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Sociology Lecture Notes 2-9.doc

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Robert Brym

Sociology Lecture #2 – September 21, 2011  Human culture begins at the start of rituals and shit that calm people’s anxiety – that somehow fulfills a human need  Culture, then, guides us on how to act  Culture becomes shared, and can be transferred through generations if it is socially transmitted  Culture is the sum of social transmitted ideas, practices, and material objects that people create to overcome real-life problems. Culture gives us guidelines for how to act  A society exists when people interact and share culture, generally in a geographically delimited area  i.e. – steam engine (hero in Alexandria, then England), computer (revived in the second world war for trajectories, etc)  We participate in our culture without being too reflective of it  Ethnocentrism involves judging another culture exclusively by the standards of our own  Cultural relativism is the belief that all elements of all cultures should be respected as equally valid  We should respect cultural traditions, but to a certain extent (i.e. clitorectomy)  World has become globalized (social, economic, etc barriers are lowered) so we have become more open to accepting, being exposed to many different cultures, and take what we want from them to create a satisfying environment for ourselves – before this, our culture was monolithic (see chart on immigration on portal)  Figures of authority are being challenged now, and people are becoming cynical, especially towards the advancements of science and technology  Postmodernism involves: the eclectic mixing of cultural elements from different times and places; the erosion of authority; the decline of consensus around core values  Rationalization is the application of the most efficient means to achieve given goals and the often unintended, negative consequences of doing so  A bureaucracy is a large, impersonal organization composed of many clearly defined positions arranged in a hierarchy. It has a permanent, salaried staff of qualified experts and written goals, rules and procedures. Staff members strive to achieve goals more efficiently  Bureaucracies have unintended negative implications (i.e. school)  Consumerism is a lifestyle that involves defining one’s self in terms of the goods one purchases  Clothing signals what our rank in society is, who we are, what we believe, interests, group memberships, etc – this has been going on since pretty much the beginning of time (i.e. sandals for important people in ancient Egypt, Greeks, etc)  The message imparted by outfits is “I’m rich, I don’t work, I can afford it” – even if they were uncomfortable (back in the day – powdered wigs, etc)  Then, synthetic, and false gems were created, so people with modest means could be quickly copied, so it becomes difficult for the well-to-do to be distinguished from the not well-to-do – introducing the outer label again (i.e. Nike shirts)  Why is this shit important? We all want to be part of a group – we want to fit in, or we feel uncomfortable  Advertising works, because of this desire – we want to emulate the people they advertise, etc  Sociologists/psychologists have roles in the world of advertising, because they understand what influences/appeals to the consumer – their ads/methods for moving merchandise is somewhat manipulative, and not the most ethical – you have to impose on people the philosophy of WHAT  Many sovereign countries are experiencing high levels of debt because people are consuming more than they can afford because of these advertisements – which may send us into another economic crisis, as countries won’t be able to pay back their debts (i.e. Greece, Portugal)  Consumerism takes away from social issues  Hip-hop emerged as a protest to the conditions that Americans lived in during the economic strife when industries were moved to like Indonesia – songs blamed gov, industries for the fall of black-panthers, drug wars, etc  (i.e. Ice-T’s song: cop-killa)  even when we have descent, political protest emerges in different forms, the lure of money calms us down  consumerism not only creates debts, etc, but it also stifles descent, and draws away from pressing social issues Functionalism Conflict Theory Feminism Social Constructionism Anomic Egoistic Fatalistic Altruistic Roles Manifest functions Latent functions Symbolic functions *See pics on phone for example test questions Sociology Lecture #3 September 28 , 2011th Social Interaction  Why do we experience certain emotional states in the first place? dyad: two person group status: recognized position in a social interaction (i.e. professor, student) role: expected behavior of a person in society (i.e. prof in his fave cutoffs…)  Laughter is typically unevenly distributed between people of different classes (people with higher statuses get more laughs)  Women laugh more than men, because men are generally of higher status  Laughter is affected by our position in a status hierarchy (higher: crack more jokes, laugh less; lower: crack less jokes, laugh more)  Dominance/subordination: jokes are made about social inferiors  So, our laughter or reaction clearly isn’t as based on our emotional states as we would like to think  We can’t control our body’s reaction/response external stimulus (i.e. grizzly bear attack) physiological response & initial emotion (pulse increasing; experience fear cultural script (you know playing dead will make the bear lose interest) modified emotional response (still fearful, act according to the script; hope) emotional management: involved people obeying “feeling rules” and responding appropriately to the situations in which they find themselves emotional labor: is emotion management that ones does as part of one’s job and for which one is paid  Women/culturally adept people are more capable of suppressing emotion (has to do with upbringing)  Status hierarchies influence laughter  Growth of economy’s service sector demands emotional labor  The idea that emotions are natural/authentic is only partially true (social influences act on them) crude death rate: annual number of deaths per 1000 people in a population A COMPETITIVE CONVERSATION John: “I’m feeling really starved” (drawing attention to himself) Mary: “Oh, I just ate.” (refocusing attention to herself; competing) John: “Well, I’m feeling really starved.” (tries to draw attention back) Mary: “When was the last time you ate?” (concedes)  People are more unresponsive when they are not the focus – we want to interact more when we gain more than we have to give  We always try to negotiate the norms and values around us – testing the boundaries, etc norms: standards of behavior or generally accepted ways of doing tings values: shared ideas about what is right & wrong Why do we interact?  We gain valued resources from interaction and we compete to maximize our gains  We learn norms and values (some of them altruistic) that require interaction impression management: is the manipulation of how we present ourselves to others so as to appear in the best possible light (i.e.
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