SOC103 - Lecture 1
Lecture was split into 2 main sections:
- Definition of social institutions, interaction, structures.
- The 3 main approaches to sociology.
Also covered were: sociology‘s emergence, the goals of sociology, and sociology vs psychology.
― Social Institutions ―
What is a social institution? It‘s a pattern. In life, we have expectations; for example, for how we interact as a family, or for a bunch of other institutions.
- If these are violated, we‘re shocked.
- They are changing, but slowly; relative to other things that are changing, much slower.
- Social institutions reflect, and are based on,
Values - things ought to be a certain way - moral standards/consensus
Social interactional patterns are the basis for institutions.
- There would be no institutions without interactions.
Social interactions follow patterns too;
- As a result, they are very predictable - as we said before, these interactions are stable - we can predict much of social life
― Social Structures ―
Social structures exercise influence / control on us.
- But how can that work? We‘re controlled by behaviour we create?
Situations force us to conform to certain expected patterns.
- For example, class in Con Hall - it always looks the same
different structures are based on different principles of organization
Social structures are linked through the definition of social structures, ie. based on 1. interactions and 2. values however, they also vary.
- ex. Families vs Governments vs Businesses - different underlying principles.
- anecdote : switching between two different institutions is kind of like moving to a separate life, that‘s how different they are
Let‘s take a look at some of the underlying principles in a market.
Market-oriented social organization : values ―getting the job done‖ – morally neutral
Much different than, say, families.
- Different institutions have to be run different ways.
- Principles don‘t necessarily transfer, very context sensitive.
- Ex. Jane Jacobs : talked about people trying to transfer market precepts to other environments, like the government.
- Jacobs : you cannot apply business principles to the government because they are founded on completely different principles.
What changes social structures?
What drives change in a relatively unchanging world?
- In contrast to Inequality, we‘re not expecting change.
The three main guys had some ideas:
- Durkheim - specialization.
- Marx - commodification.
- Weber - rationalization.
This is sort of the end of definitions, and moving on to sociology.
― Sociology’s Emergence ―
The emergence of sociology was in some sense a response to the drivers of change listed above.
Sociology embodied the ideal that we can understand the problems that we‘refacing with respect to our social interactions -> rationalization
These social problems and questions coming up were driven by:
- Industrialization - industrial/French revolution.
- Political revolutions.
- The enlightenment.
- The rise of science.
- Questioning of religious belief and tradition.
The 3 Founders of Sociology
- Max Weber - no faith in humanity.
- Emile Durkheim.
- Karl Marx.
Recognizing and Explaining Differences- Goals
Since long ago, sociologists have been explaining differences between
- Why we do things this way and they do things that way.
Sociologists have always tried to do this:
- Greeks, Persians and Egyptians,
- English Protestants and French Catholics
― More on the Goals of Sociology - Explaining, not blaming ―
Sociology is not inherently moral - try to explain as opposed to blaming.
- Just straight up, why do people behave the way they do.
Case Study: Accidents
Not inherently social, nor are there moral aspects.
So how can we explain accidents based on social causes?
Propose: Fall behaviour is socially structured.
- 1. gender and 2. age
We observe: Men more likely to fall. Older more likely to fall.
But what caused them (in each case)?
- Household chores/walking.
There are patterns in demographics and social histories.
- Note: We see social patterns in something that is not inherently social, and we also find social institutions - sociology at work
How do we explain these results?
- People that imagine that injuries/accidents are normal are more likely to experience accidents; this kind of thinking can be nurtured based on social history, for example, physical
abuse, or the male gender.
- Building on the idea of the notion of masculinity and it‘s relation to these results, there is, for example, the cultural ideal of risk-taking, esp. in sports, and recklessness
Personality - The Difference between Sociologists and Psychologists
These results can‘t be explained through personality - there is no ―accident- proneness‖ trait; it‘s socially structured, not psychologically.
This is the difference between Psychologists and Sociologists May approach the same problems, but from different perspectives.
- Psychologists - focus on the individual.
- Sociologists - focus on the structures.
― Three Main Approaches to Sociological Thinking―
1. (Structural) Functionalism - Durkheim and Suicide
o We tend to think of suicide wrt. individual - Durkheim took a different approach:
Human beings need: 1. order and 2. Attachment
People with too much/too little -> suicide (shiiet).
ex . Marriage - provides both of the above, and thus lower rates
o So what does this lead to?
