
- there is a particular recursive quality in human life that makes anything we know
tentative(=can modify).
-Whenever we learn something about ourselves, what we’ve learned may bring about
changes-even to the extent of making what we learned no longer accurate.
-eg. when we describe about group or individual, they can hear the description of oneself
and change their behavior.
< ordinary human inquiry 5 >
-people exhibit a desire to predict their future. Humans predisposed to undertake this
task using causal and probabilistic reasoning.
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-We recognize that future circumstances are caused or conditioned by present ones. Eg.
We learn that getting an education will affect how much money we earn later in life.
-patterns of cause and effect are probabilistic in nature. That is the effects occur more
often when the causes occur than when the causes are absent.- but not always. Eg. We
know that studying hard produces good grades in most instances, but not every time.
- Science is about meticulously controlling for these errors and go beyond tradition and authority
: science makes these concepts of causality and probability more explicit and provides
techniques for dealing with them more rigorously than does casual human inquiry.
-if you can understand why things are related to one another, why certain regular
patterns occur, you can predict better than if you simply observe and remember those
patterns.
-Tradition (=starting point) :
- each of us inherits a culture made up, in part, of firmly accepted knowledge about the
workings of the world.
-Eg. We may learn from others that eating too much candy will decay our teeth, or great
fortunes are primarily the results of hard work.
- we may test a few of these ‘truth’ on our own but we simply accept the great majority of
them. These are things that “everybody knows”.
- by accepting what everybody knows, we are spared the overwhelming task of starting
from scratch in our search for regularities and understanding.
-However tradition may HINDER human inquiry. If we seek a fresh understanding of
something everybody already understands and has always understood, we may be
marked as fools for our efforts.
-authority :
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-we benefit throughout our lives from new discoveries and understandings produced by
others.
-acceptance of these new acquisitions will depend on the status of the discoverer. Eg.
We do well to trust in the judgment of the person who has special training, expertise, and
credentials in a given matter, especially in the face of controversy.
-authority can both assist and hinder human inquiry:
-inquiry hindered by the legitimate authorities that err within their own province. Experts
speaking outside their realm of expertise.
-Eg. Political or religious leader with no medical or biochemical expertise who declares
that marijuana can fry your brain.
-eg. advertising cereals by popular athletes discuss nutritional value of the cereal.
Errors in Inquiry: scientific valid knowledge, control errors inquiry, tradition, and authority.
-Inaccurate observation: mistake in our observations. Eg. what was your methodology
instructor wearing on the first day of class? If you have to guess, it’s because most of
our daily observations are casual and semiconscious.
-overgeneralization: when we look for patterns , we often assume that a few similar events
are evidence of a general pattern. It can misdirect or impede inquiry. Eg. if the first three
demonstrators you interview give you essentially the same reason, you may simply
assume that the other 3000 are also there for that reason.
-selective observation: once we have concluded that a particular pattern exists and have
developed a general understanding of why it exists, we tend to focus on future events
and situations that fir the pattern and ignore those that don’t. eg. racial and ethnic
prejudices
-illogical reasoning:
eg.We assume that a consstent run of either good or bad luck foreshadows its opposite.
“Gambler’s fallacy”
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