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Lecture 1.docx

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SOC201 Lecture 1: Alexis de Tocqueville (French) 1805-1859 Karl Marx (German) 1818-1883 Emile Durkheim (French) 1858-1917 Georg Simmel (German) 1858-1918 Max Weber (German) 1864-1920 Reading: 1. Skim (keep course theme in mind; focus on introduction and conclusion for signs of the thesis—the main argument) 2. Recall (from memory, jot down initial idea of thesis and main supporting arguments) 3. Reread with course theme in mind 4. Check initial idea of thesis and arguments 5. Summarize thesis logic, of argument 6. Reflect upon: relevance to the course; implications of thesis; problems with thesis/argument; comparison with other thinkers Everything in its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood by Kai T. Erikson 1. The Buffalo Creek Disaster  Mining community in West Virginia  1972, community ~5000 people  Coal extraction produces a lot of sludge (dirty water) o Because you can extract low-grade coal from mud, rock, sand. The process already creates sludge a great deal of water is used to clean coal as well  That’s a lot of dirty water, what do you do with it  So they created dams and the sludge accumulated behind the dams.  The winter of 1972 was very rainy and the dam collapsed. The miners and their families lived mostly downstream of the dam  The sludge carried away everything (homes, etc. ) 2. Kai Erikson’s involvement  Erikson came in here (the lawyers hired by families needed evidence of damage to the community)  Documents everything and writes a book after  The notion of community: A network of relationships of people who look out for each other  In Buffalo creek, they call each other neighbours (even though they’re not living right next to each other) because they feel like they’re looking out for you 3. Community= having ‘neighbours’ 4. Loss of community: (after the breakup of the community)  Low morale  All sorts of signs of apathy, depression  Immorality  More delinquency, adultery, drinking  Disorientation  People feeling generally lost or uprooted  Disconnection  Feelings of loneliness and isolation, signs of marital strains, friendships broken, people are more distant to each other  Illness and identity  People took on the identity of being ill. Disability dominates their sense of self  Insecurity  General diffuse of fear; fear of new flood, leads to sleeplessness; children (fear of death), fear that every time it rains, there will be flood. 5. The Buffalo Creek Disaster as a metaphor for modern society  Folk understanding of community (there was a strong understanding of community)  Community was wrenched from this people due to the flood  Working for a law firm, Erikson documented the loss of community.  Treating it as a
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