- Durkheim was concerned with macro sociological work - he doesn‘t care as much about what happens in the middle, but more that he found certain patterns - the explanations
- His work led to…
o Society is a Social System
o interconnected, interdependent, interrelated parts - they are all balanced in an equilibrium
o Most people agree on certain social values.
– ie. There is Conformity - but why?
It‘s easy to explain conformity - but how do we explain people breaking therules? –
o It‘s important/necesary – functional
o By punishing people that deviate from the norm, we are brought together - deviance reinforces cohesion.
– Tepperman doesn‘t agree completely
o However, deviance is also the gateway to social change - we didn‘t really talk about this
o Kind of a Sidenote: Inequality
Inequality can explain things that structural/functional thinking can‘t explain / Bring up questions that functionalism can‘t explain.
On the other hand, conflict explains inequality‘s role…
2. Conflict (/Critical) Theory
- The struggle for power among groups
- Proposes: Society is not in balance, happy happy.
o – it‘s a war, a war between ―Have‘s‖ and ―have not‘s‖
o Marx prediction - capitalism -> communism -> socialist. – seriously?
- Where is inequality the greatest?
o Measured by certain indices - variations infer that inequality is socially structured, and as such can be manipulated.
o – it‘s not innate or inevitable in any way
- Max Weber’s Approach - building on Marx
o Not only the conflict between different social classes/economic conflict that‘s important.
– also, for example, race
o Also, not only the economy that exercises power.
– the government too - note that the government is unique from the capitalist
o It‘s not only the economy - idea of legitimate authority.
– ex. Tepperman exercises power over us - not because of money, but for other social reasons
3. Symbolic Interactionism
- Everything is symbolic.
o – for example, when we say something, it represents something.
o – interactions, using symbols, are what society is made up of
- Definition of the Situation
o Interactions depend a lot on a shared understanding of norms that govern a situation.
– ex. on a date vs. talking about work with a friend.
– People respond to the actions of others, based on perception of situation and other people in the situation
- Stigma drives interactions away from the norm;
o – people want to keep to the norm, and thus attempt to minimize stigma
Lecture 2: Cities, Populations and Environments
Demography: flow of people in societies, places etc. – Births, Deaths, Migration
3 important generalizations about Social Units
Big social units work differently than small units
All social units that are changing very rapidly tend to function and have different problems than slow changing social units i.e. a classroom in which there is no change in the
students who are there in the entire year vs. a classroom with new students who come in and leave throughout
o You will find a much different social unit—affect all kinds of things in social life that make our life more productive because you cant do those things when there is
rapid change i.e. form relationships
Heterogeneous social units are different than homogeneous
o I.e. One classroom where everyone has the same background vs. one with people of several backgrounds histories and ethnicities etc.
o You will see the difficulty in creating activities etc.
The same is true for all social units
Life Today on Planet Earth
The science of demography theorizes how the composition of the population affects how society works
o Populating Size
o Population Change (via births deaths migrations)
o Population Composition
o How population change affects size and composition
* 6% of all people who have ever lived are still alive today
Population Growth is an Issue in many societies
o What size is too big for the world?
o Nobody has really answered
o To demographers this is a stupid question
Demographers don‘t think population size works in that way
Among environmentalists, there is a belief on the population that can live in the natural environment (carrying capacity)
Very hard to put a number on this question
There is a general sense that there could possibly come a time that there could be too many people for the natural capacity
People who don‘t like the notion of overpopulation often say that population has grown but as you increase the number of people you increase the number of geniuses
o I.e. new technologies and new ways of producing food and health
Rapid population growth is also an issue in many societies
Population growth vs. population size
The real problem is the rate at which we become bit
If you become big very rapidly (as a society/institution) you have a hard time adjusting your society/institution to suit your population.
Populations with the highest growth rate also tend to be populations that are the poorest and most advantaged
In underdeveloped societies there are shortages of certain resources and there is real population pressure
Population pressure also affects human life in various ways, including crowding
Other important population issues in various societies today Big concern in much of the western world (esp. in Canada) – Aging population
o Non-retirement of older workers
o The excess of unemployed young men
The selection and assimilation of immigrants
The shortage of marriage partners
Young women turn out better than women in these sorts of issues (i.e. shortage of jobs) – young men can turn violent
If you rely on immigrants to keep society alive – which immigrants, how do you assimilate etc.?
