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Lecture 10

SOC103 Lecture 10 Notes

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Lorne Tepperman

SOC103 Lecture 10 – Voluntary Associations and Social Movements • Sociology is about what people do when they get together and what kinds of things can be accomplished when people get together that can’t be easily be accomplished when they try to do things on their own Ordinary people make history • There is a tendency to imagine that history is a record of the achievements of a few great people • We are creating the future everyday with what we do and what we don’t do People want happiness • Everybody is looking for some version of happiness • There are many people that believe happiness comes from buying expensive stuff • Happiness research has been going on in the social sciences for about 40 years, which has only gained significant attention in the last 5 years The conclusions of the study • Jeffrey Sachs o Examined data from dozens of countries o Happiness was not greater in countries that had a higher GDP per capita o Happiness does not come from greater economic productivity or greater collective wealth • The correlation between happiness and income at the individual level is steep over the first part of the income range and very flat over the next o If you satisfy very basic requirements with your income, any incremental $10,000 has no effect on your happiness  $0-20,000 is huge in terms of happiness  $100,000-120,000 doesn’t matter o This holds true across countries as well as across individuals Who are the happiest? • The Scandinavians are the happiest and the most equal people in the world • Sachs draws the inference that you get more happiness from equality than from increments in gross national product o Happiness for individuals and for societies comes from creating political sustainability and from equality According to Professor Sachs • There is not more happiness to be gained by the recipe of “work harder, buy more” • This is not the key when it means environmental destruction o High levels of economic development usually require a high level of consumption of non-renewable resources and destruction of the environment • Then what makes people happy? o Family life makes people happy (e.g., feeling of social integration and stability) Society is a cooperative enterprise • Societies are about working with other people and collectively seeking our individual happiness o We don’t have to agree on the same version of happiness o We have to figure out how to create a society in which everybody is able to pursue their own version of happiness without being harmed, threatened or disadvantaged by anybody else Voluntary associations and social movements bring most change • How did people get together to pursue happiness together? • Voluntary associations o Any social units that bring people together around some common goal  E.g., basketball team, rock band, charitable organization  E.g., University of Toronto  Everyone is here to get a degree o There is a desire for sociability • Social movements o Voluntary associations, but with a political agenda o There is a transformative social purpose, or a desire to change society Voluntary associations and sociability • Familiarity is important for breaking down prejudice and likelihood of discriminatory behaviour • Sociability is about play and fun Concerns about the decline of society through cocooning • People are tending to hide out in their homes too much, backing away from voluntary associations, retrieving from civil society, and removing themselves from the experience of other people Is civil society declining? • He argues that people are increasingly bowling alone o Our society is doing everything alone • He argues that this creates a bad kind of society • He identifies TV as one of the greatest negative influences on people’s social behaviour o The more TV people watch per day, then the less likely they are to get involved in a community project • He argues that it produces non-social behaviour, and anti-social behaviour o We are becoming self-absorbed and withdrawn from civil society that we look at the rest of the human race as objects to be avoided and overcome  E.g., giving the finger to another driver • This explains the decline in political engagement, and decline in participation in charities o E.g., voting patterns, working for political parties, making political donations o E.g., clubs that collect money for poor and disadvantaged people The decline of league bowling • This shows how bowling league membership rises rapidly in the 1930s, peaks around the 1950s, and as TV spreads in the 1960s, there is a rapid decline with almost nobody in bowling leagues by 2010 Steady decline in dinner parties • This shows there has been a decline in both home entertainment and attending dinner parties o People are not inviting other people over o People are not being invited over The benefits of voluntary associations • This matters because voluntary associations are important events in society o We learn about one another o We learn how to pursue goals together Familiarity breeds trust • The institutions in civil society bring people together in non-competitive situations, which is where people learn to trust and cooperate with other people best • This is the baseline of a democratic society o You can’t have a democratic society unless people trust one another Trust through voluntary associations • We develop trust through exposure • We learn to be able to craft a society together through trust Brokers link strangers to one another, increase general trust • Networks have all kinds of holes in them • We all live in networks, which means that there are huge gaps between different kinds of people • You are never going to have every kind of person interacting with every other kind of person • You need to have some people who fill the holes, who act as brokers between the different groups in society so that people are talking, understanding, and trusting to one another The history of social movements • Social movements are about political change • In the 20 century, social movements are more global, larger, and highly organized and th th resourced than they were in the 18 and 18 centuries • How is the modern social movement different? o Difference in the set of strategies about how to pursue the goals of social change  The pursuit of these goals has internationalized  The formation of social movements is not local, provincial, or national o No difference in the goals  Social movements have always been concerned with issues of economic inequality and political inequality Social movements are everywhere • The Black Power movement was a huge movement in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States o It doesn’t exist anymore • The Separatist movement was important in the 1970s and 1980s in Quebec o It do
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