SOC103H1: Lecture 1
February 7 : Test 1 (25%)
Learn about history and development of sociology
Learn about Macrosociology, Microsociology and Sociological Integration.
Understand three key theoretical paradigms.
Sociology- The systematic study of societies.
1.Type of People
Types of Relationships
Types of Groups “ have and have nots”
2. Social Behaviors
3. Social Institutions.
Formal Definition of Social Institution:
Social institutions are organized structures involving various social relationships to
solve social problems
A relatively stable, shared patterns of behavior based on relatively stable vales.
Meets people most important needs (e.g. for order, belief and reproduction)
It includes the structural components through which most needs are met ( laws,
religions and families)
Therefore can speak of the ‘family’ as a social institution.
- Social institutions are stable patterns of behavior created and maintained
through social interaction.
- Herbert Spencer argued that institutions are like plants
- They require weeding and watering
- Must grow gradually
- Marx: All institutions are machines of oppression except proletariat
- Social instituions perform both manifest and latent functions:
- Intended and easily recognized (i.e. universities transmit knowledge)
- Unintended and often hidden.
Sociology’s Emergence. - About 200 years ago: New social problems arose from: industrialization,
urbanization and political revolutions.
Also important, the enlightenment, the rise of science, new questioning of religion,
belief and tradition.
The Two Revolutions.
The two social revolutions particularly influenced the growth of sociology:
Industrial Revolution and French Revolution.
The Three Founders of Sociology.
Comte’s stage of Social Evolution.
Comte coined the expression “sociology”
Theological: Understanding based on ascription of events to will of supernatural
Metaphysical: Understanding based on assumptions, essence and teleological
Positivist: Understanding based on observation of relationships between events.
Noting and Explaining Differences.
Sociologists have always tried to explain differences between societies. Why we do
things this way and they do things that way.
E.g. Herodotus wrote about differences between Greeks, Persians and Egyptians.
E.g. Voltaire wrote about differences between the English Protestants and French
Sociology has always been oriented to problem solving:
Finding better ways of living together.
Finding and correct the roots of violence, racism, sexism.
Explaining, Not Blaming
Social hierarchy moves us away from ideas of blame, guilt, sing and wrong-doing.
Everyone has agency and free will. Everyone is also constrained and manipulated.
Everyone is to blame for something, to a greater or lesser extent. Common Sense Is Not Enough.
Using “Common Sense Knowledge” is not enough to sociologists. Leads to
incomplete and inaccurate explanations. Ignores root social causes of problems.
Also, are untested.
Free Will (Agency)
What people get in life is largely the result of circumstances beyond their control.
However, people do make choices.
They make structured or constrained choices.
We want to understand that structures of constant.
Useful Tools (Concepts)
Macrosociology: the study of large events an organizations.
Microsociology: The study of small events and processes. E.g. Pattern