This poses a huge problem, in Canada we haven‘t figured it out, how to select the correct people in order to flourish
Thomas Malthus 1766-1834: The first population theorist
His father was a utopian socialist
He was very interested in social change, redistribution, in order to solve poverty
o To him the solution was to re-distribute the wealth
Malthus‘ agenda was not primarily to talked bout population issues, but it was what he was remembered for
He wanted to show his father that you cannot solve the problem of poverty through re-distribution—hate letter to his father
Malthus was ingenious in collecting together the small amount of material in his time to draw conclusions from pretty weak data and to make such rigorous assumption
To him, human beings having sex in a natural way, multiplies the world‘s population exponentially
Food can only grow linearly
Any geometric series will string and arithmetic series no matter the rate of growth
Positive and Preventive Checks
According to Malthus, positive checks on population included disease, famine and war
Preventive checks included delayed marriage and abstinence
o He was a religious minister therefore did not believe in abortion and contraceptives
o So from his standpoint, the only way to control population is to control marriage
o You couldn‘t control marriage without controlling access to income
Malthus didn’t know that population growth slows with industrialization
The age in which you get married is not a very good predictor of how many children you will have
In industrial societies, people devise ways of having babies despite food issues in society
Therefore Malthus is proved wrong
Industrialization and more prosperity
Voluntary Birth Control
Biggest element is motivation
Birth rates and Death rates Decline
According to the demographic transition theory, a decline in the birth rate follows a decline in the death rate
This happened in Europe then through out the world
o Death rate started to fall in Europe – improvement in medication large scale efforts to control infections and epidemic
o About a generation or so later, very rapid decline in birth rate
o Various explanations for this
Once death rates fall you know you don‘t need to have 6 children so that 2 survive, you don‘t have to create 6 children anymore – then go about ensuring
that they create only 2
In modern societies people are less motivated to have lots of children because they are a net loss
Changing patterns of lifestyle in modern societies
World Population Since 1750
Back in 1750, there were only 800 million people, today 7 billion—explosion of people, especially in developing countries, and is predicted to keep growing
A major shift in world population
Population has en enormous effect on power relations – take for instance China and Brazil: market that is willing to work for so little and buy anything that‘s in front of them
Interesting questions: What is the link between population size and power?
Population change affects population composition
Birth, deaths and migration affect proportions of people in different locations – flows of people through the institutions
We can already see effects of multicultural society, of aging population, the way University‘s work, how businesses work
In order to understand the social problems society is facing we must understand these things
Population pyramids tell the tale
Nigeria: Rapid Growth
U.S. Slow Growth
Germany: Negative Growth
Most of the word‘s population growth will occur in the developing nations
What determines the shape of a population structure?
Risks of death, rates of birth
Canada’s population structure: not a pyramid or a rectangle
Sometimes referred to s a diamond
Due to the baby boom in the middle of the distribution
Ulrich Beck The Risk Society: Toward a New Modernity (1986)
Beck labeled society a ‗risk society‘
In tis period of advanced modernity, society is dominated by man –made risks
The Natural Environment
Everything that lives will struggle to survive at the cost of another
We‘re competing to survive
Where do “natural disasters” occur?
Most harmful disasters tend to occur on the southern hemisphere
Thus, the poorest people in the least developed countries are doubly disadvantaged
What Causes the Rise in Carbon Emissions?
