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Lecture 1

SOC103H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Traumatic Brain Injury, Symbolic Interactionism, Mass Media

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Lecture 1: Introducing Sociology
Institution: a relatively stable, shared pattern of behavior based on relatively stable values
and maintained through social interaction
Interaction: a socially recognized pattern of interrelated acts
All social structures:
Control us
Change us
Resist and produce social change
Sociology: the study of social structures; the study of development, structure, and
functioning of human society
Sociology Origins
Two social crises were especially important for the early development of sociology
Industrial Revolution thrust people into new kinds of economic relationships
French Revolution thrust people into new kinds of political relationships
Aims of Sociology:
1. To find and explain patterns of people’s social relations
2. To question “common sense” and the received wisdom about the way society
3. To solve social problems and find better ways of living
Growing Up Too Soon? Parentification Among Immigrant and Native Adolescnece in
1. Immigrant children are more parentified than native born children
2. Marital dissatisfaction of mothers has no effect on immigrant parentification
3. Language brokering and an acculturation gap predicted both kinds of
4. Instrumental parentification led to self-efficacy in both adolescent groups
5. High levels of emotional parentification led to exhaustion in the immigrant group
This shows that instrumental parentification can be an asset for immigrant children but
emotional parentification is a risk factor for immigrant children
Sociology is a worldwide activity, oriented to people’s problems, timely, rooted,
theoretical, empirical, incremental, open-ended, and connected to other disciplines
Approaches to Sociological Thinking
1. Functional Theory: views society as a set of interconnected parts that work
together to preserve the overall stability and efficiency of the whole; social
institutions perform both manifest and latent functions
2. Conflict/Critical Theory: focus on the unequal distribution of power
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3. Symbolic Interactionism: focus on the ‘glue’ that holds people together in social
relationships; the shared meanings, definitions, and interpretations of interacting
individuals; interested in the processes of interaction by which people make and
use symbols to construct a society
4. Feminism: interested in how gender inequality makes women’s lives different
from men’s
5. Postmodernism: interested in unmasking ideologies that protect and justify the
dominant social order; propose reality is fragmentary
Construction of Social Problems
Labeling Theory: any given social problem is viewed as such only because an influential
group of people defines it so
1. Social recognition
2. Social legitimating
3. Mobilization for action
4. Development and implementation of an official plan
Emile Durkheim’s Suicide: An Example of Functionalist Sociology
Three types of suicide
1. Egoistic suicide: occurs when people leave the social groups they belong to
2. Anomic suicide: results from an absence of social norms
3. Fatalistic suicide: results from an excess of social regulation
Rates of suicide in any society are highest when people are least integrated into society.
John Porter’s The Vertical Mosaic: A Classic in Conflict Sociology
Shows that Canada is characterized by class-based inequality and that ethnicity and
immigration predict social class membership.
Erving Goffman’s Stigma: A classic in symbolic interactionism
Everyone has something to hide.
Passing: the effort to hid discreditable or stigmatizing facts
Covering: effort stigmatize people make to keep their discredited features from gaining
Lecture 2: Material Settings
Approaches to Population Growth
Functionalism: Malthus was certain that without preventive checks, population would
always outgrow food supply (positive checks prevent overpopulation by increase death
rates, preventive checks prevent overpopulation by decreasing births)
Cornucopia View of Nature: frames nature as a storehouse of resources that exists only
for the use of humans
Growth Ethic: celebrates the ability of technology to easily solve all the problems in the
world, including those that technology itself has caused
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Individualism: privileges personal goals and desires over collective interests
The Human Ecology Approach: concentric zone cities develop in similar ways, giving
rise to similar patterns of social differentiation
Poor people have the worst living conditions
Racial and class segregation of urban dwellers
Central importance of business life
Lecture 3: Social Structures
Traumatic Brain Injury: damage to brain tissue caused by external mechanical forces
Stumblers: play no active role in their TBI injury event
Tumblers: play an active role in their TBI injury event
1. Dispositional influences
2. Family influences
3. Peer influences
The social roles we play are the source of our identities
Changing Roles
1. First doubts
2. Seeking alternative
3. Turning points
4. Creating the ex-role
Community: a group of people who interact and communicate with one anther frequently
and share common interests, values, and goals
Looking glass self: we become the person we think we are
Role embracement: a person willingly accepts both the social role and the identity
associated with it
Role distance: a person takes on a role but separates his inner self from the identity
associated with that role
Social Networks: have no member ship list and are based mainly on indirect connections
Organization: a large group that has a collective goal or purpose; a network with a
Bureaucracy: advantages its orientation towards rules and rule making
Disadvantages do not behave rationally in terms of long-term interests
Total Institutions: places where people work, live, and, for a time, are cut off from the
wider community in a formally managed existence (Foucault sees modern society as a
total institution)
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