As human beings have grown in numbers, inevitably there has been a growth in carbon emissions – direct relationship
Classic Study: The Limits to Growth (1972)
Donella H. Meadows and Dennis L. Meadows, et al
Created the World3 Model a computer simulation to track complex human systems change over time
Five Major Trends
o Rapid Population Growth
o Deteriorating Environment
o Depletion of non-renewable resources
o Accelerating industrialization
o Spreading malnutrition
Following Malthus, this model assumed that most of these variable including population increased exponentially
Only the ability of technology to increase available resources grew linearly or arithmetically
1972 conclusion of this simulations o We‘re screwed
o Humanity will reach the ―limit to growth‖ on this planet some time in the next 100 years if it continues to grow at the current rate of growth (i.e. when the study was
o The argument is that we are at the limit of growth
2004 Conclusions of this simulation
Concluded that they were right the first time and now it‘s too late fro sustainable development
Called for harm reduction initiatives
These demographic and ecological pressures vary geographically
I.e. people who live in mountains are less informed than those living in seashores
The build environment: a universalizing invention
City life is very similar from one city to another but very different from cities to not cities
Cities are inventions, they don‘t happen naturally – the idea of bringing people together in close contact is a bizarre idea
In cities you can have resources, artifacts, opportunities
Certain kinds of institutions you will only find in cities
o Opera Houses
o Big Universities
o Specialized Hospitals
Because of specialized scaled, you can have certain opportunities that you cannot have elsewhere
Cities are build environments
You can‘t have cities until you have in the countryside the ability to grow a surplus of food
The historic growth of cities
They are an alternative to feudal agricultural relationships
People in the feudal times, majority of the people lived on the people, did not own the land and worked for a feudal lord – not quite enslaved but very restrictive relationship to the
person who owned the land
If you could escape from the feudal lord and live in the city for a year, you were free
Cities meant that nobody could tell you what to do
As commerce started to develop, more and more people fled to cities because cities meant freedom
This posed a very interesting contrast with rural life
Rural life: unchanging, very oppressive, landlord tells you what to do
Cities: Populations growing rapidly, nobody controls anybody, people bring different histories, economies of scale allowed for facilities you could not have anywhere else
City and City Life
As human population became very large after 1750, it also became increasingly urban
With the growth of industrialization you tend to have the growth of industrial cities
Division of labour, specialization, more wealth production, more social inequality
Huge problems: housing problem, sanitation, violence
Mechanical versus organic solidarity
There are no more different social structures than a large city and small village
Rural life is built on a different set of principles than cities
Durkheim‘s concept of ―mechanical solidarity‖ applies only to small homogeneous communities
Rural communities are small, cities are large, rural communities unchanging, cities have a large population turnover and growth, everything is changing there
In small communities people are simply glued together by similarity
In cities people must be glued together by different set of forces which builds on their differences not similarities: ORGANIC SOLIDARITY
Rural life versus urban life
Cities are particularly at war with the natural environment
The city‘s build environment conflicts with the natural environment in many harmful ways
Cities as rich neighbors
Cities tend to be rich and non-cities tend to not be rich
Country people tend to look at city people as immoral
Urbanization is growing worldwide
Concentric Ring theory
Cities tend to grow outwards (Burgess)
Stretches out to Chicago (The Chicago School)
Model doesn‘t hold as well for Canadian or European Cities
Lecture 3:Roles, Networks, and Organizations
Thinking of social life as a theatrical production
Social Scripts: Particular ways in which we are expected to act and expect others to act in particular social settings
Every social situation has its own set of expectations
Don‘t give us the details
Scripts, Roles, and Identities
Roles: sets of actions expected of us
Scripts: lines or behaviours we are supposed to follow
Identities: things that our going on inside our head
o People have different ways of organizing their identities
o You can‘t really guess what one‘s identity is because its so personal
o People‘s identities are a result of the roles they play (not necessarily true at all times)
Every approach is metaphorical
We don‘t have scripts that cover every eventuality – i.e. if while on a date someone spills out their life scars on you
Problem: Dramaturgical Approach only explains general situations
We know that there are scripts because there are things that happen that aren‘t supposed to do and people don‘t know what to do (when you hit an unscripted event and its
The Link between Roles and Identities
How to roles become identities (it does not happen from the inside out)
One approach: Labeling Theory
We learn whether we are socially, sexually attractive, intelligent, stupid etc. by how others react towards you (looking glass self)
We infer from what they say, what they do how we should evaluate ourselves
Labeling is a Two-Sided Sword
When we get many negative labels we can become incapacitated
It can diminish us, or empower
At the extreme it can have long term effects on people‘s behaviour
Primary Deviance: Any kind of behaviour that breaks any rule
Secondary Deviance: Behaviour that responds to sanctions that one gets for primary deviance (may include a career in rule-breaking)
If someone is labeled in a negative way, this can affect their self-concept and can change their group affiliation
How We Position Ourselves in Roles: Embracement versus Distance Role Embracement: A person willingly accepts both the social role and the identity associated with it (After the age one is obliged to be a student, he continues to pursue that)
Role Distance: Sometimes a person takes on the role but signals separation from the values associated with that role (i.e. child distances himself from parents in front of friends)
Roles Become Identities through Internalization
Identities are based on the social roles we place
We internalize the role we play o they become central parts of our identity
Learning Roles is a Lifelong Effort
One leaves a role and becomes something else (i.e. Student Full Time Worker Wife Mother etc.)
Role-taking is a dynamic process
We leave and enter roles throughout life
Some departures are hard: e.g., the military widow, the closet gay guy
Military wives lead very little roles
Role-Making Versus Role-Taking
All of us in our lives, in our interactions with one another take scripts but also invent stuff
People agree to invent new social roles together
i.e. to break rules of dress or behaviour together
However this agreement does not bind the rest of society
To survive, a social script must become widely known and accepted in the population
Subcultures are places where people can create new roles that exist outside the mainstream
The Influence of Peers in Taking and Making New Identities
Different kind of people influence us to different degrees throughout our lives
The strongest influences on an adolescent‘s self-concept are peers
Problems in Playing Roles:
(1) Role Conflict
Role conflict occur when a person has to satisfy the demands of two or more incompatible or contradictory roles
o Playing one role necessarily undermines or prevents the other
o i.e. being a good friend versus being a good student
(2) Role Strain
Occurs when two behaviours associated with the same role are incompatible
i.e. being a successful student without appearing to be nerdy, uncool, or overcommitted
Dealing With Role Conflict
1. Prioritize Social Roles (placing priority on some roles and less on others)
2. Adopt Master Role (taking one role and making it supreme)
3. Compartmentalization (keeping social groups separate to avoid humiliation)
Another way of dealing with conflict
George Simmer was the first sociologist to study secrecy
Our ―first world‖ is the recognized world of socially acceptable activities
Our ―second world‖ includes usually hidden deviant activities others cannot see most of he time (i.e. sexual affairs)
Primary and Secondary Groups: Where We Play Many of Our Roles
Primary Groups are characterized by small size and emotional intimacy between members
o i.e. family
Secondary Groups are medium-to-large in size and may not always command our primary social allegiance
Consider Teams Bands and Gangs
Even though they have different social purposes and different kind of membership, the differences don‘t matter sociologically given the similarities
They all enforce rules that are created and known by its members
o The all offer energy, excitement, loyalty, community, pleasure, fun, creativity, innovation – which is why people voluntarily join and stay
The “Glue”: Peer Pressure
People what to win (and keep) the esteem of their friends
The Value of Organization and Leadership
Any team/band/community etc. has some organization
i.e. division of labour, roles, expectations etc.
Every group has external problems and internal conflicts/differences that occur inevitably when you have a number of people together
Leadership is valuable
Splitting roles into manageable parts (the right roles)
Rewarding good performance
A network is a group of people who are directly or indirectly connected to one another
Direct Connections: links f kinship, friendship and acquaintance among all 20 people
o Within this set of 20 people there can be 190 different paired connections
o Mathematically expressed as [20(19)]/2 =190]
Even in a small number of people there can be a large number of links
The complexity grows very rapidly with the size of the network
The Value of Weak Ties
Getting a job by having acquaintances
Job information moves through weakly tied networks
Weakly tied networks have a huge outreach
Information moving through weakly tied people has a vast outreach
Strong Ties versus Weak Ties
Strong ties have the merit of emotional intensity
Needed when important favours are needed
Weak Ties Over-Estimated?
According to recent research weak ties and strong ties are nearly equal in providing career advice
In other respects, strong ties are superior
How Closely Are We All Connected to One Another?
Stanley Milgram (1967) Small Worlds Study
In his study the average link was 5.5-6 (degree of separation)
―Six degrees phenomenon‖
Different people have different numbers of links
Density of links
Diverse Weakly tied networks
Dense networks (hearing the same thing over and over again / trapped in a cycle)
Higher social status = more information
o Information is a resource
Stars, Brokers, and Small Worlds
People are indirectly tied to everyone else at a few removes (―six degrees of separation‖)
Clique=self-aware clumps within networks
Typically friends, have a leader, tend to circulate the same information over and over again
There are cliques in every organization
Formal Organizations (Rule-Based Communities) and Bureaucracies
Organization: a group of people who are coordinated by communication and leadership to achieve a common goal i.e. a basketball team
Formal Organization: Same are the above plus written rules i.e. a government
Bureaucracies are the most powerful social units
o enforcing written rules
o you can think about it as networks
o i.e. a set of people who have links to one another
A formal organization has a hierarchy of command but you cannot say who is the most powerful in network, no power-structure
Formal organizations tend to be powerful and long lasting
The Roman Catholic Church (2000 years old)
Accumulate resources, create alliances, exercise power
In order to preserve the organization – the main priority is survival
Weber’s Ideal-Type bureaucracy: The Most-Developed Formal Organization
Max Weber identified seven essential characteristics of bureaucracy
o Division of Labour
o Hierarchy of Positions
o A formal system of rules
o A reliance on written documents
o A separation of the person from the office
Everybody in the organization relates to the office not the officeholder
o Hiring and promotion based on technical merit
o The protection of careers
His theory of bureaucracy made specific reference to many features of organization but not to be satisfied
It‘s designed to survive and be predictable
Formal Organizations Are Completely Scripted Social Forms
Serve to promote efficiency
Very predictable, persistent
Formal Organizations = Formality
Problems With Bureaucratic Organization
Sheer size of bureaucracies introduces irrationalities
No one knows all the rules
Rule by offices tends to undermine personal responsibility
o people don‘t take moral responsibility for their decisions
Become largely immoral mechanisms
The danger is it works well – sometimes, too well
Bureaucracy is the most powerful force for enslavement known to humanity
But also the most powerful force for good known to humanity: creates job, economic development etc.
Total Institutions as Ultimate Bureaucracies
o based on principles of efficiency and procedural rigidity
o Negate the value of democratic participation
o Objectify human beings
o Teach inmates to get around d the rules
o Make inmates more able to survive inside the institution rather than outside it
Erving Goffman’ Asylums
How do organizations control us and change our identities?
Examined mental institutions from the perspective of the patient
Total Institutions (TI) exert total control over their inmates
o Include mental hospitals, prisons, barracks, residential schools, covenants, etc.
o All interested in changing who you are
Lecture 4 – Culture and Acculturation
Traditionally, ―culture‖ was equated with ―civility‖
Comes from the latin verb colere – to til the soil (i.e. work the land, or improve ad refine the land in order to grow crops)
It is the sum total of all products of the human mind
Cultural products can be:
o concrete or abstract
o individual or collective
o material or non-material (i.e. ideas)
The controlling effects of culture
Even when we have ―free choice‖, our choice is socially and culturally structured
Culture controls and structures and choices, perceptions and opinions
Culture is a choice guidance system
Defines good and bad, basic common sense (true vs. false, normal vs. abnormal etc.)
o Varies from one culture to another, not fixed, not inevitable
Human beings are structures in certain directions and there is variation between one social structure to another
Culture by controlling us can put power in the hands of those who want to control us
Dominant ideology – way of thinking that prevails in society: rises when culture is influenced by the stay
Our society is a market ideology – everything is for sale, priced according to its value
By influencing morality, if influences our behaviour
The maker appropriately sorts people into positions of wealth and power and some into poverty and weakness on the other end: Dominant Ideology of our society
There is a link between the economic marketplace and the social marketplace
Cultures vary in what they teach us
Often there is conflict between those brought up in different cultures due to different ideas – cultural confusion It is often hard to hold culturally relative values – we tend to be ethnocentric
We tend to believe that the way we view the world is the right way
You cannot reasonably impose those kinds of standards on other cultures
20 & 21 Century been the main motif
Moral evolution versus cultural relativism
Nations who were most economically developed had higher cultures and moral standards than those they were colonizing
Therefore the colonizers had to go and ―correct‖ this
Today we are at a place of confusion in regards to cultural/moral relativism
o i.e. Western people have difficulty viewing the way dressing of Muslim way in a culturally or moral way
o Current debate in the ―right‖ way to think of this
Cultural change can be painful
People who, in the process of acculturation, relinquish the home culture and reject the host culture are known as marginal
i.e. hard to accept new views about women, gays, youth
Marginals – reject host culture and relinquish home culture – unclear on how you should be thinking about things** View slide
Identity crisis may result
Culture never stands still
always changing within music clothing speech beauty etc.
New cultural practices and ideas diffuse through the population
o took off in agricultural sociology
Curve associated with this is called the ―S-curve‖
Innovators are always in the minority
In the cultural diffusion process 2.5% will be ―innovators‖ and 16% will be laggards
People who are innovators or opinion leaders – a lot of contact and information – influence on the community – people are inclined to follow them
We don‘t know as much as we need to about how and why people innovate and adopt new cultural patterns
Cultural Products Include:
Paintings, Books, Music, They are all modes of discourse
o Habitual ways of speaking about and understanding a topic
o Every cultural ―text‖ consists of key ideas, symbols and concepts
Everything we read, see, hear can be conceived as a text – something we read and interpret
Everything we use is culturally used and culturally interpreted – meaning behind wearing black to a gig
Any work of art expresses at least three things: genre, particular period, particular artist
Also, class position
Art and Cultural Capital
People with more cultural capital get more education, get richer, marry ―up‖
Culture is a “Perceptual Filter”
Cultures teach us how to look at things
Art as a Cultural Product – distinguishes people by ―taste‖
According to Veblen, Cultural tastes change because the upper class repeatedly invents new elements to distinguish it from the middle class
The lower class cannot keep up and the middle class is always trying
In order to maintain distinction – ―habitus‖ as described in Bourdieu‘s theory of cultural capital
Cultural literacy is basic; Cultural capital gives people an advantage
Cultural capital increase (apparent) social status
Cultural literacy improves knowledge base and interaction skills
o Basic requirement
o i.e. who is Hamlet
The Canadian Way
Canadians are more secular, more socially progressive, more egalitarian
Canadians are more realist modest and secular
Americans are much more likely to believe that people get rewarded for their efforts
The Cultural Role of Jokes and Humor
Socially accepted means of rule breaking
Cultural Globalizations vs. Nationalism
Are local cultures going to survive?
System changing cultural processes:
Certain social and cultural institutions are fundamentally world-chning: i.e. change the way cultures operate
o i.e rule of law
Lecture 5: Families and Socialization
- 2 types of families
o Nuclear family
A pair of spouses living together, with or without children
o Extended family
A group living in the same dwelling that consists of multiple generations of relatives
- How families have changed
o William Goode- examined changing patterns with industrialization
o Similar patterns of change around the world over the past 100 years
- Worldwide trends
o Families moving towards the nuclear family model
A self-sustaining unit of production and consumption
o Smaller family sizes
Because of increases in contraception use
o Change in family relations
Parents‘ authority over children and husbands‘ authority over wives declined
o Increased acceptance of divorce, contraception, cohabitation, abortion, premarital sex
- Why have these changes happened?
o Smaller, more flexible, more democratic family better fits industrial demands
o Women‘s roles changed with more education and industrial growth
- Changes in family form may vary
o They are mediated by cultural influences that predate the industrial revolution
- Basic family processes
o Families, no matter what form of definition, share expected social processes
1. Dependency and intimacy
Families are depended on one another and attached 2. Regulated sexuality
Spouses expect to have a long-term, exclusive sexual relationship
3. Routine protection
Families guard their members against external and internal dangers
4. Unequal power
Some members are more powerful; is rarely egalitarian
- Family troubles are common
o Domestic violence is statistically common
Families under greatest stress (economic, social, etc.) are most likely to be in conflict
o Some families are unable to admit and deal with their problems
- Cohesive and adaptable families do best
o Cohesive- members have strong identification with the family as a whole, and with one another
o Adaptable- members are able to plan and make changes
o Some traits of these families
Have open community patterns
Use fair procedures to resolve conflicts
Use fair, even democratic processes for setting goals
Family culture and ritual ties everyone together
- Four types of socialization
o Socialization- the lifelong social learning a person undergoes to become a capable member of society
1. Primary socialization- takes place early in life; fundamental, diffuse and imposed
I.e. feelings of trust, security, etc.
2. Secondary socialization- after childhood; specific and voluntary
3. Anticipatory socialization- prepare to play a new social role
4. Re-socialization- learn new roles and processes
- Through good socialization, people learn to
o Obey social rules
o Complete school
o Earn a living
o Sustain close relations
o Raise children themselves
- People make the distinction between “me” and “I”
o ―Me‖ is what is learned in interaction with others and the environment
o ―I‖ refers to internal processes
- Another early step is the learning of gender through socialization
o In the process of gender socialization, boys are typically given freedom, while girls are protected from harm
o This produces gender differences throughout life
- Soon, children are learning impersonal obedience in schools
o As part of the school‘s ―hidden curriculum‖ children are supposed to learn punctuality, conformity, and obedience
- This sets the stage for obedience in universities and workplaces
o The success of organizational socialization can be measured by role performance, cohesion and stability
- Direct vs. indirect (reactive) socialization
o Direct socialization
The intended result of
Modeling and imitation
Rewards for good behaviour
Punishments for bad behaviour
o Indirect or reactive socialization
The unintended result of
Abuse or neglect
o A role reversal between parent and child
Sacrifices a child‘s personal needs for comfort, attention, and guidance to accommodate the needs and care of the
o Emotional parentification forces the child to meet the emotional needs of their parent and usually other siblings also
o Instrumental parentification forces the child to take care of siblings, cook, pay bills, etc., opening the door to failure, guilt, and
- Consequences of parentification
o Intense anger
Parentified children will have a love-hate relationship with their parent
o Difficulty with adult attachments
Trouble experiencing intimate relationships
- Parenting styles make a difference
o The best parenting is authoritative: loving but firm
Some parents reason with their children- this is best
Others use threats or violence
Threats and violence do not predictably achieve the desired results and often achieve undesired results
- Bad and good parenting in a western individualistic culture like Canada
Ordering without explaining
Threatening and using guilt
The Tiger Mom (Jewish Mother) approach
Teaching by example
Teaching by reason
Looking for teaching moments
- Baumrind’s four parenting styles
- What do parents actually do?
o In socializing children, parents serve as interactive partners, direct instructors, and providers of opportunities o No other people perform as wide a variety of roles for the child
o Much of what parents do is indirect
- Common consequences of bad parenting
o Emotional difficulties
o Physical health difficulties
o School difficulties
o Juvenile delinquency
- New Chinese study supports North American findings
o The results show that children in poor or conflict ridden families tend to act out more than other children
But they do so only if their parents are cold and/or punitive
o Warmth is good and punishment is bad
o Does not apply to internalizing problems
I.e. depression and anxiety
The reason is not given- need more research
- Why do some people commit antisocial or deviant acts?
o Faulty socialization
Theories of trauma and neglect (i.e. parentification)
o Theories of attachment
o Theories of weak social control
- One theory of faulty socialization: Authoritarian Personality (1950)
o Purpose was to discover the roots of prejudice and anti-Semitism
o Measured ―authoritarianism‖ with a new F-scale (Fascism)
o Authors conclude that racism and anti-Semitism are associated with fascist tendencies
- Harsh parenting unintentionally produces authoritarian children
o Adult authoritarianism is a result of parenting that
Demanded unquestioned obedience
Provided limited affection and respect
This forced the child to
Displace their anger on to ―safe‖ targets
- Another theory of faulty socialization: the role of trauma, stress, and poor coping
o Transmission of problem gambling from parent to child, through a combination of
1. Childhood social learning- direct socialization
2. Childhood distress or trauma- indirect socialization
3. Current stresses and poor coping and supports
o Gambling addiction results from the combination of
Poor adult coping
o This was found through interviewing 200 adults, 150 of them with a gambling problem
- The Dostoevsky case: direct socialization was not needed
o His father was a depressed alcoholic, was apparently NOT a gambler
o Him and his siblings were subject to rigid and cold treatment
o Spent 10 years with a gambling addiction
o He experienced
A nervous condition + epilepsy
Frail physical health
o He had poor coping skills
o After his first wife‘s death, he developed depression and a gambling problem
Forced him to flee his creditors
Lecture 6: Education and Schools
o From the Latin 'educare', meaning to educate
o Related to 'educere' meaning to bring out and 'ducere' meaning to lead out of